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Author Q&A Series > Author Q&A Forum: John Lathrop

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Here is John Latrop in his own words:

John Lathrop has published two novels in the past two years. His second, The End of the Monsoon, a story of interracial romance, is also a political thriller with a Buddhist sub-theme. His website/blog is at: Writing, politics, music and morphine.


1. So how did you get into writing?

I wanted to be a writer probably since the age of 11 or 12. However, I come from a very business and engineering family, and I didn't start to write seriously until I was 40. I wasn't published until my 50s.

2. How long have you been writing?

On and off--sometimes off for years--for near on two decades. Only for a very, very small part of that time have I written full-time.

3. What was the first story you got published? How did you get it published?

I only write novels. The first two are unpublished--they weren't good enough. I was learning the trade. My first published novel was The Desert Contract, published by Scribner and John Murray. I didn't get it published--my agent did.

4. What genres do you write in? What attracted you to those genres?

In the words of my agent: 'Political thrillers with tightly interwoven love stories.' I'm attracted to this genre for several reasons: I've been an expat for much of my life and I'm interested in foreign politics; the plot of a political thriller is such that it moves the reader along; this genre has the ability to support a great deal more, thematically, than a plain or simple thriller.

5. What inspires you as an author and why? Which writers have been influential on you and why?

What usually inspires me most are themes and characters. For instance, the theme that corruption in the developing world can sometimes have a positive outcome, strongly inspired my first published novel, The Desert Contract. Several themes inspired my second novel, The End of the Monsoon: the idea that love can start, or grow, from pure carnality; the possibility of a western skeptic developing an open mind to faith and to Buddhism; and the very common and unfortunate Asian prejudice against blacks--and how far that might extend, even to a western diplomat's wife.

Writer's that influenced me were Greene, Ambler and Hartley. The first and last because of the way they interwove serious themes into their plots, and because of the beauty of their style. Ambler because of his readability.

6. So why do you write interracial romance?

I was raised to be colour-blind, in terms of prejudice. Perhaps as a result I have often been attracted, all my adult life, to women of different races than my own. I had my first interracial romance, a very serious one, in my early thirties. The effect of it remained with me as an obsession for 15 years. It was the theme of my first, unpublished novel.

An interracial romance is often a cross-cultural romance. It is bound to enrich the story line.

7. Tell us about your current work.

I'm trying to develop a new novel, another political thriller, set partly in Istanbul and partly in California.

8. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You'll never write anything worthwhile, until and unless you have something to say. In other words, theme.
Everyone reads for fun, for entertainment. You have to read analytically.
Remember: to get published, story is paramount.
It's not enough that your story, your characters and your themes, grab you. It has to grab the readership of the market you are aiming at. Total strangers who could probably care less about your latest, failed, obsessive love affair.

9. What are your goals as a writer? Where do you see your writing career in five years?

To write better novels. To write novels that mean something, as well as entertain. In the next five years I want to write and have published, to good sales, two more novels.

10. What message are you trying to convey through your writing? What do you want to say to your reading audience and future readers?

I hope I can convey the importance of tolerance and compassion, but more prosaically I hope to express themes that mean something to me and that are topical. A recurring idea in my writing is that no one, not the hero, not the heroine, not the villain, is all-of-a-piece. There are very few, if any, blacks and whites.

11. Who is your biggest role model in life? As a writer?

In my life, probably my parents. Hopefully I can do as well as they did. As a writer I no longer have a role model, or models. I'm trying to do the best I can.

12. Is there anything you want to ask the members of this group?

What is your nationality and background? Why do you enjoy stories of interracial romance? Have you had one, or are you open to one? Does the idea simply titillate you, or are you seriously open-minded? If so, why? Do you read serious novels with a theme or plot that includes an interracial romance, or do you read interracial bodice-rippers (if they exist)?

13. Is there anything else you want us to know about you?

I actually do have a sense of humor. My friends urged me to include more of it in The End of the Monsoon, and I think I succeeded.

On the behalf of the members of Fans of Interracial Romance, I want to thank you John for letting us get to know you!

message 2: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments Hi John,

Nice interview. My background is biracial to an unknown white mother and unknown father, I'm clueless there. I like interracials because I like men of different races too. My husband is Puerto Rican. I'll read anything if it interests me - from a very thought-provoking story to a bodice ripper. I think everything is relevant and I think analysis can be found even in the simplest of story. Sometimes I don't want to think and just read a story for the sensations it gives me. So that's just me in a nutshell.

message 3: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
John, I am sorry for delay on commenting. I found your answers very insightful. I think theme is important in a story. I feel that books and entertain and enlighten at the same time, so I tend to look for books that can do that for me.

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