13 October 2013

Guest Blog: Larry Brill

This week, we're pleased to welcome author Larry Brill, whose novel, THE PATTERER, is set in 18th century London. The author will offer a free copy of The Patterer to a lucky blog visitor; please leave your email address in the comments to be contacted. Here's the blurb:

In 1765 London, Leeds Merriweather is scratching out a living as a common street performer, a patterer, using his wit and storytelling skills to draw crowds and sell newspapers. Although he aspires to be a respected journalist and start his own publishing house, Leeds is relegated to pattering by his handsome face, strong voice and straight teeth.

Inspired by a drunken chance encounter with Benjamin Franklin, Leeds assembles a zany cast of characters to become history’s first celebrity newscaster. But at the peak of his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, Leeds risks it all for the love of a conniving wench in this Dickensian comedy.

The Patterer is the first release in a trilogy.

**Q&A with Larry Brill**

 When did you begin writing?       

      There isn’t a time I can think of when I wasn’t storytelling or writing in one form or another.  Beginning with a Big Chief tablet, I proceeded to my high school’s newspaper, then college, and then many years as a journalist.

What was your inspiration for writing The Patterer?

      One day I was reading Eric Burns’ Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism, where he traces journalism back to Europe. In his book, Eric has one short paragraph that mentions the existence of these fellows called “patterers” who would stand on the street corner and deliver bits of news.
      With my 25 years experience as a TV news anchor it was a simple leap for me to imagine a character and a storyline that took the concept to absurd extremes. Once I created Leeds Merriweather, the hero emerged and told the story himself. I just took dictation and published it.

What do you think readers will take away with them after reading The Patterer?

      I think readers may decide that the news exists to entertain them, and that
the stuff that we call news now has not changed much over time. Only the technology that delivers the news has changed.

What’s next for you?
      Writing book II of The Patterer trilogy.

Have you won any awards for your writing?

      I would reveal that I was once the official “Worst” writer in America. Every year the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest holds a tongue-in-cheek competition to intentionally write the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel. It’s based on the opening line that Snoopy made famous “It was a dark and stormy night…” Bulwer-Lytton gets upwards of ten thousand entries each year and I won the contest more than a decade ago. So my goal as a writer now, with two novels out, is to reach the bestseller list and stake the claim that I went from worst to first.

Larry Brill spent 25 years as a TV news anchor and reporter, picking up numerous awards along the way.  After leaving the business in 2000 to set up a video and marketing consulting business, Larry penned his first novel, Live At Five, a gentle lampooning of the TV news business. His second novel The Patterer, carries the same theme back in time to explore how today’s news clichés might play to an 18th century London theater audience.