A native of East Providence, RI—Ron McLarty is a veteran actor, accomplished playwright, prolific audiobook narrator and acclaimed novelist.
As a television actor, McLarty has over 100 appearances to his credit. He has been a series regular on SPENSER: FOR HIRE, CHAMPS, COP ROCK & THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES, in addition to the recurring role of Judge Wright on LAW & ORDER. His most recent appearances include RESCUE ME, SEX & THE CITY, THE PRACTISE, JUDGING AMY & LAW & ORDER: SVU as well as playing Fred Trump, Sr. in DONALD TRUMP: UNAUTHORIZED.
His career in film began in 1977 with a performance in THE SENTINEL and continued with such films as THE POSTMAN, INTO THE FIRE, HEARTBURN, TWO BITS and FLAMINGO KID among others. He was a 1984 nominee for an ACE Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic or Theatrical Program for the movie, TIGER TOWN. His most recent film role was in the James L. Brooks movie, HOW DO YOU KNOW?, playing opposite Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson.
As a stage actor, McLarty has appeared in numerous productions including starring on Broadway in MOONCHILDREN, CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON & OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD as well as several productions at the Public Theatre. As a playwright he has written dozens of plays, which have been produced across the country.
McLarty is also noted for his body of work as one of the country’s leading audio book narrators having done over 100 titles including the narration of books authored by Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Richard Russo, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, David Baldacci and Scott Turow, among many others.
It was his collaboration with Stephen King that led to his emergence as a published novelist of national repute. Beginning with the early years of his career, McLarty’s passion for writing led him to completing 10 novels, in addition to his plays but his efforts to interest a publishing house were unsuccessful. Several years ago he was able to persuade Recorded Books into producing his 3rd novel, THE MEMORY OF RUNNING, directly onto tape as an audio book. It is believed to be the first recorded audio book of an unpublished novel. Stephen King listened to it in 2002 and wrote his entire column “The Pop of King” about MEMORY calling it “the best book you can’t read”. This led to the publication of THE MEMORY OF RUNNING in the USA and sixteen other countries around the world. In January 2007 his second novel, TRAVELER was published here in the UK (TRAVELLER) as well as in Spain, France & Germany. His 3rd novel, ART IN AMERICA was published in July 2008 to critical acclaim. His 4th novel, THE DROPPER, is to be published in April 2012 by Cemetery Dance Publications. THE MEMORY OF RUNNING was chosen as the 2007 selection for the Reading Across Rhode Island program and nominated for Italy’s most prestigious literary award, the Bancarella Prize.
He has received from Rhode Island College in Providence an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities (2007) and the Charles B. Willard Achievement Award (2005). Ron is married to the actress, Kate Skinner.
The Interview with Ron McLarty
Welcome its an honor to chat with you today. Please tell me which authors and stories have inspired you most to take pen to paper and write?
I think initially Hemingway for his clear, concise prose though I have grown less fond of his writing these days due to his misogyny. I have always admired Somerset Maugham and later in life have found Willa Cather’s writing very inspiring.
Where do you get ideas for your stories from?
Not sure where my stories come from–mostly thin air. THE MEMORY OF RUNNING started as a poem about my parents and ended up being about a fat guy riding across the country on his bike then it became a play and finally morphed into the novel.
When you think of writing a story do you start with first the plot or characters?
Always character first and they also run the plot!
What was the first short story you wrote?
I think it was in grade school and then I found out I had copied it from a movie I’d seen on TV–though too stupid to realize it!
I have heard your voice before on audio-book narrations but did not know of your writing until I received an email of the forthcoming release of The Dropper from Cemetery Dance Publications. The Dropper is a memorable story and really you have created character’s that shine, are any of them taken from real life people you have known?
“Shoe” Horn is loosely based on my mother’s father, who emigrated from Barrow-in-Furness as a young man, was a plumber’s apprentice and did have a younger brother who was mentally handicapped that he never saw again. I only found out about this when my grandfather was in his 90’s in a home and he would talk about “Bobby” as though he were alive. However the story of THE DROPPER is fiction with those facts as the starting point.
