Please join me on an interview with Glenn Langohr, author of Underdog. Glenn talks about his life, where he started and where he is now.
Underdog was interesting read and I'm glad to have read it. I will be doing a review of Underdog as well.
Read along and enjoy!
Glenn Langohr Interview
Tell us about you.
I’m a child of God who is saved by grace.
You have had some tough times, but have managed to persevere. Do you think without those experiences you would have still become an author?
I don’t think so. As a kid I was all about daydreaming about baseball, riding bikes and even flying. I have ADHD. I ran away from a broken home at 12 years old and got into hustling pot pretty early. At 17 I was living in a pot smuggler’s garage sleeping next to trash cans full of weed from Mexico. I saw an immediate opportunity to capitalize and went to the border of Mexico to find an even bigger smuggler to become my live-ins dealer. It was just weed, right? Well within a year I put together over $20,000 in cash and found a two-bedroom house to rent on the beach. The O.C. Narcotic task force interrupted my flow and took my brother and me to jail. My brother was 16 and I was 18. They kept my brother in juvenile hall and let me out as an adult to take the case to court. Minus my wad of cash, I faced a 5-day notice to vacate our new house.
Lost and alone, I met a speed dealer across the street at my new live in house. For the first time I tried the drug and it seemed like the answer to my ADHD. I could see things so clearly. At the time, I saw how to make my money back before my jail time. I went above my new speed dealer friend to his connection who cooked some of the best speed in San Bernardino. I did make the money back, but the Narcotic Task force seized it again and it was prison time.
I was stuck for 10 more years of chasing money and sitting in prison. At one point I started a limo business I named “Prestigious Transport”, bought a condo and held a waiter job at an Italian Restaurant, but gave in to my addictions after 9/11 knocked my business to the curb. Prestigious Transport turned into Ghetto Transport quick. Sitting in a cell again, broken completely, I cried out to God for forgiveness. He filled me up with purpose and I started writing my first novel Roll Call.
What first prompted you to write a book?
I had to make sense of my life and find purpose.
What has the reaction been like from those who have read your book so far? Have friends and family been supportive?
I had Kirkus Discoveries Nielson Media review my novel Roll Call and they said,
“A harrowing, down-and-dirty depiction--sometimes reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's Traffic--of America's war on drugs, by former dealer and California artist Langohr. Locked up for a decade on drugs charges and immersed in both philosophical tomes and modern pulp thrillers, Langohr penned Roll Call. A vivid, clamorous account of the war on drugs.”
My wife’s father is John South from American Media and he told me to focus on the prison stuff so I wrote a series of novellas about prison life: Race Riot, Lock Up Diaries, Gladiator, Underdog and Prison Riot. Underdog is the one you reviewed and gave me the opportunity to speak at UC Irvine to 100 Students as a guest Lecturer about prison conditions and solitary confinement.
My family has also been great.
What is your writing process like? Do you follow a rigid schedule or is it more relaxed?
As mentioned, I have ADHD and I don’t medicate. I have to block everything out. In prison I woke up at 4 a.m. to write to get it started before survival took over most of the concentration. I’ve been out of prison for almost 5 years and I still do the same thing.
There are some colorful characters in your writing, are they based on real people?
Yes. I paint with the true colors of life and at times construct a fictional landscape by changing names and places in prison to protect the innocent and the not so innocent. At other times it’s pure reality.
What have you learned about marketing/publishing since the release of your first book?
It takes a lot of visibility. Interviews, book reviews, speaking opportunities, book signings, press releases and more, and they all have to be blasted through social media sites worldwide. It’s fun but time consuming.
At one point as I was getting the hang of it, I went to far and it consumed me and I’m pretty sure I turned into a spammer! At that point I stopped marketing completely and went on a writing spree with the mentality that newer and better books would do my marketing for me.
What advice would you give others who have faced adversity but want to put it behind them?
To make what you have been through turn into a blessing. No matter what you have been through, don’t let the resentments hold you in it. Find a way to bless others because of what you’ve been through. If you have been raped, help other people who have been raped. If you have been abandoned, beaten and abused, help others in that position. If you were addicted to something, help others get out of addiction. Go to church and sing praises. Pray without ceasing.
What are your plans for the future? Any other books on the horizon?
I’m always writing now and I love it. After the ninth prison book, Caught In The Crossfire: Life in Lockdown, I decided to write, Powerful Prayers of Gratitude. I have played around with other books and now put all of them in audio book myself. Narrating your own writing is a very good way to improve.
I’m ready to go finish the Life in Lockdown series.
Tell us a bit about your goal with your books and what you feel people should be aware of.
My selfish goals with my prison books are to get them adapted into movies or a TV series. On a less selfish note I want to open the eyes of the public that this drug war is only breeding a bigger problem by locking up so many low level drug offenders, where in prison, that addiction is bred into an affliction much harder to escape. In California the prisons are so overcrowded that it’s a violent, gang-breeding machine. I’ve seen soccer moms lose their sons to a drug addiction and watched their sons get blasted with ink to fit in and come home skin heads. It’s the same thing with all the other races.
Any additional things you would like to say as well as links/promo items you would like to have included.
Thanks for the review of Underdog and for confirming that my book covers didn’t fit the redemptive, human side to my writing. I have changed them.
Glenn Langohr’s audio books for a free sample: http://amzn.to/10qom6H
Glenn Langohr’s complete list on Amazon in the U.S. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00571NY5A
In the U.K. http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00571NY5A