Our guest today is Larry D. Thompson, author of the legal thriller, Dark Money. Larry was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.
Larry writes about what he knows best…lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. Dark Money is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.
Dark Money is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics. Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.
Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar—wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.
Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case—but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.
Dorothy Thompson: Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
Larry D. Thompson: My first novel was published by Tor/Forge and the next two were by St. Martin’s. I was not happy with how they handled the books. They paid a modest advance and did nothing to promote the books. Yes, the books were in Barnes & Noble, but you had to go to the back shelves and find, maybe, two books. They never made it to the front tables because the publishers would not pay for that space. Also, with the contracts that were standard at the time, I got 10% of the sales price for an ebook. My agent suggested that I would be better off to go directly to Amazon with my next, The Insanity Plea. I did and started making money and, to this day, now four years later, it continues to sell very well. So I did the same with Dark Money and I suspect that I will continue to publish my stories as ebooks.
D.T.: What can you tell aspiring authors on their quest to be published? Any advice?
L.D.T.: This may sound crazy, but the aspiring author needs to tell a carefully crafted story. I have been asked to read a number of manuscripts over the years and have found that most of them need so much work that it would be impossible to even begin to clean them up. If the author has not revised the story 10 or 15 times, then it’s not finished. After those revisions, send it out to 15 or 20 friends and family members and ask for harsh criticism. Then revise more. When the author is satisfied it’s the best he can do, I recommend going directly to Kindle. The author needs to recognize that the publishing world has changed. Even with a good story, well written, the chance of an agent or publisher taking it is slim to none. While I am sorry to say it, Kindle is the big gorilla in the publishing world these days.
D.T.: Where can we find you on the web?
L.D.T.: You can visit me at my website.