In the past Stephen king spoke of your novel Memory of Running not having a book deal did that help?
Stephen King was a life saver in so many ways. His recognition of THE MEMORY OF RUNNING was so unexpected and beyond my imagination that something like could happen. While I had a few friends who gamely read my opuses every time I finished one–I couldn’t get a rise out of the publishing world in any way. In fact, when this all happened I had all but completely given up the idea of being published at all. When I met my wife, Kate, in 2003–she asked to read one of my novels (in manuscript) and then read several of them. She convinced me to try again and and so I had started making a few inquiries. Even when the article in Entertainment Weekly came out, Kate and I thought I might get a nice little paperback out of it. My publishing deal got me out of debt and gave me the tremendous satisfaction of holding one of my published novels. However I know that much of what happened to me was pure luck–there but for the grace of Stephen King go I.
Writers have found it very hard in getting their novel published by big publishing houses. Do you think self-publishing is maybe a better root with the emergence of ebooks now?
Kate and I were on the verge of seeing about self publishing THE DROPPER when once again Stephen King came to the rescue by putting me in touch with Rich Chizmer at Cemetery Dance Publications. I think the eBook phenomenon will be helpful to many authors but publishing a book and getting readers is still a great deal of work and not necessarily something that everyone is capable of or can do well. Certainly younger authors who are technologically savvy will benefit from the advent of eBooks.
Will The Dropper got to press with any other publishers other than Cemetery Dance Publications?
We are losing libraries in the U.S.A and U.K, how important are they and what can be done to save the libraries?
Libraries are important and it is up to the communities to value them and support them. And for the libraries to stay up to date with what the community needs.
Imagine there was a zombie outbreak and you could take with you to a safe island a few books what would they be?
Probably the series of history books by Will and Ariel Durant and the short stories of Somerset Maugham.
Name me your favorite villain and Hero characters.
Bishop Lamy is a hero and Kit Carson a villain in DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather–one of my favorite books. All the main characters in THE GREAT GATSBY have a little bit of both in them!
You are a multi-talented guy I had no idea you were an actor. When you look back at your career what has been the highlight of it?
The highlight was being published and getting invited to other countries to promote THE MEMORY OF RUNNING. Acting (ironically) was my fall back position which I was planning on doing only until I became a Famous Author! I suppose working with Bob Urich on SPENCER: FOR HIRE because he was such a great person and doing COP ROCK because it was such a wild ride and I got to sing songs by Randy Newman! And doing CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON in London at the Royal Court.
Is there to be anymore novels in the future?
Working on two novels right now and have one completed but no publisher yet.
Will there be any possible adaptations to t.v or film?
THE MEMORY OF RUNNING is still in development with a director and actor as an independent feature. Would like to do ART IN AMERICA as a series on TV but have to write it first! Have had interest in TRAVELER but nothing has come to fruition.
You are a great man and this has been a joyous and memorable time having you for a chat many thanks from me and the readers.
Please visit Ron McLarty’s website www.ronmclarty.com, read his wonderful books and catch him on your t.v screen.
Order his Newly Published story The Dropper. @ www.cemeterydance.com Also in hardback and audio book purchase via
““Ron McLarty, who has proven himself a terrific storyteller in such books as The Memory of Running and Traveler, has outdone himself with The Dropper, a story where beauty and brutality mingle in a yarn I just couldn’t put down. This book is filled with rich pleasures and textures — it reminded me of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. As in his previous novels, The Dropper avoids sentimentality, but not sentiment; Shoe and his brother Bobby live and breathe. I highly recommend it.” — Stephen King
Read what Stephen King wrote in his Entertainment Weekly column in 2007 titled Listen up The best book you can’t read. No, ”The Memory of Running” isn’t in print, but you can still hear it. By Stephen King Feb 01, 2007