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Author Update 2024: Larry Kilham

Author Larry Kilham writes nonfiction and science fiction, memoir and biography, and poetry. He is also a world traveler with a love for climbing mountains in exotic lands. Himalayan Adventures: India & Nepal (August 2023) is his newest nonfiction release and second travel adventure book. You’ll find Larry on his website and blog, and on his Amazon author page. For more about his work, read his first SWW interview, as well as his 2019, 2021, and 2023 interview updates.

You’re a hiking and trekking enthusiast who has traveled across the world. Of all the places you’ve visited, why did you choose India and Nepal as the focus of your second travel adventure book?
As a boy, I was thrilled reading Annapurna by the famous French mountaineer Maurice Herzog and Edmund Hillary’s account of being the first to climb Mt. Everest. These mountains are both in Nepal, and India is a contiguous country and shares similar cultures. While not a world-class climber, I was determined to visit that area. I was also fascinated by Indian and Nepalese art and cultures.

Tell us about the journey from inspiration to completed book.
I wanted to write about my travels in India and Nepal. I started by looking through all my photos from that trip and found over a hundred that told a story. What emerged was a narration for a slide show.

If a traveler could only visit a few of the places mentioned in the book, which would you suggest they see?
Very difficult to answer. If you started in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, you could enjoy an awesome collection of art and architecture and meet many interesting people. From there, based on your interests and local conditions, you could travel to the various parts of Nepal and India described in my book.

Give us a few of the more interesting facts you uncovered while doing research for Himalayan Adventures.
Populations are exploding in all the areas I visited, even apparently in remote villages. Also, climate change is penetrating even the most remote and frigid areas.

While going through your stash of memories to write this book, what did you discover about your younger self or about what you learned on your journey?
In my youth I was intensely curious and energetic. Now my curiosity defers to my perceived knowledge and wisdom. I learned that when you want and can do such a trip, do it. Later, your physical problems, personal constraints, or local politics (including wars) where you might visit will block your trip.

Amazon categorizes the book as General Nepal Travel Guides, Travel Writing Reference, Travelogues & Travel Essays, as well as Mountaineering and Indian Travel. If you didn’t have the limitations of Amazon categories, how would you characterize the book?
This is the story of a young man’s journey to see and understand beauty in nature and other cultures.

Your writing has taken several forms – nonfiction books and articles, novels, memoir and biography, and poetry. Is there one form you’re drawn to the most when you write or read?
I much prefer reading nonfiction and historical novels, but I have enjoyed writing novels, memoirs, and nonfiction. Now I am drawn to poetry inspired by Wadsworth, T.S. Eliot, and others like them.

What can fiction writers learn from nonfiction writers?
Base your story on people and places you know. There’s still lots of room for imagination.

Is there something that always inspires you or triggers your creativity?
Writings by a great writer start my creative flow.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Your “golden years” (I’m 82) aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I can hardly walk, but I can still write!

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2023 New Releases for SWW Authors #2

Sue Boggio, Sara Frances, Larry Kilham, Mare Pearl, and Vicki Kay Turpen are dedicated authors who represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW). Their 2023 releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for new interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2024.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2023 releases is included at the end of this post.

Hungry Shoes: A Novel (University of New Mexico Press, September 2023) by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl. Maddie and Grace meet in an adolescent psychiatric unit after each has committed desperate self-injurious acts in response to years of abuse, neglect, and chaos. Together they navigate the surreal world of their fellow patients while staff provide nurturance and guidance to support their healing journeys. With the help of veteran psychiatrist Mary Swenson, Maddie and Grace come to terms with their pasts and discover the inner fortitude they need to create futures filled with empowerment and hope.

You’ll find Sue and Mare on their website at

Unplugged Voices: 125 Tales of Art and Life from Northern New Mexico, the Four Corners and the West (February 2023) is an illustrated four-color coffee table 324-page compendium of verbal narratives collected and edited by Sara Frances. Make a connection to 125 unique western personas, each in a five-minute read. Stories abound everywhere; but the threads of nature in and of The West, its independence, resilience, creativity, and beauty, weave together in unique revelation of life and land. Theses narratives are told as if the taleteller were sitting in front of you, across the kitchen table, around the campfire, on the front porch, or under the stars.

