I first met Larry Correia at a science fiction convention in 2008, back before he was a New York Times best-selling author. It was even before Baen Books had published his first novel, although I think he had a contract by that point. And he made my day by telling me that one of my stories (“Tabloid Reporter to the Stars”) was his favorite short story of all time. So naturally, I now think of him as a man of impeccable good taste.
Here’s my interview with Larry:
1. Congratulations on the paperback release of Monster Hunter: Legion, the fourth novel in your bestselling Monster Hunter International series. For the benefit of readers who have not yet read any of the books, can you give a quick summary of what the series is about?
The MHI series is about a company that specializes in taking care of professional monster problems. It is my love song to B movies. Think X-Files meets the Expendables. They are big fun, unabashed action adventure novels.
2. You’ve also got several books outside the Monster Hunter series. Which would you recommend to people who want to sample what you write?
My Grimnoir Chronicles is an alternative history fantasy, sort of a 1930s super heroes diesel punk saga. The first novel is Hard Magic, and is about a hard boiled, war hero, ex-con turned private eye who joins a secret society to stop the Imperial Japanese from using a Tesla super weapon to take over the world.
Then I’ve got my military thrillers, the first of which is Dead Six. Its about a group of thieves versus a mercenary company in a 3rd world country that is going through a violent military coup. I cowrote this series with Mike Kupari, who is an EOD Technician, and he was actually in Afghanistan when the book came out.
By the end of the year, my 10th novel will be out, and the first one came out in 2008, so it has been very busy.
3. One of the important characters in the Monster Hunter novels is Mormon. Are there other ways in which the books were influenced by your LDS faith? Beyond that, what influence does your faith have on your writing in general?
I have tried to stick Mormons into every contemporary thing that I’ve written. Milo Anderson in the MHI series is probably the best known. He’s a quirky, eccentric, genius who is also a tough guy to have on your side in a fight. Milo’s got a big heart and he is absolutely devoted to his faith, his family, and his friends.
At one point in the series, it looks like a world shattering event is about to happen involving super monsters from another dimension, and Milo excuses himself because he has to call the General Authorities of his church to give them a heads up.
Not as obvious, but FBI agent Bob Lorenzo in Dead Six is LDS, and he’s sort of the paladin of that series, as he’s the one person who always puts principles first, even when it costs him and he has to do some extremely dangerous things. He also shoots a whole mess of bad guys, because hey, Mormons can throw down with the best of them.
And of course, in Grimnoir Chronicles, John Moses Browning is one of the pivotal supporting characters. Because Mormon gun-wizard? Why the heck not?
My faith plays a part in my writing, because it is part of who I am, and all writers are going to have parts of themselves show up in their characters. As a writer, grey areas can be fun, but I like having real good guys who actually stand for something, and I like having real evil. Some things just aren’t meant to be nebulous.
Other than that? I also swear too much, but don’t tell my Bishop.
4. Who are some of the authors who have influenced you the most?
I grew up on Louis L’Amour. I read all of them. Then I discovered sci-fi and fantasy and read everything I could get my hands on. I grew up on a farm, poor, in a small town. There wasn’t much else to do but read, and by the time I went to high school I’d read every single book in our small library.
Though if I had to pick one author that I geeked out and went all fan boy on when I met them in person, it has to be Tracy Hickman. I spent a lot of hours playing Dragonlance in highschool.
5. What sort of stories can we expect from you in the future?
I’m a workaholic nearly incapable of turning down job offers, so there’s a lot of stuff planned. Up next is the last book of the Grimnoir trilogy, Warbound, will be out in August, and the sequel to Dead Six, Swords of Exodus, will be out in September. Then I’ve started writing novels and novellas for Privateer Press for their Warmachine and Hordes universe. The first one is available on Amazon now, called Instruments of War, and the next one will be out later this year. We’ve not settled on the title for that one yet.
After that, the 5th MH novel, Monster Hunter Nemesis will be out in 2014. There are several more MH novels planned after that, as well as a few stand alones in the Grimnoir universe. Then I’m doing a steampunk collaboration with John Ringo. I’ve got one more D6 novel with Mike Kupari. Then I’ve got an epic fantasy trilogy coming out from Baen, but that one is still under wraps, as well as a sci-fi stand alone, and a couple of other projects I can’t talk about yet.
Overall, I’ve currently got 16 books under contract to be written, and a whole mess of short stories for various anthologies.
6. What advice do you have for would-be writers?
I always say that there are only two steps to becoming a professional author.
- Practice until you are good enough that people will give you money for your stuff.
- Find the people who will give you money for your stuff.
That might sound silly, but it is really true. Regardless of the specifics of how you get there, that’s really all there is to it. Way too many aspiring authors try to skip one step or the other.
Be prolific. The book isn’t going to write itself. Put your butt in the seat, hands on the keyboard, and WORK. It won’t ever become your career if you can’t treat it like you would treat any other real job.
Too many authors try to make what we do sound all mystical and important, so they talk about their muse, like writing is magic. It’s not. It is a job that you can get better at with practice and effort. It is like any other job. But too many aspiring authors have bought into this mystical stuff, and since they are waiting for magical perfection that doesn’t exist, then they get frustrated and beat themselves up. It is supposed to be frustrating. Just sit down and keep writing.
And on that note, there’s no such thing as writer’s block. Writer’s block is a filthy lie. An accountant can’t say I don’t feel like doing this spreadsheet because I’ve got accountant’s block, and you sure hope that your doctor doesn’t say I’m just not feeling like doing this operation because I’m not feeling it. I’ve got doctor’s block. That’s nonsense. Writer’s block is just you being lazy, bored with what you’re working on, or wanting to go and play some video games. Either push through, work on something more interesting, or give up and go play some Halo. Don’t try to make it mystical.
7. What question should I have asked you, but didn’t, and what is your answer?
Ham… Ham is always the answer.