“When I write a story, it’s like it was already out there, only waiting for me to uncover it. I aim to go where we’ve all been before, yet see it with fresh eyes and report back. ”
Larry F. Sommers is a Wisconsin writer of historical fiction, seeking fresh meanings in our common past.
He is the author of Price of Passage–A Tale of Immigration and Liberation, a historical novel published in August 2022. 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 dogs.
Price of Passage
Norwegian Farmers and Fugitive Slaves in Pre-Civil War Illinois
(History is not what you thought!)
I wrote my first story on my Big Chief pencil tablet, in third grade, when I was supposed to be doing something else. Though a shameless imitation of Richard Diamond, Private Detective—a Saturday radio serial of those days—it was a pretty good story that had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
After that, I got sidetracked for a few decades in the circuitous business of living a life. Somewhere along the line, I became an Old Fuddy-Duddy.
In 2009 I retired from my full-time job and immediately began a great part-time job at the helm of a prestigious religious periodical. At the end of 2015, I retired from this great gig so I could 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 meanings 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.