Sunday, May 22, 2016

Books: Interview with talented author Larry D. Shackelford

Today, we're interviewing talented writer Larry D. Shackelford. Read on to find out more about his books and how he became a writer!

Larry, please tell us a little about you. Where are you from and what is your background?

I was raised in southwest Missouri where I received my college degree, but I received my education after I graduated and began working in a maximum-security federal prison.  After spending two years behind bars, I continued my law enforcement career as a criminal investigator, residing and working in eight states and two foreign countries.  I retired from law enforcement after twenty-five years of service and currently reside in Salt Lake City with my wife and cat.  I have continued to work a second career in healthcare.

How interesting! When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I started writing approximately ten years ago, before my retirement.  Over the years, I had met some
memorable people and found myself in some pretty insane situations.  I began writing mostly to entertain myself, and discovered I truly felt a passion to tell stories; I wanted to humanize law enforcement officers and also give victims a voice.  While working in Utah, I met a young woman who inspired the character "Ruth" in The Keresa Headdress.  Like Ruth, this woman was able to leave a polygamous southern Utah community and fulfill her dream of marrying the man of her dreams and basically pursue a normal life that average Americans take for granted.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that writing fiction stories was not only fun, but also therapeutic.  In many respects, writing fiction is very similar to completing a criminal investigation.  You have pieces of a unique puzzle, and you are tasked with putting them together in a fictional story with unlimited possibilities.  But, I believe it is important to be adventurous; not afraid to take chances with the plot and characters, as long as it's believable.

That's a pretty interesting comparison. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I mainly write crime, action adventure, science fiction, and romance novels for readers 13 to 90 years of age.  I especially enjoy writing stories with strong female characters, because I believe the fiction market is saturated with male characters depicted as the hero.  I have had the privilege of working with many outstanding female law enforcement officers and professionals.  I really believe that women have a special intuition, and this is an invaluable attribute, especially in law enforcement investigations.  I also believe it is important to have strong, interesting characters of all ages and explore how these characters interact with each other in fast-paced, stressful situations.

How many books have you published?  Do you have a favorite?

I currently have four books published, and my fifth release, The Quincunx Quarantine, is scheduled to be released this summer.  Without question, my favorite manuscript is The Keresa Headdress because it was enjoyable to show readers a different side of law enforcement, and to introduce them to the unique worlds of archaeology, polygamy, and illegal artifact trafficking.  I also enjoyed researching the historical and technical nature of the narrative.  My goals were to accurately reference archeological terms, time periods, and cultural aspects while staying true to the discipline of archaeology and oral traditions.  I was also concerned with showing reverence to the American Indian culture and heritage.  Looting sacred burial sites for financial gain is a systemic problem on public lands, and I wanted to bring this to the attention of the reader.

You're definitely sparking my interest in your character! What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

My favorite quote is by Sir Winston S. Churchill:

"Sure am I this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance.  As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us."

This quote is displayed next to my work desk computer.  Seldom has a day gone by that I have not reflected upon his words.  I admire this quote because his poignant words are applicable to the journey of life.  We cannot be successful in this world as individuals; we all need to care for each other and stop competing against each other.  We all win together or we all lose together.

Do you have a favorite author?  Who?  What's your favorite book?  Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way?

I admire authors whose writing inspires a wide range of emotions regardless of the genre or time
period the story is written. For example, I recently finished Mary Anne Yarde's The Du Lac Chronicles and the Novella, The Pitchfork Rebellion. I enjoyed her manuscripts, and many of my co-workers have also read her works. One young woman in my office was so moved by Mary Anne's first novel that she has committed to writing her first novel. The woman stated that Mary Anne's story brought back many fond memories of her youth, friends and family, and she wanted to emulate Mary Anne's passion in her own writing. To me, this example illustrates the epitome of inspirational writing, and my favorite authors will always be those who inspire and move people.

I love the classics and my favorite book will probably always be Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.  I thought the story was incredibly well written and the allegoric references to "good and evil" were very detailed and realistic.  Arguably, "Call me Ishmael" will probably be remembered as one of the most famous opening sentences of any book.

Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

I am a romantic at heart, and I love a great romance story!  What can be more endearing than the hopeless, socially incompetent guy and the homely, lonely gal falling in love and living happily ever after...but of course, not without a substantial amount of controversy before the happy ending?

What are you working on now?

I am one of those stranger-than-normal authors who works on several manuscripts at a time.  I am nearing the completion of another archaeological crime/romance thriller, and an urban science fiction action/adventure.  I have also started on a young adult fantasy inspired by my own personal experience of having a child diagnosed with cancer.
Great, looks like there will be lots of intriguing books coming from you soon! Where can we find more about you and your work?

My books may be found at

Larry, is there anything else you would like to share?

I would be negligent and irresponsible if I did not confess I am one of those authors who is a cat owner, drinks lots of coffee, and sips on bottom-shelf, rotgut bourbon late at night while writing.  Maddie, my faithful cat, is always near me when I am writing.  Maddie rules the castle, but she fell into bad graces during a recent, routine visit to the vet.  Maddie apparently took exception to the thermometer and called the veterinarian evil names before tinkling all over the vet's arm.  The doctor was not impressed with Maddie's shenanigans and she placed a large "A" in Maddie's health record which means "aggressive".  So now, I am not only a crazy cat person, but my loyal writing partner earned the forbidden "Scarlet A"...with pride, I might add!

Thank you for telling us a little bit about your work and your books, and we wish you much success in your literary career!


  1. Thank you for linking this interview. I could identify with so many of the things that you said in response to the questions. Not only has your work informed your vocabulary, inspiration sources, and aplomb for combining real characters with your imagination, but you also (hooray)know how to use a semicolon between two independent clauses without using a conjunction. The world has forgotten that ploy which signals "read these simultaneously, not linearly (if it were only possible). Writers know language. You have achieved much success in your personal life and various professions primarily due to your putting Churchill's words to the test of contemporary life. I want to steal that quote to add to my Goodreads' list. If you don't mind I will send this link to Linda Thorne, a Nashville mystery writer, who gave me a 2-week blog interview stint in May, It may still be up at

  2. I enjoyed this. Nice to know someone else started writing fairly late in life and you seem to be doing quite well in the field. I started writing in 2005. I have not been able to retire yet, but I'm well past retirement age. My debut novel was finally published just last year (after ten years). Your books look good and it's sure nice to see someone else who started about ten years ago putting out this many. That gives me hope. I may retire in a few years and hope to pick up my pace on publishing books. This post encouraging me. Yes, Beth Fine's blog is still on my blog page. It's the second one down right now.