Thursday, December 22, 2011

King of Paine Review/Interview: by Larry Kahn

King of Paine Blog Tour 

A desperate patient. A rumored cure. How far would you go to find the fountain of youth? 
Frank Paine is not your prototypical FBI agent. He’s an ex-Hollywood stud with a kinky past, an irreverent wise ass who craves forgiveness from the woman he loves. When a ruthless stalker uses Frank’s indiscretions to ensnare him in a sultry cat-and-mouse death match, his investigation points toward a missing biochemist. His hunt for her secret haven takes one tragic turn after another, until he finds himself facing an impossible dilemma. Someone will die as a result of his decisions, and it may be his soulmate. Or him. 

This intricately-plotted whodunit will keep readers turning pages into the wee hours. More than just a mesmerizing story, King of Paine offers fully-rendered characters who grapple with a range of intriguing end-of-life issues while everything they care about is at stake. 

Readers who liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or the novels of Greg Iles will enjoy settling in with King of Paine for a sexy, thought-provoking ride. 

My Thoughts:
I went into this book with an open mind, having read the description and it comparing it to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I wondered if it in fact would be as good as Steig Larson's book, which I absolutely loved. So with an open mind off I started to read Larry's new book.  Now all who know me, know I don't usually read FBI type books, but, that said I do from time to time love a good mystery/suspense novel.  Larry has created a great book with a story line and a main character that makes you want to keep reading this book.  Frank, was not always a FBI agent, he was an actor/sexy symbol who put all that behind him to train and pick up a badge and gun and went to work putting the bad guys away, only with this particular case, a case where the reader is taken to a behind the scenes look at a internet chatting to catch a killer, who by the way happens to know more about Frank and his sordid past.  Frank finds himself having to deal with his own skeletons/past erotic indiscretions head on.  

Jolynn, the only woman Frank has ever loved, winds up being a suspect and Frank trying to prove her not guilty, but Jolynn seems to get dragged into this further and further, after finally trusting one of the other agents, he winds up dead in Franks apartment no less.  Ok that's all I'm telling you so no spoilers :)  You must read this book for yourself, it is a nail bitter for sure, will keep you turning the pages, will keep you in total suspense, the twists and turns are ones you will not figure out and when they happen you will say, "OMG, I did not see that one coming"  Larry did an amazing job with the story, plot, and characters.  I loved every minute of this book and you will not regret picking up your copy, sit down, buckle up and hang on for the ride you won't soon forget!!!  Enjoy!!!!

I had the pleasure of being able to interview Larry,  Larry thank you so much for being here today, please have a seat in the Purple Jelly Bean Chair. 

What is your name and where do you call home? 
I'm Larry Kahn from Dunwoody, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, where I live with my wife, Ellie, and two sons. We moved to Atlanta from New York City in 1992.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
King of Paine: a sexy, thought-provoking whodunit with characters who grapple with intriguing end-of-life issues while everything they care about is at stake.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Funny you should ask that, because I did an interview with Frank Paine as one of the events on my blog tour. He had some choice words for me about revealing his kinky secrets in the book, as well as some insights into the ruthless stalker who hounded him. Needless to say, the interview is heavily redacted.
The other main characters--Roger Martin, Jolynn Decker, Jeronimo Reyes, Angela del Rio, and Simone Perlow--are all pretty comfortable with their portrayals in King of Paine. Rumor has it, though, that one of the peripheral characters, the Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge of the FBI's Atlanta Field Office, Davis "Ass" Holbrook, has threatened to punch out my lights if I ever show up at the Field Office again to do more research. I can't imagine why.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
My original intent was for King of Paine to be the second book in a series, but my protagonist in The Jinx, a young lawyer, fell flat as an FBI agent. Paine finally came together when I went for the Hollywood upgrade, bringing in a former action star with a kinky past to replace my heroic, ordinary guy lawyer. Frank Paine's history made the character motivations more authentic and freed me to explore more interesting (kinkier?) plot developments.
While I like Frank, he doesn't fit well with my next story idea. I want to write about a character who unwittingly discovers that foreign powers are taking steps to take over vital U.S. economic interests through manipulation of the financial markets and the political process. I struggled to think of a way for an FBI agent to become an isolated rebel against these forces of evil, so I said "screw it." I'm still casting the part.

At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I'm going to go with seven.

What or who inspired you to write?
I loved to read adult suspense novels from an early age (but older than seven)--Frederick Forsyth, Ira Levin, Irving Wallace, Robert Ludlum--and when John Grisham and Scott Turow birthed the legal thriller genre just as I was training as a young lawyer, I began to dream of writing my own novels. But my true inspiration as a storyteller was my Uncle Sol. He entertained me and my brothers and cousins with his oral "Tales of Rogovin," the adventures of a young boy who encountered monsters and other terrifying creatures in exotic locales. I must have been about seven when he hooked me. That's why I answered the prior question as I did.

When you start to write a new novel, what is the process for you, do you start with a small idea and when you sit to write is that when the story starts to flow, or, before you start to write do you already have the whole story worked out?
I like intricate plots, and they cannot be crafted on the fly. I brainstorm several main plot and character ideas and think through how they might fit together. I do a lot of my best plotting while I'm laying in bed, mind spinning wildly at 3am, 4am, 5am. It drives my wife crazy because I'm constantly running downstairs to write something in my notebook so I can get it off my mind and sleep. Then, when I'm on a roll, I use a mapping software program called Mind Manager to build characters and their motivations, plots and subplots, and imagine how they might intersect. Because I don't want to be trite or irrelevant, I intentionally try out a few crazy ideas and see where they take me. I want my characters to dream big. I throw a lot in the trash, but some of the crazy stuff sticks and, I think, works in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. When your followers read about "The Pit" in King of Paine, they will remember this question and chuckle.

