Books just a few degrees off the beaten path.
My story in 50 words:
Larry Zuckerman, named for a Shakespearean actor, is an award-winning historian whose fiction debut, Lonely Are the Brave, appeared in April 2023 (Cynren Press). He reviews historical fiction weekly on his blog, Novelhistorian, and writes for Historical Novels Review. For five years, he led the Seattle chapter of the Authors Guild.
Or, if you prefer, 100 words:
Larry Zuckerman, named for a Shakespearean actor, is an award-winning historian, author of books about the potato's influence on Western history and the German occupation of Belgium during World War I. His 2023 fiction debut, Lonely Are the Brave (Cynren Press), only the second novel in the past century about at-home fatherhood, earned a five-star review from ForeWord. He has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition with Renée Montagne and addressed the 2009 World Potato Congress in Christchurch, New Zealand. He reviews historical fiction weekly on his blog, Novelhistorian, and writes for Historical Novels Review, where he was also an editor.
Or in greater detail:
My parents named me for a Shakespearean actor whom my father saw perform in England in 1944, shortly before sailing across the Channel into battle. I was born in Brooklyn, though I didn't actually live there until much later.
After college graduation, most of my classmates sought jobs in the nine-to-five workforce or entered graduate or professional school. I figured I wouldn't do much good that way, so I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching English in a Central African town.
When I came back, I worked in an English-language school for foreign students hoping to study in the U.S., then for a wine merchant. Eventually, I entered book publishing, where I spent twenty years, branching out to magazine and newspaper work along the way.
But ever since my teenage years, I've dreamed of putting words on paper for others to read, of having a voice. The first voice I admired was James Thurber's, whom I discovered in an anthology I received as a bar mitzvah gift. I loved his humor, sense of the absurd, and willingness to swim against the tide.
In 1998, my first book came out, The Potato, for which I found a subversive theme involving the world's favorite vegetable: Europe, which imported the plant from South America, at first called it poisonous, unfit to eat, the food of slaves, then accused it of causing poverty. The spud was an underground rebel, literally! That notion got me on the radio and TV and an invitation to New Zealand, where I gave a keynote address at the World Potato Congress.
When I started writing that book, my first son was six weeks old. I stayed home with him and, later, with his younger brother, a choice few men make today, and even fewer did then.
The First World War has long fascinated me, and its tragedy still breaks my heart. I think it's the seminal event of the twentieth century. When I decided to write my next book, The Rape of Belgium, I chose a lesser-known aspect of the war, about how the Germans invaded and occupied that country, turning it into a totalitarian regime before the word existed.
Going on ten years, I've reviewed historical fiction weekly on my blog, Novelhistorian. For a while, I was an editor at Historical Novels Review; I still write for them. My own historical fiction deals with lonely, passionate rebels who reinvent themselves and seek others doing the same. Makes sense, doesn't it?
My debut novel, Lonely Are the Brave, published April 2023 (Cynren Press) supposes that a highly decorated hero of the Great War returns to his small town in Washington and scandalizes everybody by becoming an at-home father.
Wonder where I got that idea.
I live in Seattle, where for five years I led the Author's Guild regional chapter for Washington. When I'm not writing or reading, I cook; like the first two, it's something I have to do.