Interview with L. J. Kritz

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in the coal fields in southwestern Pennsylvania, in a mostly Catholic community. The church was a powerful influence and it began with the church-sponsored elementary school. I began watching what was taught versus what actually went on around me and was mesmerized by how religion could be a tool for good, or could be co-opted by those that had other aims and goals.
When did you first start writing?
I really got into it in high school, but never thought it was good enough to be published. As I grew, I turned mostly to non-fiction and achieved some success there, but fiction was always my goal.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In both "Dark Angel Amish," and the new sequel. "Pay the Devil," I used the Amish Church as the vehicle to show how it can all go so wrong, yet there are good, gracious people, both within a church, and some without, who are trying desperately to live an honorable life. I've always been intrigued by the Pennsylvania Dutch mystique of a quaint, old fashioned lifestyle, with a stern unforgiving discipline in the shadows that keeps it all together.
What causes you to want to write?
I am intrigued by personality types and how that affects their lives, and the lives of those around them. For example, my wife's career was spent in Surgery. Here's a few tips. Never let the happy-go-lucky surgeon operate on you. You want the crusty old grouch. OR nurses have the neatest, cleanest homes, often to excess. Never visit them on a rainy or snowy day. Also, surgical techs take the old adage, "There's a place for everything, and everything in it's place," to extremes. While this all sounds funny, it affects their love lives, how they rear their children, etc.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The traditional publishing network! It's been a great motivator. Today, the big publishing houses and the agent system seem only to be interested in much-published successful authors who can guarantee them huge sales. But, it's the indie authors who are creative risk takers. That's where the excitement is, and I want to be part of that.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords gets it. They allow an author to get his work out where the reader can decide. Traditional publishing unfortunately tries to decide for you and often misses some of the best work.
What are you working on next?
Now that "Pay the Devil," a sequel to "Dark Angel Amish," is completed, I'm working on a series of novellas based on the characters that inhabit surgery suites. My wife was a Licensed Surgical Assistant and I was fortunate to meet and learn about the intelligent and interesting folks that have made surgery their calling. Interestingly, the people who work in the surgery suite see it as a calling, not a job, or just a way to make a buck. And, thank goodness for that!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Learning to live with my characters. I create them, set up a story line, then they push me aside and take on a life of their own, and tell the story that they want to tell, often not what I planned.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Irving is my inspiration. He takes quirky characters and situations and uncovers real truth. It's kind of like real life all around us.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Something exciting, new, or challenging is going to happen today, and I don't want to miss it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Living in Costa Rica has opened the doors to so many adventures. First is learning the culture. We try to do this by just getting to know the people. Sometimes it's out landlord/lady, who have become our best friends, or maybe a stand holder at the farmers' market, or the bus driver who takes us to town. Then, there is learning a new language, an ambitious undertaking for old fogeys like us. We also like to travel around this beautiful country and just see it and enjoy it. There is so much natural beauty here, coupled with the country's real efforts to preserve wildlife, that we never run out of breathtaking nature sights.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sadly, yes. Think of a grammatical error, a spelling flub, or a twisted story line, and my rookie effort had it.
What is your writing process?
I start my day's effort with an idea then wait for my characters to arrive and then I just try to keep up with them.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first one, but the first one that had an impact on my young life that's affected me, even today, is "Of Missing Persons" by Jack Finney. It's the tale of a man who had the chance to go to a utopia and couldn't believe in it. He missed out and had to live with his failure for the rest of his life. I've tried not to be that person, sometimes successfully.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
IPad first, then Kindle.
Describe your desk
My MacBook in the middle, with the usual clutter, and a stack of chapters and story notes off to one side. Also, there is a spot for Spanish learning tools, a language that I'm working on learning. After English, I can handle German, am learning Spanish, and may consider Italian next. Note that each of these is noted for a particular type of good food.
Published 2016-07-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Pay the Devil
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 108,230. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
"Pay the Devil" continues the story, begun in "Dark Angel Amish", of the true effect of self-aggrandized cult leaders in the Amish Church in Lancaster County, PA. Three women, an Amish farm wife, a Mennonite woman who is also a lesbian, and an "English" outsider from Philly, are all struggling to make sense of the Elders' cruelty and heavy-handedness. They are tested to their limits.
Dark Angel Amish
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,010. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Within the confines of the peaceful Amish community in Pennsylvania, hides the heavy-handed Elders using their assumed anointed power without regard to the laws of the land. Their reckless disregard for everything outside of their own inflexible opinions leads to the demise of a young Amish family and changes forever the lives of the people coming in contact with them.