When you write, do you write from start to finish, or in the middle, or at the end first?
After I've built a good working draft of an outline, I highlight three to five major plot twists. I start writing at the beginning but occasionally jump to a chapter with a major twist because those characters and those moments are running wild in my mind. I generally write in a linear manner, but I'm not rigid about it. While I'm writing I allocate time to three tasks, depending upon my creativity, sharpness and mood. Writing requires the most creative energy. If I'm sharp but not creative I'll spend my day researching. If I wake up feeling dopey, I edit. I do a lot of editing.  

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life? 
All the time. Sometimes it's just a similar name as a little tip of the cap; other times I'll borrow a physical description and a few speech markers. My favorite is an angelic woman in King of Paine who spreads joy among everyone she meets like a contagion--that's my wife to a tee.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why? 
The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth, because I read it at an impressionable age and loved the way the author hid the critical clue in plain sight. When the protagonist revealed whodunit, I felt awe and not at all cheated. That's a lesson I hope I apply in my writing--I want the reader to feel the suspense, struggling to solve critical puzzles along with the protagonist but then doing a classic palm slap to the forehead when the twist is revealed. "Damn, I should have seen that!"
The Firm by John Grisham, because the author showed that lawyers and the issues they address can thrill.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because the author demonstrated that intelligence can be sexy, that suspense can be created with words as well as actions, and that fiction can be a medium for political philosophy. I think her philosophy is flawed, but that's a topic I could write an entire essay about.
On Writing by Sol Stein (not my uncle), because this is my bible for novel mechanics. I re-read sections of it before I start each major draft.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
No. As a lawyer I could go into "shark mode" from time to time, but I'm really quite shy. One of the reasons I love writing is because that's how I communicate best. E-mail has probably saved me from ulcers.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I was a late convert, but I like ebooks now. I still prefer a paperback for the beach.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
I was self-published before self-published was cool. Okay, maybe that's overstating the case for the current state of the ebook revolution, but my wife and I published The Jinx as a hardcover under the Redfield Publishers imprint in 2000, before facebook and twitter and on-demand publishing. I'm planning to do a guest blog on these two very different publishing experiences when I schedule my blog tour. Stay tuned!

Have you ever read a book more than once?
I've proofread my own books a mindboggling number of times, but I know what you meant. I've read Atlas Shrugged twice. When I was a teen I reread my books frequently, but I can't remember titles.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
What book are you currently reading and in what format (electronic/paperback/hardcover)? 
Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
I'd rather not say at this time. I'm scouting for indie suspense authors who might make interesting promotional partners. With thousands of novelists tweeting to the same choir, the strongest authors who haven't broken out yet need to devise ways to stand out, maybe co-brand. But I'm waiting to see if early readers think I'm one of the standouts before approaching others. Every writer has some ego, but I understand that I don't get to to decide whether my book is good. You guys get to do that. Can I get you another piece of chocolate cake?

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
I went through many drafts over a few years and have workshopped King of Paine until my critique partners begged me to publish it. I've made some hard calls, but I stand by them. The most difficult was the decision to reveal Frank Paine's history of womanizing and dabbling in BDSM. He's a flawed protagonist, and I hope his other appealing qualities--remorse, integrity, courage, love of a strong woman--will ultimately win the hearts of readers. My beta readers think I pulled it off. If a lot of others disagree, then I will naturally regret not making him Clark Kent or some other cookie-cutter hero. Nah, maybe not so much.

Who designed the cover of your book?
Michael Mollick of Drew Studios, a very creative guy and a pleasure to work with.

Do you have a book trailer?  What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I don't have one and hadn't ever viewed one until you asked about it.  But now that you've sparked my interest, I think they're pretty cool.

What is the best advice that you can give to aspiring writers?
A cynic would say, "Don't quit your day job," but I'm going with "Write, workshop, and rewrite as much as you can." Skills sharpen with experience, often by incorporating criticism into your style. But whether you end up self-publishing or signing a contract with a traditional publisher, these are revolutionary times for writers. You will end up competing against tens of thousands of others for the attention of readers, and not every good novel will experience commercial success. At this moment in history, the supply of novels far exceeds demand. Readers are relying on dedicated book bloggers like you to help them choose the winners, but it seems like even bloggers are starting to get overwhelmed. Can I still change my answer to "Don't quit your day job"?

Do you or have you written/write under a pen name?
No. I considered "Stieg Larsson" but found out it was already taken by some Swedish guy.

Cats or dogs?
If I answer that question at least 50% of your readers will hate me, possibly 100% since it would be hard for me to avoid sarcasm and/or snark, two unattractive qualities that mysteriously appear when I'm writing at 2am.

Where can your readers follow you? 
My blog:
My facebook page:
 My Goodreads author page:


Print, ebook or both? Both.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world.  I hope you share this interview with your friends.  Nattie
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with your followers in the medium I love most. They can post questions or comments here, and I'll respond.

Website and blog:
 Facebook fan page:
 Goodreads author page:

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