Monday, October 21, 2013

Richard A. Lester, author of The Check Out

Author Bio:
Richard A. Lester (b 1978) is an American writer/filmmaker. He has written scripts, short stories and one novel to date. He has also worked on several plays and directed an independent film. His writing is usually gritty and satirical; focusing on outlandish characters and the wild situations that they embed themselves in. He is heavily influenced by film; namely exploitation movies of the 1970's and noir titles of the 1930's and 1940's. His literary influences include Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore and Donald ray Pollock. His other interests include history, science and education. He also runs a film review blog entitled A Reel Indication.

Title: The Check Out
Author: Richard A Lester
ISBN: 9781628470109
Page count: 224
Genre: Crime/Thriller/Pulp
Price: Kindle Edition: 3.99. Paperback: 12.99
Tell us about your book:
Failing grocery store manager Larry Prescott just wants a quickie. With a frigid wife waiting at home, Larry decides to have some extramarital fun with an employee named Maxine Watkins. Though he has no way of knowing it, Larry is sowing the seeds for a crime spree that will be dubbed “The MegaSaver Massacre.“

The Check Out is a satirical thriller that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen and Christopher Moore. It is the story of a $10,000 giveaway, and the employees who independently decide to heist the money on the same night. An ensemble piece, each chapter focuses on the motivations and actions of a different main character. Larry Prescott is an arrogant drunk whose affair quickly spirals towards danger. Maxine Watkins is a scheming liar, determined to claw her way out of indigence. Terrence Claybrook, the assistant manager, is an escaped convict trying to keep his past from catching up to him. Roland Tillman, a blood thirsty fugitive, reunites with his former cellmate during the MegaSaver robbery. Brad, an addiction ridden stocker, tries to turn his life around while picking up the pieces of a broken marriage. They each see the prize money as their only lifeline, and are determined to do everything necessary to grab it.

How long did it take to write the book?
The first draft was completed in roughly 4 months. I took another year and a half to research the industry, as well as have the book edited. I'm glad that I did, as I found inspiration later on that helped me flesh out some of the characters.

What inspired you to write the book?
I actually worked at a grocery store that I found to be pretty mundane. I kept thinking of things that could happen to liven it up a bit. A lot of those ideas became this book.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I used to stay up all night writing whenever the inspiration hit. Those would be pretty rare instances, and I didn't feel like I got enough accomplished. With this book, I planned out time to work on it. I tried to schedule at least 3-4 days to work on it a week. On my off days, I would get up and head to the local coffee shop. If I worked, I would either get up early, or work when I came home.

I didn't have to do much research for this one. I was familiar with the actual store setting. The other locations were easy to base on places that I had been before.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I want them to have a great time, and laugh a lot. There are a lot of despicable characters in this book, but I think people will find one or two they can empathize with. As for the others, I hope the readers enjoy watching their downfall.


Excerpt from book:
The air was hot and sticky as the mid-July sun scorched the sky. Once-manicured lawns had become brittle and wilted as sprinklers fought in vain against the festering heat. The sidewalks had become giant griddles, encompassing the dying grass like electric fences. Mounds of exposed flesh bounced up and down, rippling out from underneath thrift store T-shirts and undersized cut-off shorts. The faint smell of body odor and discount cigarettes lingered in the air and clung to anyone who waddled through it on their way into the MegaSaver entrance.
The grocery store stood in the middle of a neighborhood long forgotten by anyone who could afford to. The building, with its flaking paint and leaky roof, was surrounded by empty parking lots and vandalized gas stations. Pot holes littered the streets leading to the store. The parking lot was pocked with trash and missing concrete.
Larry Prescott eyed the herd of customers wandering aimlessly, stalking them with his lion eyes. Behind his blind-drawn windows, Larry studied the position of each customer, cart, and carry-out boy, waiting for his moment to pounce. Would a box of chicken wings fall out of a basket? Would an employee duck behind a car for an unscheduled smoke break? Larry wished he could smell the draw of blood through the glass window of his air conditioned office.
At five feet, seven inches, most people would not consider Larry Prescott tall. In fact, many who did not know him would say he was short. Those who worked for him, however, knew the true power behind his small frame. He was a beast at heart; a man to be feared and respected. Though wisps of hair were plastered over his growing bald spot, most would swear to the thick mane surrounding his head. He was king of his domain; master over all that he surveyed. He protected his own, and ripped his enemies to shreds. He was powerful and terrifying, yet commanded love and admiration from those beneath him.
            A soft knock startled him from his stalk, and Larry turned bitterly towards the office door.
            “Come in,” Larry’s voice roared. There was a pause. His eyes bore through the wood in disgust. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Come in.”

Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon is the best place to get it for now. The book is also distributed by Ingram. If you want to support your local bookstore, you can order it through them. (While you're at it, see if they'll get a couple of copies for the shelf!)

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
You can visit my website at http://www.richardalester.com
I also have an author's blog here: http://www.onthepageblog.com
My Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/rlester

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