Look for Sara on her Amazon author pages here and here.

Himalayan Adventures: India & Nepal (March 2023) by Larry Kilham. This is a captivating account of the author’s adventures hiking and trekking in India and Nepal. The author was an international sales manager who lived for climbing mountains in exotic lands. His most treasured goal was the Himalayas. Northern India borders the Himalayas so a mountaineering trip included sightseeing in the classic Indian cultural centers of Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Khajuraho, and Varanasi. He experienced the splendor of human and architectural achievement of which the Taj Majal is only one. Kathmandu in Nepal has a limitless collection of Buddhist, Tantric, and Hindu art. His hiking and trekking excursions could be a to-do list for any newcomer to the area: Kashmir in the Indian Himalayas, and Pokhara and the Mt. Everest area in Nepal. He also describes other adventure stops on a round-the-world tour: Chitwan National Park in Nepal (home of the royal Bengal Tiger) and the mountains of Kauai in Hawaii.

Visit Larry on his website at

Opelika Opiate (Austin Macauley, June 2023) by Vicki Kay Turpen.

Opiate — to induce sleep; to stupefy; to hijack the brain and change its normal function.

Opelika, Alabama — where cars, men, and race collide to unhinge the life of a young woman. Piecing it back together will require figuring out the role she played, and who she really is — or wants to be.

You’ll find Opelika Opiate on Vicki’s Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2023 Releases

Marty Eberhardt
Bones in the Back Forty

William Fisher
The Price of the Sky: A Tale of Bandits, Bootleggers, and Barnstormers

Patricia Gable
The Right Choice

Cornelia Gamlem
The Decisive Manager: Get Results, Build Morale, and Be the Boss Your People Deserve

Joyce Hertzoff
Train to Nowhere Somewhere: Book 1 of the More Than Just Survival Series

Brian House
Reich Stop

T.E. MacArthur
The Skin Thief

Nick Pappas
Crosses of Iron: The Tragic Story of Dawson, New Mexico, and its Twin Mining Disasters

Marcia Rosen
Murder at the Zoo

Lynne Sebastian
One Last Cowboy Song

JR Seeger
The Enigma of Treason

Suzanne Stauffer
Fried Chicken Castañeda

Jodi Lea Stewart
The Gold Rose

Patricia Walkow
Life Lessons from the Color Yellow

R. Janet Walraven
LIAM: The Boy Who Saw the World Upside Down

Donald Willerton
Death in the Tallgrass

Linda Wilson
Waddles the Duck and
Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere

Author Updates: Larry Kilham & Edith Tarbescu

Larry Kilham and Edith Tarbescu are two examples of the prolific members of SouthWest Writers (SWW). They each write in a variety of genres with one in common: memoir. Both authors had new releases for 2022 and have one or more interviews posted on the SWW website.

Author Larry Kilham is a retired engineer and entrepreneur who has published science fiction novels, poetry chapbooks, memoirs, and other nonfiction books with topics ranging from creativity and invention to artificial intelligence and digital media. His most recent release is his 2022 memoir, Curiosity & Hope: Explorations for a Better World. You’ll find Larry on his website and blog, and on his Amazon author page. For more about his work, read his 2017, 2019, and 2021 SWW interviews.

When readers turn the last page of Curiosity & Hope, what would you like them to take away from it?
That they can find hope and reasons for curiosity in their world. That their spirit is indomitable.

How is the memoir structured? What was the inspiration for the title?
I wrote an outline of about 12 chapters that covered my childhood through the present and included school, college, jobs, travel, and high-tech start-ups. There could have been twice as many chapters, adventures, and episodes than I used. I tried to focus on my story arc, where each episode led on to the next.

The book title started from a project I’m working on at Santa Fe Prep called Curiosity. It is an elective program to stimulate kids to follow their curiosity. Then I thought, “Isn’t this the thread of my life? I will build my memoirs around my curiosity.” Of course, without hope, curiosity leads nowhere. So I added “Hope” to the title.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book that you’d like to share?
My father advised me, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be willing to work by trial and error. The life we live is made up of falls and recoveries. The falls educate us and the recoveries enrich us.”

