Let There Be Linda by Rich Leder is a black comic thriller that tells the tall tale of estranged brothers Mike and Dan Miller (Available July 1, 2016).
Estranged brothers Mike and Dan Miller—accountant and con-man talent agent respectively—are up to their necks in the virtual quicksand of LA's San Fernando Valley during the hottest summer in Southern California history. The root cause of their problems could be the missing seventy-five thousand dollars, or the sadistic, loan shark dwarf and his vicious giant, or the psycho comedian cop on the case, or the coke-snorting dentist, or the deranged zombie real estate developer. Or perhaps it’s the poodle—the poodle is suspect, no doubt. Or maybe it's the grocery store checker who breathes life into death.
Oh yes, it could be her too.
And so to repair the head-on collision the Millers have made of their personal and professional lives, the brothers summon their mother back from the dead to clean up the wreckage. But what the Miller men discover is that screwing with the laws of nature is a violent, bloody, hysterical, and hilarious idea.
First Look Sneak Peak
“I’m Danny Miller,” he said, taking the chair next to her, “President of Miller Talent Agency.” There was a bamboo reception desk, a wicker loveseat, the two chairs, the big mirror, and a fan that made a dying animal noise. There was no receptionist.
She was sitting, but Danny thought she might be five foot five or so. She had straight-as-string brown hair that was pulled back in a tight ponytail. Her skin was smooth and clear and white, as if she never went out into the Southern California sunshine. She wore zero makeup. No gloss, no eye shadow, no blush. She wore thick black glasses. She was thin, he thought, but he couldn’t really tell what was happening under her blousy blue shirt and gray Catholic-school skirt. She wore knee socks and sensible shoes. She had brown eyes that made him think of coffee. She was younger than him, late twenties. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. She was unadorned in every regard. It was as if she were trying not to be here—or anywhere—trying to be unnoticed by any and all. There was no guessing what kind of talent she thought she had.
“I’m Jenny Stone,” she said in soft voice void of confidence, a voice that in and of itself was trying to be unnoticed. “What do you do, Jenny Stone?” Danny said, putting his hand out.
She shook his hand and said, “I bring dead people back to life.”
Q&A with Author Rich Leder
Why did you make the transition from screenwriting to novel writing?
After 25 years of telling stories in the strictly regimented format of screenwriting, I had the strong desire to work a deeper, wider canvas. In a script, the writer can only access the thoughts of the characters with action or dialogue. In a novel, the writer can explore the mind and heart and soul of the characters at his/her leisure—discuss the characters’ actual thoughts and feelings. Budget is a non-issue with a novel but a big concern with a movie. Sheer number of characters can be problematic in a script but not in a book (so long as the characters are meaningfully created). Number of locations, page count, and other considerations a movie must make are non-existent in the world of a novel.
I wanted to experience writing without regimentation.
Describe Let There Be Linda in two words. Try two sentences.
I can do six words: black comic thriller of the year. And, I can do five words: silly, bloody, violent, hilarious fun. And, I can do five words again: Monty Python meets Quentin Tarantino. And, finally, I can do two words: wild ride.
Where did Let There Be Linda come from? Who and what were the inspirations?
Left field? Shadows in the wood? Breeze in the meadow? Dark side of the moon? I have no real idea where Linda came from. It was, I suppose, that indescribable moment of creative human magic. But, I know who inspired the spirit of the thing: Monty Python and Quentin Tarantino.
What type of readers would love this book?
Readers who like dark comedy. Readers who like thrillers. Readers who like wild rides. Readers who like to laugh out loud.
Are you done writing films? If so, what does the future hold for Rich Leder and Laugh Riot Press?
It feels like I’m done writing screenplays on spec. If I’m hired to write, then I’ll write one. But, if I’m just going to sit down and write a story, I’m going to write a novel from this point in my life onward. That’s what it feels like.
Why should people read your books?
To experience characters they’ll never meet in real life that are so real they’ll think they’ve met them in their real life after all. To laugh out loud. To be thrilled. To be transported to another place. To laugh out loud. Did I mention that one?
What do you want readers to know about you before they start reading you?
I love to write, and I love to make readers laugh. I love to tell fantastic stories—hilarious mysteries and dark comic thrillers—and I care enough about my characters to make them real people readers will fall for.
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Rich Leder has been a working writer for more than two decades. His screen credits include 18 produced television films for CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Paramount Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films.
He has written four funny novels: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication; McCall & Company: Swollen Identity; Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench; and Let There Be Linda.
He founded Laugh Riot Press as an imprint for his funny books and the funny books of other indie authors.
He has been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a PTA board member, a commercial real estate agent, and a visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, was grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of their three children.