“A new understanding of ourselves and our world, leaping out as if by miracle from retrospective writing, is what I seek for myself and what I strive to share with reflective readers of all descriptions. Such readers may hope for something true and enduring. My stories simply aim to supply whisperings from the past, which may nourish the hearts of readers in their own quests through the mundane present and into the hazy realm of the future.”
Larry F. Sommers is a Wisconsin writer of historical fiction, seeking fresh meaning in our common past.
He is the author of Freedom’s Purchase, a novel of immigration, adaptation, and the pursuit of happiness in Civil War America, now nearing the end of a full-scale text revision. He won Honorable Mention in The Saturday Evening Post’s 2018 Great American Story Contest for “The Lion’s Den,” a tale of childhood in the 1950s, and has published other, similar stories in the online version of The Saturday Evening Post.
He served as editor of The Congregationalist, a national church-related quarterly magazine, from 2009 to 2016 and previously worked 23 years in the Public Affairs Office of the Wisconsin National Guard/Wisconsin Emergency Management as a writer, editor, photographer, writing coach, and public affairs consultant in a fast-paced environment punctuated by crisis communication events.
A Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he is active in church work and is a member of the Sons of Norway and two local writers’ critique groups.
He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife and two behovely dogs.
–April 10, 2019
I wrote my first story on a pencil tablet, in third grade, when I was supposed to be doing something else. Though shamelessly derivative of Richard Diamond, Private Detective—a Saturday radio serial of those days—it was actually a pretty good story in that it had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
After that, I got sidetracked for several years into the circuitous business of living a typical American life. Somewhere in its course, I became a cranky old man.
In 2009 I retired from my full-time job and immediately plunged into a very satisfying part-time job at the helm of a prestigious religious periodical. At the end of 2015, I retired from my part-time “retirement job” and began to give my whole attention to learning the art of fiction.
I write fiction because I think that it’s the best way to tell the truth. I write historical fiction because I seek to find fresh meaning in our common past.
So you see, my story, too, had a beginning; it had a middle; and the end is somewhere beyond a still-distant horizon.