What do you consider the most essential elements of a well-written memoir?
One, clearly explaining the historical context of the central character of the memoir. The inventors of my three memoirs were each focused on the resources and needs of their times. Two, explaining the family and societal support (or lack of them) that fostered the inventor’s personal development and propelled them into a productive and satisfying career. And three, finding universal themes or generalizations that any reader can relate to.

You wrote three memoirs in four years—The Perfectionist: Peter Kilham & the Birds (2018), Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (2020), and now Curiosity & Hope. How did you manage to pull that off?
Finding a common theme which really makes all three memoirs one story. In this case, the theme is about the whys and wherefores of three generations of inventors who developed useful things. In my grandfather’s case, his invention of oil burners for home and commercial heating; in my father’s case, the invention of very popular birdfeeders; and in my case, the invention of sensing instrumentation for the chemical industry and environmental sensing.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m thinking about a second edition or another version of my memoirs to develop some more general themes about where our society is going. I am writing a lot of poetry which has been well-received. And I am exploring various ways to bring my poetry to the public and to finding and perfecting my style. Some of the poets I use for models and inspiration are T.S. Eliot, William Wordsworth, Maya Angelou, and Pueblo Indians.

Author Edith Tarbescu has written essays, children’s books, plays, and a novel. In 2022, she added memoir to her list of publications with the release of Beyond Brooklyn (Adelaide Books). You’ll find Edith on her website at and on Facebook and LinkedIn. Read more about her writing in SWW’s 2021 interview, and look for Beyond Brooklyn on Amazon.

Why did you write your memoir, and who did you write it for?
I had been reading a lot of memoirs and thought it would be interesting to write one. I wrote it for myself and my two daughters. It was especially interesting to go back in time to my childhood in Brooklyn. I recently learned that Dr. Fauci lived in the same neighborhood as me while I was growing up. I also loved re-living my trip to Romania while it was still under Communist rule. We were followed by a Romanian James Bond who insisted we visit his office, a scary experience.

When you began the project that became Beyond Brooklyn, did you have a theme in mind or did that become obvious with time?
I thought fairly on that since I’m a playwright—I studied at the Yale School of Drama—I should include a few plays. I ended up including three short, humorous plays and a one-woman play titled Suffer Queen, all produced in New York and in regional theaters. One top New York agent, who didn’t take on my memoir because she didn’t think it would make enough money for her, called the writing “cheeky,” including the plays. I was flattered, but wished she had taken it on.

What was the expected, or unexpected, result of writing the book?
I realized I was divulging all my secrets and wondered how my friends, and/or family, would react to learning all the intimate details of my life, but that’s a memoir.

In memoir, does the author’s responsibility lie with the truth of the facts or with her perception about the past?
I think the author’s responsibility lies with telling the truth and let the facts speak for themselves. If an author doesn’t want to do that, or is unable to do that, he or she should probably turn the past into fiction and write a novel.

Of all your writing projects—essays, children’s books, plays, a novel, and now a memoir—which one was the most challenging, and which was the most enjoyable to write?
I enjoyed writing everything and they were all challenging. A couple of my children’s books required research. For the picture book Annushka’s Voyage, I did research at Ellis Island. For my book about the Crow Nation, I traveled to Montana and ended up meeting with several members of the tribe. That was especially interesting to me coming from Brooklyn, New York where I never learned about Native Americans or heard about the boarding schools they were forced to attend.

The plays were also enjoyable, especially when I ended up having staged readings or productions of a play. I had several plays performed in New York, in regional theaters, and one in Valdez, Alaska. It was exciting to work with various performers and directors.

My novel, a mystery titled One Will: Three Wives, takes place in New York and I was thrilled to spend time in Manhattan researching neighborhoods, restaurants, etc. I also visited the police station where my novel takes place, and a policeman took me around the building where I visited a squad room for the first time.

What are you working on now?
I’m revising a middle-grade novel titled The Amazing Adventures of Alison Badger for readers ages 8–12 years old. It’s a fantasy that takes place in the Dumbo Section of Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.) One agent loved it, but he wanted novels for boys. I’m not giving up. I’m very persistent. Luckily, I have that trait.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

Author Update 2021: Larry Kilham

Retired engineer and entrepreneur Larry Kilham is a novelist, poet, and nonfiction author based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His latest nonfiction release, Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (November 2020), is the biography of his grandfather who was the flight engineer on the first transatlantic flight in 1919. James Breese went on to develop 130 patents for home and military space heaters and built an oil burner business in Santa Fe with millions of dollars in sales. Lessons from Breese’s adventure-packed life will appeal to all readers, including aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. You’ll find Larry on his website and blog, on Facebook and Twitter, and on his Amazon author page. Read more about Larry’s work in his 2017 and 2019 SWW interviews.

