Interview with Larry Spencer, Author of 'Material Things' #interview

LARRY SPENCER published his first novel, The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass in the summer of 2017. A story that covered the life of a pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man who sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in a modern California noir backdrop.   Spencer has been a Writer’s Guild of America member since the late 70s, having written and produced a multitude of highly successful TV shows, which culminated into writing several feature films. He was then encouraged to pen his second book, Material Things, a story based on true events that takes place in the 60s &70s and tackles organized crime, drugs and embezzlement during a time when bellbottom pants ruled the fashion scene.  He lives in Valley Village, California.

Visit his website at

TWL: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Larry: Came up with the idea of this story a year ago. Right after I finished my first book— The Tipping Point of Oliver bass. I wanted to jump right in and start a fresh one. Writing and ham and cheese sandwiches are my addiction. I was writing TV sitcoms for over 25 years. Not exactly fulfilling existence. Transitioned into movies, (with surprising success) Wrote four screenplays, all of which were bought by studios, but never produced.  Budget problems and Dustin Hoffman and Uma Thurman backed away because of production problems and their lack of enthusiasm for the director. It was at this point in my life I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. At first it was painful. But I made it easier on myself because I remembered I didn’t have a deadline like when working in TV. The pressure was off and I enjoyed the ride.

TWL: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers.

Larry: First off, I write without an outline. Crazy I know. The story is all crammed in my head. Yes, I have notes on scrap paper but that’s about it. It makes the journey harder but it works for me. When I’m writing film of course I need a beginning, middle and end somewhere attached to a piece of paper. But for the most part I wing it.  Somehow the process works for me.  As I’m writing one chapter I’m thinking about where I’m going in the next two or three. It’s my method. I don’t recommend it. I tend to overwrite because I’m not confident with what I’ve written. Sure, double work. Like I said, I have a very unconventional way of telling a story.  I write fast and sometimes erratic. I hate to labor over a line or a speech. I’ll go back a thousand times and change it. While I’m on page 200 I’ll remember a glaring sentence on page 25 that I finally figure out what was wrong with.

TWL: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Larry: Self-publish. Not sure if this is smart or not. I’m thinking maybe I’d have more success with a publisher. In TV/film I was with a top agency. Needed an agent. You couldn’t get past the front door without an agent. Couldn’t get a meeting. Couldn’t get noticed.  My feeling is you’re not going to make that New York Times best seller list without a major publisher behind you. 

TWL: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Larry: Everything surprised me. I was a virgin. I loved my book, loved what I wrote. Had great feedback from reviewers. Kirkus Review loved it. Took out ads in PW, Kirkus Magazine., New York Times Book Review. Had zero marketing experience and the book surprisingly did crap. Lost money. But it was my wife’s money so I didn’t care as much. Kidding.

TWL: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

Larry: As of now nothing. Writing a pilot for Netflix about a 28-year old alcoholic dives head first into the Amends program of the 12 Steps program by apologizing to the hordes of people she’s hurt, and  that not all of them want to forgive her.

TWL: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Larry: That I am terrific at writing prose and that I use my comedy background sparingly. 

TWL: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Larry: Truth. I’m not sure there’s a profound message. This is a story based on true events. When people read it, it will provide memories for those who were there, and understandable envy among those who wish they had been. That life in the 60s/70s wasn’t all free love, drugs and bitchin’ times. There were lots of disappointments, unexpected deaths, and huge failure. A lot of sad stories came out of that era. I just recounted a few of them..

TWL: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Larry: Yes. A final word. If you bought my book or plan to buy it. Thanks. You’ve made me feel that the journey was well worth it.

About the Book:

Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction

Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst. 
Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface.

The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.



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