Interview with Rich Leder with Clabe Polk

Interview with Rich Leder

We are honored to have Rich Leder with us today. Mr. Leder is an icon in his own right among
comedy writers and his work stands by itself among the giants of comedy. In his Amazon Biography,
Mr. Leder says “I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh” and “I hope you'll read my
book and laugh out loud…that's why I wrote them.” Certainly, his latest book, Let There Be Linda, fits
that description and having stayed up reading it and laughing until the wee hours of the morning, I
can agree. Many thanks to Rich Leder for sharing his lifetime of writing experience with us today.

Please tell us about yourself.

I’ve been a working writer for more than two decades. My screen credits include 18 produced
television films for CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Paramount Pictures, Tri-
Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films. I’ve written four funny novels: McCall & Company:
Workman’s Complication; McCall & Company: Swollen Identity; Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey
Wrench; and Let There Be Linda. I founded Laugh Riot Press as an imprint for my funny books
and, hopefully one day, the funny books of other indie authors. I have been the lead singer in a
Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a literacy tutor, a
magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a PTA board member, a commercial real estate agent,
and a visiting artist in the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department,
among other things, all of which, it turns out, was grist for the mill.

What kind(s) of books do you write?

I write a funny mystery series, McCall & Company, standalone, dark comic thrillers, and
romantic comedies

What inspired you to write books and when did you start writing?

After 25 years of telling stories in the strictly regimented format of screenwriting, I had the
strong desire to work a deeper, wider canvas. In a script, the writer can only access the
thoughts of the characters with action or dialogue. In a novel, the writer can explore the mind
and heart and soul of the characters at his/her leisure—discuss the characters’ actual thoughts
and feelings. Budget is a non-issue with a novel but a big concern with a movie. Sheer number
of characters can be problematic in a script but not in a book (so long as the characters are
meaningfully created). Number of locations, page count, and other considerations a movie
must make are non-existent in the world of a novel.
I wanted to experience writing without regimentation, so six years ago, I began writing novels.

Did where you grew up influence your writing?

Yes, no doubt. But I didn’t realize that until way later on. My New York/New Jersey childhood
will resonate in my work for as long as I write, of course. However, so will LA and the San
Fernando Valley, where I became a professional writer, where my children were born, where I
became, in my own eyes, an adult. An immature adult, granted, but still an adult.
What is there about your writing that especially appeals to readers?
Carefully crafted stories. Crazy-great characters. Fabulous dialogue. Hilarious writing.

Do you write books in series? If so, why?

I write a funny mystery series—McCall & Company. I’m more than halfway through the third
book. I enjoy creating characters that can live on from book to book to book. And I like writing
mysteries. And I like being funny. So a funny mystery series with characters that live on from
book to book to book seemed like a natural course of action.

Tell us about your latest book release.

Let There Be Linda, the dark comic thriller of the year, is on pre-sale now and launches July 1 on
Amazon. Here’s the blurb:

Leder's black comic thriller tells the tall tale of estranged brothers Mike and Dan
Miller—accountant and con-man talent agent respectively—up to their necks in the virtual
quicksand of LA's San Fernando Valley during the hottest summer in Southern California

The root cause of their problems could be the missing seventy-five thousand dollars, or the
sadistic, loan shark dwarf and his vicious giant, or the psycho comedian cop on the case, or the
coke-snorting dentist, or the deranged zombie real estate developer. Or perhaps it’s the
poodle—the poodle is suspect, no doubt. Or maybe it's the grocery store checker who breathes
life into death. Oh yes, it could be her too.
And so to repair the head-on collision the Millers have made of their personal and professional
lives, the brothers summon their mother back from the dead to clean up the wreckage. But
what the Miller men discover is that screwing with the laws of nature is a violent, bloody,
hysterical, and hilarious idea.

Are any books coming up?

I'm more than halfway through McCall & Company: Emboozlement, the third book in the series.

As an author, what challenges you the most?

Finding readers. Marketing in general, the relentless task of keeping my books and me in the
digital marketplace.

As an author, what bring you the greatest pleasure?
Two things. One: stringing words together in such a way that they form a fabulous sentence
and elicit a laugh in the process. Two: readers telling me they had fun with my books.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I am an avid fitness guy. I hang with my wife. I read. I love movies. I adore good food. I drink
fine bourbon.

How do you make time to write? Do you have a set writing schedule?

I don’t have a set writing schedule. I wish I did. But my life spins a little too fast these days to
find the same hours every day. So I write when I can—early morning, late afternoon, middle of
the night.

Do you plan your writing and use an outline or just write as it comes? 

I’m an outliner. I’ve used the same system for close to 30 years. It’s worked through 56
screenplays and four novels. I’ve taught that system to 200 writers. It’s worked for them too.

How do you approach cover design?

I’ve been using the excellent Derek Murphy of CreativIndie . I tell him what I’m thinking, and I
turn him loose. Then we work together to fine tune and finalize.

Is social media an important marketing tool for you ? How do you use it?

Yes. It’s the most cost effective way to reach the widest net of readers. I use Facebook ads to
target readers I think would like my books. Laugh Riot Press, my publishing company, is active
on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

What is your most effective method for book promotion?

Facebook ads have worked well for me.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Write anyway.

What is the best advice about writing anyone has ever given you?

Write anyway.

What do you like to read?

Richard Ford, John Irving, Philip Roth, Donald Westlake, Elmore Leonard, John MacDonald,
Stephen King...it’s a long list. I’m going to stop now.

Do you write for readers of multiple genres or just one?

I write for people who like fun, smart stories with hilarious characters. I write for people who
love to laugh out loud.

Thank you for sharing some of your lifetime of writing experience with us today. We appreciate

your time and wish you all the best of luck with “Let There Be Linda.”

For additional information about Rich Leder please check his Amazon Author Page and his

Good Reads Author Page.

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