What would you like readers to know about Destiny Strikes Twice?
Although Jim Breese was a great achiever in aviation and technology, he was challenged to find a lasting relationship with a woman. This deeply troubled him and led to some degree of self-doubt. With his last wife (whom he did love very much) and the sale of his business, he ultimately restored his sense of self-worth.

Why did you feel compelled to share your grandfather’s story?
The primary reason I wrote my grandfather’s story is that he was an important 20th-century industrial entrepreneur in Santa Fe who seemed to be slipping away into obscurity. I also hoped he would be an inspiring role model for current emerging entrepreneurs.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
One unique challenge was talking to family members about taboo events. One was my grandmother’s apparent suicide. Another was gathering enough evidence to convince a family member that their version of an event was wrong. For example, my grandfather landed his plane in Santa Fe because he was down to his last spoonful of gas. Years later he drove me to the spot where it really happened—not where and how family legend said it happened. There’s no airport there now.

Did you have any “Oh, wow!” moments while doing research for the book?
My “Oh, wow!” moment was to discover that without hesitation my grandfather decided to give up a successful and glamorous naval aviation career to become that most uncertain of pursuits, an inventor. I never found a rationalization of why he decided on this abrupt career change.

Tell us how the book came together.
The basic research and organization of files took about three months. Some of that was talking by phone and by email to historical societies, museums, and individuals who had special knowledge. That process was more tedious than normal because most places were essentially closed due to Covid-19. The writing took another three months—there’s only 127 pages—and my wife was the editor. Luckily, all the family photos had been digitized so they were easy to retrieve, review, and edit.

How did you choose the title?
Of course, I wanted an attention-grabbing title for an adventure story. I thought of all those early comic books and broadcasts of heroic adventures and recalled that many had “destiny” in their title such as Destiny Rides Again. For my grandfather, with his first transatlantic crossing and loads of lucrative patents, destiny struck twice.

What was the most rewarding aspect of writing Destiny Strikes Twice?
Reviewing all the boxes of family files, letters, news clippings and books forced me to put all the people and incidents together. Sweeping family history came alive, and I will certainly understand those reclusive relatives and other characters better.

You’ve authored 13 books among the genres of science fiction, memoir, and other nonfiction. Which of your books was the most challenging to write, and which one was the most enjoyable?
My science-based novel Free Will Odyssey was the most challenging to write, based on emerging science and events from my life, and it was fun to compose. Unfortunately, it was my worst seller. Ah, well.

You’re also a poet. Do you think writing poetry has helped you become a better writer overall?
Definitely. Poetry forces the discipline of the economy of words to make an engaging but succinct story.

What do you want to be known for as an author?
Honesty. I didn’t make anything up and in my novels, I tried to stick to what reasonably could have happened. I have revealed nature, technology, creativity and invention based on personal experience in ways that will make the greatest impact on readers.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’ve just released a new poetry collection called Dirt Road Poems (April 27, 2021). It’s available on Amazon along with my other books.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author Manfred Leuthard

Author Manfred Leuthard is a world traveler, born and raised in Switzerland, who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His experience with nuclear engineering and computer programming, as well as piloting a long list of aircraft, gave him a wealth of knowledge to pull from for his debut novel Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing (2020). You’ll find Manfred on his website at and on Facebook.

What is your elevator pitch for Broken Arrow?
This is the story of a case of blackmail, mostly seen through the eyes of the narrator and the principal protagonist Harry — a helicopter pilot — who ends up embroiled in the heist of a nuclear weapons component from Los Alamos National Laboratories.

What challenges did this work pose for you?
Writing in first person voice was a challenge, as well as dealing with sex tastefully in a romantic setting. Grammar and vocabulary were challenges, too, because English is my second (actually fifth) language. I also tried to stay away from too many “flying stories.”

