As a history professor at Towson University, Karl Larew has a passion for his subject. “Semi-retired” since 2005, the Hopewell Township author has published eight novels — six of which focus on the past, from college students in the 1950s to a 20th-century Army family to the Parisan revolution in 1848.
We caught up with Larew to learn more about his writing.
Book Buzz: How did you begin writing — as part of a job, or hobby?
Karl Larew: When I was a child, I began writing and drawing my own comic strips, influenced by my older brother, a comic-book fan. By high school, I was writing fiction and poetry.
BB: You mentioned an interest in history. Are all your novels rooted in history, or do you enjoy branching out from that?
KL: Two of them are spoofs of vampire/werewolf/James Bond stories and are set in the present. All the others are to a greater or lesser extent historical, though most are set in the very recent past.
BB: Of the eight novels you’ve published, do you have a favorite? Or one you’ve gotten the most positive feedback on?
KL: Yes, “Candles in the Window” was my first full-length novel; it has gotten more positive feedback than the others, including a good review in the Baltimore Sun and on Amazon. I still believe it is the best thing I’ve ever written, though “they” say a writer is not likely to be the best judge of his/her own work!
BB: How do you decide on topics or story lines for your novel? Where do you find inspiration?
KL: Some of it comes from my and my family’s life stories. In the case of my novel about the ancient Philistines, I was inspired by the seductive picture on the jacket of Rise Stevens’ recording of “Samson et Dalila,” as well as by the anthropologist Sir James Frazer’s remark about how different the Samson and Delilah story would be if told from the Philistine perspective.
BB: Why choose CreateSpace as your publishing platform? Do you have a favorite or least favorite aspect to it?
KL: “Candles in the Window” was first published in 1999 by American Literary Press, at great expense (mine). By the time I was ready to publish it again (and publish my recent novels), I had found CreateSpace while browsing through Amazon. It looked easy and had built-in publicity.
BB: How much time, per day or week, do you spend writing? Are you working on anything new now?
KL: When I was writing (especially after I more or less retired in 2005), I spent hours almost every day. I’m not working on anything at present.
BB: What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Any tips or lessons learned?
KL: Write what you know. Write as the inspiration hits you, but if it doesn’t go back over what you’ve done until the juices flow again.
Name: Karl G. Larew
Lives in: Hopewell Township
Family: Married, two step-children, two step-grandchildren
Occupation: Semi-retired history professor at Towson University
Hobbies: Writing fiction
Books: “Candles in the Window,” about the sex, love, and friendship lives of college students in the 1950s; “Paul, Betty, and Pearl,” “Daddypaul and the Yo-yo War,” and “Gran’paul’s Family,” a trilogy about an Army family in WWII, the Korean War and the Cold War-Vietnam era; “Bad Vampires” and “Nazi Werewoofs,” spoofs of vampire, werewolf, and James Bond stories; “The Mask of Freya,” about supernatural pagans during the Revolution of 1848 in Paris; and “The Philistine Warrior,” largely about Samson and Delilah but from the Philistine perspective.
To purchase: Amazon.com