An Interview with Glen Hierlmeier
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
My favorite book is not a novel at all. We Had to Live: We Had No Choice, is a story based on the life of my family beginning with the immigration of my fourth great grandfather, Thomas Sewell, to the USA from England as an indentured servant. I tried to write the book more as a novel, telling the family story in a way to make it more inviting and readable. It was also my intention to use the writing of the book as a warm-up, so to speak, for further writing. As it turned out, an experience in World War II first related to me by my eldest brother, who has since passed away, during the writing of the family book, provided the nugget that stimulated the writing of my first novel, Honor & Innocence: Against the Tides of War. I immensely enjoyed the process of researching and writing my first novel, but I believe the first book and the intense and personal look into the family ancestry will forever be my favorite.
I both love and hate novels that don’t leave a discrete ending for the reader. Have you ever felt the need to write sequels?
Lazlo’s Revenge is indeed a sequel, or a prequel in another sense, in that the book covers a longer time period that encompasses the first book. One of my objectives in writing each book was to leave significant questions for the reader at the end of the story. In fact, the idea for the second book was stimulated by many readers’ desire to hear more about some of the characters. In Lazlo’s Revenge I go into greater depth and scope with some of the most loved characters. These characters have taken on a life of their own and I am constantly asked about them by those wanting more. There is a scene that occurs in both books, but it is told through different participants, so each sees it a bit differently.
There’s always another novel in the pipeline to write… Tell me about it! Does it have even a working title?
I suspect from early reviews and comments that readers will want to know more about Max, the narrator whose experiences unearth the story. Max, Maxine Roberta Fischer, is a retired war correspondent who seeks to learn about the lives of her parents and other significant people in her family history by tracing their steps through Europe from the years before WWI through the end of WWII in search of answers to the causes of war. After a lifetime as a war correspondent all over the world, she remains perplexed about why wars continue to occur. I am contemplating a series of shorter novels relating Max’s personal experiences covering wars around the world for forty years. The working titles would be Max Fischer in (fill-in country of combat).
Some advice other writers have given is that your first novel is best sitting in a drawer for a while, because then you feel stronger about chopping up ‘your baby’. Do you still have a copy of your first novel? Whether this was published or unpublished, I need to know!
My first novel was published, but only after I nursed it for about six months, and undertook not fewer than five substantial edits. I wanted to get it published and move on with what I had learned in the writing and in the publishing processes. Rather than hold on to it longer, I wanted to birth it and move on to another book, hopefully wiser for the experience. Now that the second novel is in publication, I am marketing the first novel as well since they relate to many of the same characters.
Do you have a dedicated writing space? How does it meet your writing needs?
My entire home is my writing space. I like to move around with my mood. The oversized dining room table allows me to lay many things out, and serves as my command post. I use a computer room separate from the command post, and also often use a reading area in my master bedroom for reading, research, and note taking. Sometimes I take a ride in my car to think over a passage, develop a character, or just clear my head.
What is your writing process? Have you ever thought about changing it? Other authors I have interviewed talk about having an outline – post-it notes in an office, or writing in paper journals. Is there something like that in your writing technique? Or is it all digital for you?
I record my research notes, key words, and phrases on note cards. I do not write an outline. Once I have the story well in mind I write the first chapter and let each chapter take me where it leads me.
I create best with an ink pen in my hand. The first several drafts, and often more, are written out in cursive with a pen selected from a collection of about thirty fine writing instruments, depending on my mood. Once I feel I am close to what I want, I then type it into the computer at which time I fill in a lot of detail I usually don’t get into when I am creating with my pen in hand.
After I have gone over a chapter several times and have it where I think I am happy with it, I read it out loud to my wife, who teaches literature and writing, and isn’t reluctant to be critical. Reading it to her allows us to confirm the flow of the writing and that the detail or emotion is being effectively conveyed. She also asks good questions that help flesh out or clarify the writing.
How do you know when a novel or short story is finished? How do you know to step away and let the story speak for itself?
The characters and the plot must resolve themselves. I always let the story speak for itself until the epilogue, where I try to wrap up loose ends.
Do you have a preference for e-book or paperback format? This is for both your own reading and your novels.
I prefer to have a book in my hand and feel the pages. I always provide all three formats.
Social media is becoming a big thing. How does managing media outlets come into marketing your brand and your books?
I think it is unfortunate, but marketing through social sites is imperative. I let my PR team handle most of that.
You have answered other sets of interview questions, is there something you wish someone would have asked you? Or conversely, something you wish they hadn’t asked?
Why would readers enjoy your book?
Lazlo’s Revenge is a modern day odyssey, which – like ancient Greek tragedies – takes the reader on a winding adventure across land and sea while focusing on the moral, spiritual, and personal meanings underlying the story. The agony and devastation that engulfed all of Europe and much of the world for over three decades in the first half of the twentieth century are brought to life as history, pathos, and intrigue are woven together with the human spirit. Through an improbable web of personal relationships and dire circumstances, the plot unfolds with the shifting tides of politics and war, challenging our moral compass and exposing our proclivity to nationalism, prejudice, hatred, greed, and war. This is a story with great relevance in today’s world that needs to be heard in hopes of preventing history from repeating itself.
About Lazlo’s Revenge
Glen Hierlmeier’s latest historical romance novel, Lazlo’s Revenge, is the story of one woman’s adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts. Stories of romance, war, and traumas both physical and emotional are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II. Lazlo’s Revenge is due for release in June 2016 from Xlibris publishing.
Lazlo’s Revenge follows Maxine “Max” Fischer, a writer and Swiss war correspondent, whose parents (Hank and Roberta Fischer, the main characters from Hierlmeier’s previous book, Honor and Innocence) lived through the tragedies of the Great World Wars.
In Lazlo’s Revenge, Max sets out on an adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts and see the very places where they survived on their odyssey to escape danger and death. Stories of romance, war, and traumas are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.
During her journey, Max becomes fascinated by the people who influenced her parents’ lives. She follows the life and times of Lazlo Floznik, the man who saved her parents and helped them escape catastrophe in Europe by seeking out refuge beyond the reach of the security forces that sought to imprison them. The years leading up to World War I, the time between the wars, and the experiences of World War II reveal their secrets as Max explores her family roots, in this deeply emotional story tied together by Lazlo’s intense story of love, and that of his father, Miklos, before him.
“Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, romance, war stories, and stories with action and adventure, should definitely give Lazlo’s Revenge a read. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to any such reader. I am also looking forward to reading more from the promising author, Glen Hierlmeier, as soon as I possibly can!” – 4 Stars, Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite
]Glen Hierlmeier is a graduate of the United Sates Air Force Academy, and has an MBA from The University of Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he helped develop the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft, and gained a deep interest in world affairs and warfare.
He subsequently completed a career as a banker and real estate executive, serving as President and CEO of various companies for over thirty years before retiring in 2009.
Glen enjoys writing historical fiction and has published three other books including Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, the prequel to Lazlo’s Revenge.