How did the book come together?
I used to fly for Los Alamos Labs, so I got to know the operation a bit and that helped spark the story idea. I tried to write 500 words (or two pages) a day. Altogether, it look about two years to put together — 1 1/2 years for 60 percent of the book and three months for 40 percent (during the pandemic). I had the manuscript edited by a professional editor, found a great book cover on Fiverr, and released it through Amazon KDP publishing in July 2020.

What were the hardest kinds of scenes to write, and what were the easiest?
Humor and sarcasm came easy, as did writing the science. Writing from the antagonist’s (crook’s) viewpoint was difficult due to my lack of relevant experience. Conflict dialog was hard to write, and violence was tricky.

What settings are included in the book, and why did you choose them?
I included Northern New Mexico because I live there. I’ve traveled extensively in Mexico, so that setting made it into the book as well. Aviation and nuclear engineering, which I’ve both done for a living, factor into the story too.

Tell us a little about your main character.
Harry Scott Anderson is a 52-year-old cynic who hates being lonely. His best friend and sole companion is a German Shepherd named Zorro. Harry is tired of constantly chasing new customers and has essentially given up on romance — until he meets Erin. His observant and meticulous nature entangles him in a plot to sell stolen nuclear weapons components.

What makes this novel unique in the thriller market?
Broken Arrow has a complex plot with many twists, including blackmailing the government and letting the crooks succeed.

What was the most rewarding aspect of writing Broken Arrow?
Getting it out of the door and reading reviews chock full of adulation.

What is the best encouragement or advice you’ve received in your writing journey?
Find ONE person who believes in you. And find an editor who believes in you — even after having seen your prose.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

Author Update: Larry Kilham

Larry Kilham is an entrepreneur, retired engineer, and author of four novels, two memoirs, and five other nonfiction books. His most recent release, The Perfectionist: Peter Kilham and the Birds (2018), sheds light on designer, inventor, and visionary Peter Kilham (the author’s father). You’ll find Larry on, Facebook and Twitter, and his Amazon author page. For more about Larry’s work, read his 2017 SWW interview.

At its core, what is The Perfectionist about?
This book is about an artist and inventor who brought nature’s beauty and function to the public and did this with complete integrity.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
The story is told as my father and I growing up together. But the challenge was to convey his point of view rather than dwell on mine.

When did you know you wanted to write your father’s memoir? What prompted the push to begin the project?
When I realized that my father’s life story was more important than the subjects of my many other books and only I could adequately address it. Also, due to my advanced age, if I didn’t do it now it might never be done.

Tell us how the book came together.
After I pulled together several boxes of files, I recycled through this content many times until I found an accurate and logical outline of the story. With this done, it only took four months to write the 121 pages and a month to edit. For the cover design, I engaged a very talented book designer who had just gone freelance after working for a university press. She grabbed my notes and photos and I went on vacation.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book you’d like to share?
“Be guided by purpose, truth, and perfection, and the rewards will come.”

Was there anything surprising you discovered while doing research for this book?
Until I researched this story, I never realized how much his wife Dorothy understood him and his business and how much she helped him. My father never said much about her when we talked. That itself is another insight about him.

What was your favorite part of putting The Perfectionist together?
Looking at the old photos, newspaper clippings, and letters to bring back almost-lost memories and to see other people’s perceptions of Peter Kilham.

Which do you prefer: the creating, editing, or researching aspect of a writing project?
The creating and researching feed on each other and I enjoy both. I endure editing like, say, physical therapy.

What does a typical writing session look like for you? Do you have any writing rituals or something you absolutely need in order to write?
I write in the morning when my mind is fresh, and I read in the afternoon. I like long walks in the forest to recharge my mind.

Who are some of your favorite authors, and what do you admire most about their writing?
My list of favorite authors constantly changes. Right now it is Loren Eiseley, T.S. Eliot, and D.H. Lawrence. It’s kind of fun and educational to resurrect Alexander Pope.

What advice do you have for beginning or discouraged writers?
If you’re having trouble getting going, maybe you’re writing about the wrong thing. A story that you should write will make you blossom.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m intrigued with Native American poetry, especially Pueblo, and I am experimenting with integrating its thought and style into my poetry.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy has a new speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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