Interview With Rich Leder

Rich Leder

When I was asked to read and review Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench I was also asked if I would like to interview the writer Rich Leder. Of course I said yes to this as I thought it would be great to get to know Rich a little better. 
Here is my interview with Rich, I hope you enjoy reading it!

What made you become a writer?

I don’t think I became a writer.  I think I've always been one.  When I was a little kid, my army men had back stories, nicknames, and families at home that they wrote letters to.  My army men were letter writers.  When I was nine years old, I wrote a variety comedy show—a Laugh-In clone—that my friends and I performed in my garage for the neighborhood kids and parents.  When I was 13, I wrote a stage play.
Flash forward west...I was a working professional screenwriter in Los Angeles for 15 years.  I wrote television movies and feature films—18 of my scripts have been produced and aired around the world.  When I tell you Hollywood was a crazy ride, I’m not kidding.    
For the last six or seven years, I've been a novelist.  I write funny books with smart/crazy/crafted stories and eccentric, hilarious characters.  I’m a fast, fun, and easy read.  So I’m writing for readers who want to jump off the speeding train of their lives for a few minutes and get lost in a world of lunatics maneuvering through stories that charge causally forward and make them laugh out loud.
My life is so full and insane sometimes that all I want to do is sit on my screened porch and disappear in a book that transports me—heart and soul and sense of humor—to somewhere, anywhere else.  Just give me a few minutes.  That’s all I ask.
I’m not special, so I think lots of readers feel the same way.  And so maybe that’s what made me become a writer.  Although my mother says I was born this way.  My wife just rolled her eyes at that last sentence.

What do you love most about writing?

Crafting sentences is the thing I have loved about writing for the last 30 years.  To this day, I still love to string words in a row, read them out loud (so I hear them) and say to myself, “Man, that’s a good sentence.”

What do you feel is the toughest thing about writing?

Finding enough time to do it.  Like most self-pubbing writers, I live a full life.  I have outside business interests, I have children, and I have cars and a house and bills.  I volunteer, and I coach, and I’m busy with people I like to see and things I like to do.  And I’m a writer.  I’ve somehow made time to write more than 40 movies and four novels, but finding enough time to write continues to be a challenge.

What would you be doing if you weren't a writer? 

I would be a basketball coach.  Or a sleep-away camp owner.  Or a basketball coach who owns a sleep-away camp.

Other than writing what are your hobbies?

I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies.  I write and exercise every day—I’m an avid swimmer and power walker (hey, I think I’m walking powerfully).  I like to eat good food and drink fine Kentucky bourbon, and I tend to my other businesses, and I spend time with my wife and children.  Maybe all of those are my hobbies.

What is your favourite book to read?

No way to pick just one.  Here are some off the top of my head: The Sportswriter (Richard Ford), A Widow for One Year (John Irving), Trust Me On This (and lots of other novels by Donald E. Westlake), plenty of novels by Carl Hiaasen, everything by John D. MacDonald and Philip Roth and...oh, brother, I could keep going.

What is the best advice you have been given?

The longer and harder you work, the luckier you get.

Do you have any advice for up and coming writers?

Don’t write fiction because you want to make money from writing fiction.  Write fiction because there’s a story in your heart that you have to tell.  If you’re writing fiction to make money, you’re writing for the wrong reason.  Write because you love your writing life. 

What was your inspiration for Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench?

My life in LA.  Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench is more or less the story of my improbable life in LA.  Some of it is exactly true, some of it is inexactly true, but all of it is true enough.

It’s the story of a screenwriter at the end of his personal and professional ropes who takes a last-gasp job writing a ridiculous porn flick while coming to terms with the women in his life—his estranged wife, who left him to be a juggler, a manipulative porn star, and the beguiling granddaughter of the ancient Chinese healer he’s hired to cure his headaches.  As he attempts to navigate this rocky road, he’s hired to adapt the phone book into a movie.

Yep, it’s a romantic Hollywood sex comedy.


1 comment

  1. Thanks for interviewing me, Caroline. It's an honor to be a part of your cool blog today.