Posted on 11/09/2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Sometimes our author Q&As simply write themselves — and today’s feature is one of those cases.
Lennox Randon had “write a novel” on his bucket list, and there was actual urgency to it: He’d been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
So he decided to make the most of the situation, recruiting a friend to serve as a writing buddy and making that dream of publishing a novel actually happen.
A few novels and a few years later, Randon is still fighting and still writing, and also graciously took the time to answer a few of our questions.
SADYE: How did your past jobs of police officer and teacher influence your writing?
RANDON: Both jobs taught me patience, and, more importantly as a writer, they introduced me to a wide array of people from all walks of life. Also, I saw how people responded to stress, loss, and other emotional situations.
SADYE: How did you and the “writing lads” meet and form your group?
RANDON: I met Rob Cline’s son when I served as a coach on the LEGO League team he and my daughter were on in elementary school. Then I met Rob’s wife when she joined me as coach the next year. Finally I met Rob at the kids’ competition. He was always reading.
I told his wife, Jenny, that I had started a novel years ago, and she said that Rob had also begun a book. A light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that the two of us could help each other through the writing process.
I took Rob to a Hawkeyes game and began the “courtship” process. He was reluctant and claims the only reason he finally agreed was because he felt guilty turning down the guy who was battling cancer. I suspect his creative juices started flowing, and he recalled that the late, great Ed Gorman had complimented his first chapters years ago. Rob wanted to find out if he could really do it.
Two months into working together, I was hospitalized and told I would die due to my GIST cancer metastasizing. Intense chemotherapy saved me, and a few weeks later, Rob suggested adding a third member to our writing group, Dennis Green.
SADYE: How likely did you find it that you would complete the writing process and actually have it published?
RANDON: Once Rob and I had met for a couple of months, I knew that if I lived long enough, I would finish. The ideas were coming consistently, and I was motivated.
I looked for an agent but knew I would self-publish if things didn’t happen fast enough. I had a burning desire to hold the finished product in my hands and see how people responded to my storytelling.
SADYE: What surprised you most about the process of writing and publishing?
RANDON: The most surprising thing about the writing process was how the story took on a life of its own. The characters went places that I didn’t expect when I outlined the novels.
When I started writing dialogue, especially, the conversations changed the fates of the characters.
The most surprising things about publishing were final editing and cover design. I was amazed at how many “final” edits I had to do to make the manuscript print-ready.
I design my book covers, and with Friends Dogs Bullets Lovers, I must have gone through at least twenty-five designs before I fell in love with one. The design process led me to change the book title several times until everything clicked. And of course, each title change meant another “final” edit.
SADYE: What’s the latest health update?
RANDON: Unfortunately, with metastatic cancer, there is no great news. I live three months at a time, from scan to scan.
I’m on the second of three possible chemotherapy treatments, and nearing the end of the projected course of treatment. Hopefully the third chemo will work on my tumors when the time comes. I try not to worry too much, but it ain’t easy.
I still have more good days than bad days, and I’ve learned to manage the chemo side effects pretty well. On the whole, I’m just glad to still be kicking, longer than even the most optimistic prognosis.
Heck, I wasn’t sure I’d be around long enough to finish writing one book, and I finished two. I even got to see the third Hobbit movie and a new Star Wars. Could be worse.
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Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email sadye (at) thefussylibrarian.com with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview