Please join me in welcoming the always interesting, Larry Farmer.
Tell me three words that describe yourself.
What are your three favorite things?
a. Studying b. History c. Art
Are you self- published or with a publishing company (if so, which one?)?
I'm with The Wild Rose Press
Was there any particular inspiration for your characters or story?
The setting I lived in while a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines in the mid-1980s. I met many PCVs while getting my Master's and was a fan of JFK too and tokenly applied for the Peace Corps from all I heard. One day I got a letter accepting me and they were going to send me to the Philippines. The place had just been in the news due to the political assassination of Benigno Aquino. All of this intrigued me and with those military bases we had there too, Cold War intrigue added on to it all, I was enchanted from the get. I had two best friends there. A girl from Cleveland and a black guy from Los Angeles. For the novel I simplified their stories into one, choosing the girl to be the character living both stories. The girl so that I could make it a love story to enhance an already great story setting. But both were so dear to me and lived such dedicated, exotic, even dangerous lives in their areas. We saw a lot of each other and were thick and thin with each other and it made a great story about them, mixed with what I also experienced. We all loved the Peace Corps. It is so underrated in my opinion, which also was an inspiration to me to write about. I wanted to get the word out about it. In my case, our cases, we happened to live in a dangerous peace and order setting. A lot of turmoil and insurrection going on. The real story is the girl and I had to leave and find new areas it got so dangerous. In my novel we stayed. To make the story simpler. That's why I had two best friends, one in each area. We witnessed insurrection, other political assassinations besides Aquino's, worked with poverty that one cannot imagine, trying to turn any aspect of it around with limited resources. It's a wonderful story on it's own, but then this marvelous, miraculous revolution occurred, the People's Power revolution they called it. When it hit, the climax, the do or die of the overthrow of Marcos, it was all done bloodlessly. Not a shot fired. Guts and heroism that moves me to tears to this day. These beautiful people. Standing alone, with God, against tyranny, and overcoming brutality with love. How in God's earth has this not been written about yet, or Hollywood movies yet? I was there to live all this. I had to write about it. I didn't have to make much up.
How much is your character like you?
What you read is what you get. Me to the bone. I did leave out how neurotic I can be. I wasn't always cool calm and collected about things. But I didn't make anything up about myself or the story I lived through that I wrote about.
Music is a big influence on my writing. I have certain songs that inspire each chapter, or the whole book. What helps to inspire you?
Since you mentioned music. I'm very musical on my own and also love music. And Filipinos are also so musical and music played a huge role in their lives on a daily basis, which I cover in the story. Folk music was the big thing back then, from American music scene and also their own. I mention all of this and certain songs also. They had the Filipino Bob Dylan that I make a landmark of sorts in the story. He especially sang this anti-colonialist song that became an anthem of the revolution, Ang Bayan Ko, or My Country, in English. And I would go to village meetings and the Filipinos would open the meeting with their children dancing. Or just singing on their own, like in a church camp. And I got sucked into singing, but knew I could sing and became a favorite and just started bringing my own guitar. And I'd listen to the radio and just turn the dial to get the feel of a certain area and heard some of the most riveting local songs. But next to Ang Bayan Ko, the most stirring song I heard while I was there, was one that was actually not sung. But I included it in my story anyway, because I loved the legend that sprung up spontaneously about it. While up to two million people were confronting the Army during the dramatic overthrow, unarmed, scared, but defiant and passionate, they sang a Filipino song that I never heard before. But what got written in the newspaper was, and it was so fitting, some articles said they sung Onward Christian Soldiers. It fit perfectly. Filipinos are a very religious people and the Catholic Church, in particular, was one of the stalwarts of the revolution. So Onward Christian Soldiers fit perfectly and I put it in the novel. I listen to it even now and remember those days and it still brings tears to my eyes. These are beautiful beautiful people. This was their heyday. Why oh why is there no story about it? So here I am. Trying to tell you about it.
What’s the one thing you would do if you could be your character for a day?
I'd go back to those glorious days that I lived among the great Filipino people. And go out of my way to not change a thing. I miss all my PCV buddies and the Filipinos I lived among, and the setting of a historic time we shared together. I Will Be The One all over again to live what I lived.
Lois has joined the Peace Corps to explore the world outside her staid Ohio upbringing. As a teacher in a remote village she totes her own household water from a distant source, learns to accept locals wandering through her hut at all hours, and even becomes accustomed to gunfire in the jungle night. But when the visit of a suspected spy to her village threatens their lives, she and her friend James must make a decision of lasting import.
includes gallantry of the strong to protect the weak. Remember what that man said to me to get me to go
inside? He tapped me on the shoulder. That’s what they do. They tap on the shoulder and say, I will be the one. I
will be the one to take the hardship and danger. That is so beautiful, so touching.” She turned fully on her side as if to look at me, even though we were in total darkness. “When we get married someday, Mississippi, that’s
going to be our wedding vow. Before you kiss the bride to seal our marriage, we’re going to face each other,
look each other in the eyes, hold both hands, and say to each other—” She placed her hand on my cheek for emphasis. “Let’s say it now. I want to vow it right now. Let’s do it.” “I will be the one,” we said to one another.
“Whenever one of us is weak,” she continued, “the other will be there. We will always be there for each other. We will always survive.” We sealed our vow with a kiss.
twitter - @LFarmerWrites
Buy links for I Will Be The One are on Larry's webpage. Follow the link above and be sure to pre-order your copy ahead of tomorrow's release.