After our most recent review of Larry Rodness’s novel Perverse on Literophilia (in case you missed it, the review can be found here), we were eager for a chance to explore the mind of the author. Mr. Rodness was kind enough to let us in on the secrets behind his process and, as always, we found out about his own Literophiliac tendencies as well. As if that weren’t enough, Literophilia is excited to announce that we’ll be doing a giveaway for a copy of Perverse soon, too! Read on to find out what it was like for an adult male to write from a teenaged girl’s perspective, how he made his novel stand out in the overcrowded vampire/horror genre and what’s next for the author!
Literophilia: What was your inspiration for Perverse?
Larry Rodness: It actually arose out of boredom. The kernel of the story came to me one day when I was browsing in an antique shop. I saw a sketch of a rural scene in winter. I asked myself, what would happen if I looked at the scene again and noticed footprints in the snow that were not there before. Then I asked myself, who would have made those footprints and what would she be doing there?
Literophilia: I’ve always been interested to understand how authors are able to speak through a character that can sometimes be quite the opposite of who the author is in reality. Was it difficult to write in the voice of a teenage girl?
Larry Rodness: Good question. This was an intentional choice. In my first novel, Today I Am A Man, the protagonist was a 13 year old boy (and also his 50 year old, older self). In my next novel I wanted to stretch myself as a writer and tell a story from a female perspective. It helped that I had a teenage daughter when I first began the venture so I listened to her speech patterns, and often eavesdropped on girls sitting in malls to help me get the ‘voice’ and female perspective. I was originally going to use a female pseudonym so that readers would more easily accept the story written by a woman, but I decided to put my name to everything I wrote and sink or swim by it.
Literophilia: Speaking of Emylene, what was the motivation behind the choice to brand her as a “Goth?”
Larry Rodness: Not just a Goth but a second-generation Goth. Since I was a child I had nightmares of vampires. Over the years I learned to fight my fears by writing about them and thus, purging them from my mind. I knew the story I wanted to write about was of a supernatural nature. The dichotomy of the Goth community always appealed to me in that they appear so fearsome and dark, yet I have found them to be a mild-mannered, fun-loving group of people. The juxtaposition for me was ideally suited to the way I wanted to attack my novel. Once I decided on having my protagonist as a Goth, I thought about the way I would approach the story in the context of a ‘perverse’ theme. Using a Goth protagonist would have been straight ahead, but I felt a more complex subject would be a second-generation Goth. The reason being is that Goths are seen as rebels of society and I was interested in exploring how the daughter of a rebel family would react to certain situations.
Literophilia: Will we be hearing more from Emylene in the future?
Larry Rodness: I have a number of ideas but my publisher and I are keeping an eye on sales (to be crass). If there is enough interest I will be launching a sequel. If not, I have a number of projects in the works.
Literophilia: Being a huge fan of the vampire genre, I’ve seen a lot of different takes on the subject. The vampires in Perverse have some interesting powers, like the ability to feed on a human’s desires and, my favorite, the tendrils of the blood of their past victims which drew in new victims to Other-Town. Did you draw inspiration for these powers from other sources or were they purely your own creations?
Larry Rodness: When I was in Europe I heard about other legends of the undead and the myths that surrounded them. I did not want to write just another vampire story with the same old traditions so I took the essence of what I researched and married it to my imagination.
There are certain aspects of human nature we are not proud of yet tolerate – our collective darker desires and penchants for lying, thievery, gambling, and prostitution. Every once in a while a politician floats an idea to designate a sector of his or her city to accommodate these vices and thereby leave the rest of the city clean. Places like Amsterdam and Las Vegas have actually followed this model. I decided to employ this concept in my story and see what would happen. As humans we have to be ever-vigilant over our vices. If gone unchecked they might end up devouring us. In my story the sector becomes an organic entity unto itself and through the energy it receives it seeks to grow and threaten everything around it. The tendrils are a physical manifestation of how I see this happening. As well, I have written a number of screenplays and my writing always tends toward the cinematic.
Literophilia: What’s next for you as an author?
Larry Rodness: I am working on two projects – one is a ghost story with a psychological twist, entitled October 32. The second is a more realistic tale entitled The Greatest Generation about four couples in their 50’s who are barely hanging on through the current economic upheaval. To save their version of the ‘American Dream’ they get involved in a pyramid scheme which tests their morals to the extreme.
Literophilia: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Larry Rodness: John Irving, Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Ludlum come to mind. I was impressed by The Da Vinci Code, The Hunger Games, A Prayer For Owen Meany – all of which had original premises.
Larry Rodness: Of the two novels I have published to date, which they would like to read the sequel of?
So there you have it! We at Literophilia really enjoyed this interview, and we’re looking forward to reading more of Mr. Rodness’s work in the future. As for you, dear readers, you can look forward to winning a copy of Perverse for yourself. Or, if you can’t wait that long, the novel is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle form.