Four Years from Home 

I'd like to welcome the talented Larry Enright onto my blog today...

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.

All of my stories begin with ideas. I see or recall a situation and it strikes me as something interesting or potentially interesting. Oddly, many of these ideas come to me lying in bed in the very early hours of the morning, awaiting the alarm clock to remind me that another day is beginning. During those moments, my mind is totally free. If I can remember the idea after getting up, taking a shower, eating breakfast, and making coffee, I write it down and save it in a folder. As the idea comes and goes, so go the additions to the idea’s document. If at some point I begin to think the idea could be an actual story, it starts to take shape. Four Years from Home came about in this fashion and took four years to grow from idea to completed work.

What is your latest novel?

Four Years from Home is the latest. The two novels I wrote previous to that were apparently practice runs. They were never published. They also weren’t very good.

What inspired you to write the book?

I am in a constant struggle within myself over moral and existential issues. This struggle bubbles over into the book in the exploration of themes of sacrifice, redemption, and self-worth. Mankind is but a small speck of reality, and not a very likable one if you believe today’s pundits. We seem hell-bent on destroying all that has been given to us, and are seemingly uncaring of the consequences. This is Tom Ryan. He is ultimate hyperbole for everything you dislike in yourself and your world. You cannot help but dislike him for what he is and does, yet after you have read the story, perhaps you will wonder as I do, if there is not much more to it. 

What’s your favourite part of writing a novel?

It is definitely not the proofing and editing. As a writer of fiction, it has to be the ability to make a world in which things go the way I mostly want them to go. I say “mostly” because sometimes things have to happen despite what I want.

Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

I was born with vision issues that make it difficult for me to read without going over things several times. Sometimes it can be annoying to see something that was obviously mistyped and read and reread and totally missed. But I’ve learned to live with it.

Where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas come from life. For example, I heard a few weeks back that someone was ecstatic to finally have 1,000 Twitter followers. I thought, “Gee, what if someone were ecstatic to have a million followers and then without notice, one unfollows them? How would they react? To what lengths would they go to find that one person to ascertain why? Is this a story? Where would it go? Who would be interested enough to care?” 

How long does it take to complete a novel?

Four Years took about a year to write, rewrite, etc., but about four years from concept to completion.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before self-publishing?

Not for this book. I did for my first novel in 1984. That was a shocking experience.

How did you handle the rejection letters?

Not very well. Despite my advanced years, I am extremely immature. But in my own defence, had they been more constructive, I could have been more philosophical and learned from them. As it was, I just piled them up, crossed them off the list, and moved on to the next one.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?

The fact that it was free and extremely easy to do. That, and I just couldn’t see myself going through the submission process again - with self-publishing the public decides the worth. Now that I think of it, though, that can be pretty brutal. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write every day, be kind and helpful to others in the same situation, and try not to think you are so important. You might have something wonderful to say, but so do a lot of other people. Just try and be happy with who you are and what you do.

What's next in the pipeline? 

Another novel in the works that takes three lives and creates an intersection for them. It is a difficult project, but I am enjoying it.

Do you think your books would translate well to the big screen? If so who would you like to see play your lead characters ? 

A few people have said Four Years from Home would make a good movie. I don’t know. I can’t see anyone other than Woody Allen or maybe Pee-Wee Herman. wanting to play Tom Ryan, and they’re too old for the part. 

Tell me three random things about yourself.

My favourite color socks is white. The people who have the peach orchard next to us put dryer sheets on all the peach trees to keep the deer off and I don’t think the manufacturer’s claim of “Wintery fresh” stands. I drive a Prius.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a full-time job as a researcher at a University. I play guitar. 

Do you write in just one genre?

Four Years from Home is a psychological mystery. The next novel will be a little different but still involve some mystery.

Do you use Social Media for marketing your novels?


If you weren’t writing, what would be your favourite job?

Performing music

Which five people would you invite for dinner?

Mother Teresa, George Harrison, Michael Palin, and two street people chosen at random. The street people for their wisdom, George would play for us, Michael would make us laugh, and Mother Teresa would remind us why we are really here. 

What are you reading at the moment?

All for One by Ryne Douglas Pearson and really enjoying it.

What three things would you add to your bucket list of things to do?

I would really like to go into Space, play at Carnegie Hall, and write something that I thought was wonderful and beautiful.

Do you write full time? If not, how do you balance writing with another job?

I have a full-time job and a family and that certainly makes finding time to write interesting. 

Do your characters talk to you?

Maybe. It might be someone else rattling around in there. I’m not always certain.

Have you ever used a friend or foe as a character? 

Not specifically. My characters are fictionalised conglomerations of people I have known, seen, or experienced in some way.

About Four Years From Home

Tom Ryan -- firstborn of five children in a large, Irish Catholic family, smart and acerbic, a cheat and a bully -- calls himself the future king of the Ryans. There are other opinions. His mother calls him a holy terror. Mrs. Ioli calls the police on him. His father says that had Trouble been a saint, that would have been Tom's middle name. But his parents, neighbors, peers, and siblings all must bow down before him or suffer the consequences. Just ask the Christmas turkey leftovers he buried in the side yard.

Harry, the youngest Ryan, was the shining star of the family. Bright, sensitive, and caring, he was protected by parental radar, called by God and Grandma Ryan to the priesthood, and was in Tom's eyes, a brown-nosing little punk who had become a threat to his kingdom and the primary target of his search and destroy missions. 

Then Harry changed. He abandoned his vocation and quit the church, and when he left for college, he left for good. He never called. He rarely wrote. His picture disappeared from the mantle. It was as if he had ceased to exist and his shining star had been but a passing comet. The enemy had retreated and Tom's war was over.

"Four Years from Home" begins on Christmas 1972 during Harry's senior year at college. The Ryan family has gathered without Harry for another bittersweet holiday celebration. When an unexpected and unwelcome gift arrives, the family demands answers and Tom Ryan, bully cum laude, must make a reluctant journey of discovery and self-discovery into a mystery that can only end in tragedy. 

Written by the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, "Four Years from Home" redefines brotherly love in the darkly humorous and often poignant actions of its principal skeptic, Tom Ryan.

Four Years From Home is available from: (Kindle), (paperback) (Kindle)Nook.

Read excerpts and readers reactions on Facebook!

Thanks for your time, Larry. I love your advice for aspiring authors -  I think this applies to everyone in life, no matter what their profession.

Happy reading! 

Sibel XX