Rich Larsen

Rich Larsen is an Australian author with a love for the natural world. His debut novel, The Silent Society, is an adventure that pursues the philosophical underpinnings of what it is to be a human being and our place on this planet.

Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?

The Silent Society was inspired by my connection to the natural world and the way I observed interacting with it (or not). I have a strong interest in human and environmental health and this book is an amalgamation of those two interests. Oddly, I finished the book in 2019 (a few months before COVID reached Australia), yet the central storyline is a pandemic (of sorts), with public health alertness featuring heavily.

Share your personal publishing story. Did you choose self or traditional? How did you go from book manuscript draft to finished book available for purchase?

As a new name on the scene in Australia, it’s been difficult to breakthrough into the large publishing houses. I eventually found an indie publisher who accepted my work (Shawline Publishing) and have enjoyed the ride. The publisher has been great in my development as a writer and I’ve appreciated being exposed to the publishing industry. They controlled the editing, cover design and marketing process for me (to an extent).

Describe your writing routine. How many hours a day/days a week do you write?

In the midst of a manuscript, I will try and write a minimum of 1000 words a week. I work full-time and study part-time, so I usually grab a moment here and there to get the words onto the page.

How do you name your characters (if fiction or names changed for nonfiction)?

It’s a fairly ad hoc process! If I hear a name I like, it generally gets featured in a story. The lead protagonist in The Silent Society is named Jenson, who was named after the retired F1 driver Jenson Button.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

Finding the ‘so what?’ hook of a storyline. I might have an idea but I have to be sure that audiences will want to read about the characters in that idea. They have to care about them and want them to succeed (or fail). Developing a story that is deep enough to evoke emotion and empathy is the crux of writing and, so often, the hardest part.

How do you come up with your illustrations/images/graphics?

I am not a graphic/visual artist so thankfully the publisher took care of that!

How many unpublished or unfinished books have you written and set aside? What are your plans for them?

I have one finished manuscript that is currently looking for a home. I also have another in the works. I’d really like to have these published by a recognised publisher. Following the release of my debut novel, I’m hoping this will provide publishers with the knowledge that I can write for their audiences.

What do you do for book marketing? Describe your plan, how it is working, and what you want to add or change to that plan, if anything.

The publisher aims to get the book out to as many bookstores as possible and promote it on their website and socials. I also promote it through Instagram and through local bookstores and events. Marketing has certainly been the most difficult process along the journey. As an introverted person, I’ve found it hard to actively promote myself and the book to get it into the hands of bookstores and readers.

How do you go about obtaining book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with the good and the bad ones?

I’ve tried to let this takes its course naturally. There will always be people who like and dislike things, no matter what they are. So far, the response has been largely positive.

Do you prefer reading print, audio or ebooks? Why?

Definitely print. I enjoy having the book in my hands and dog-earing pages that really resonate with me.

Who is your favorite author, book? The last book you read?

A tough question. I’ll cheat and list two.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris

The last book I read was Summer Light: A walk across Norway by Andrew Stevenson.

There are many trends in self publishing that have come and gone. What do you think is going to change next in the self or traditional publishing landscape?

I haven’t pursued the self-publishing pathway, so can’t comment too much on this. I think the rise of smaller publishers will continue to push the mould of the bigger houses.

Now that you have published a book/new book, what would you do differently this time?

Invest more time into the pitch. I really overlooked this initially when shopping around for publishers. It’s an art in and of itself and one that I’m still trying to get better at.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write often and read widely.

Rich’s Bio

Rich Larsen lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia and works at a local hospital. He is currently studying a PhD in public health at La Trobe University. Outside of work, he loves to be outside pursuing his passions of cycling, surfing, running and hiking. Much of the inspiration for his writing comes from his love of the natural world.

Rich has one novel published with Shawline Publishing (The Silent Society) and has short stories published in Greatest City Diary, Poet’s Choice, and Free Spirit.

More Information

Buy author’s book at Shawline Publishing.

Author Instagram: @rnd_bookgarden