My Books

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It was only meant to be a few hours of fun.
A lark. On a sunny Saturday morning Lola, Kyle and Maria set sail on Puget Sound to look for a vision that had come to Maria in a dream. Then disaster struck, and the three of them were plunged into a dark adventure in which they would confront good and evil, past lives, and a timeless curse born from a tragic love. What are the hidden secrets of Bridge House and Riesgado Island? Part Gothic romance, part supernatural mystery and part fantastical adventure, The Curse of Septimus Bridge is Scott R. Larson’s homage to the horror and adventure stories of his youth, notably the 1960s television series Dark Shadows. In this new book, the author of The Three Towers of Afranor takes us on an adventure that ranges from 17th-century Ireland to the Pacific Northwest of today. At the heart of it all is the mysterious figure who lives out his endless, solitary days, having been rejected by both heaven and hell.

“This is a sequel to Larson’s earlier novel, ‘Maximilian and Carlotta are Dead’, which was set mostly in Mexico as a buddy adventure and introduced the character of Dallas Green, a young man with wanderlust from a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. ‘Lautaro’s Spear’ takes us on further romantic and political adventures to France, Germany, and Chile, and deeper into Dallas’ psyche which we find to be darker and more complex than in the first novel. An engrossing read by a first class storyteller, it leaves you wanting more.”

“Totally enjoyed the characters lost souls that they are. Life is not always what we would like.”

Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on

A legendary reclusive filmmaker. An enigmatic cook and restaurant proprietor, who is clearly more than he seems. Two mysterious deliveries to be made behind the Iron Curtain. A desperate search for a long-missing old friend. An unexpected love affair on the coast of Normandy. Dallas Green’s life has only gotten more interesting since his wild youthful adventures recounted in Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead.
“I loved this book. It is a rollicking fantasy—youth must pass increasingly difficult tests to attain wisdom and perhaps, just perhaps, win the girl! A pure joy to read. And such a great metaphor for life!”

“It was a great read for young adults as well as adults. Can’t wait for the sequel.”

“A fantasy novel with magic and heart. It’s a quick read that is set up for a sequel. A great story about growing up and learning what you are capable of and it’s clean so it can be recommended to all ages!”

Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on

What secrets do the three towers hold? For years travelers have avoided the mysterious kingdom of Afranor, but necessity now requires three brothers—the valiant fighting princes of Alinvayl—to pass through Afranor’s dark, forbidding expanse. Not all will survive the journey, but one may succeed in finding his destiny.

“I loved this book! Once I started I couldn’t put it down… What an adventurous way to come-of-age in a place in time that no longer exists. Truly a great read!”

“Larson really captures the sense of a particular time and place. His details of clothes, music, cars, speech, etc. all ring true. Also, the first-person narrator’s voice is pitch-perfect…”

“Scott Larson does a magnificent job of taking his readers on a southern trip with the three young heroes.”

“What a wild and crazy adventure! … The characters were all very well developed; I especially loved Antonio, the star and the hero. Looking forward to the sequel.”

Excerpts from Readers’ Reviews on

It is Summer 1971. With the Vietnam War raging and the draft looming, 18-year-old Dallas and Lonnie look for an escape. Fleeing their hot and dusty farming town in Lonnie’s ’65 Chevy, they head to Mexico. In one last misguided adventure, two lifelong friends blaze a trail to Tijuana and beyond, just to see how much trouble they can get it into.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Grapes of Minor Irritation

When I first announced the publication of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead on my movie website, I made a point of issuing a trio of apologies to my friends in various geographical locations.

While the apologies were mostly tongue in cheek, there was an element of sincerity in all of them. And, in fact, it occurs to me that they could all do with a bit of elaboration. So with this post I hereby kick off the official Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead apology tour.

To my friends in and from California: I apologize for the characters’ bad attitude toward the place where they live.

I actually did agonize over the fear that the book would make the southern San Joaquin Valley sound like a very grim place to live. After all, a lot of people there are still trying to get over the impression left by John Steinbeck when he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. My home town got mentioned in that book twice. There is a famous photo, taken in 1939, of three men ceremonially burning a copy of The Grapes of Wrath in downtown Bakersfield. Two of the men are farmers from my local area.

Growing up, I remember hearing whispers about Steinbeck’s book and how it was “banned.” But the fact was that I had no trouble whatsoever finding a copy in the school library and checking it out and reading it. The book was never banned. Those three men in the photo (the third was an actual migrant farmworker) were burning a single copy as a protest. It was not an attempt to destroy every copy and to make the book unavailable for curious readers. But the act of burning a book carries unfortunate sinister resonances, and so it probably did not help the case they were trying to make—that farmers were victims of character assassination.

As a reader, I appreciated Steinbeck’s literary prowess and even his socio-political passion but, as someone who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, I did not recognize the picture he painted of the region. In particular, Tom Joad’s climactic speech (immortalized in John Ford’s 1940 film adaptation by Henry Fonda: “wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there”) was stirring but I never saw any connection between it and where I grew up. I had definitely heard stories of tough times during the migrations of the Depression and the Dust Bowl era, but much more often than not those stories ended with people’s lives improving and even prospering. Between farming and oil drilling, a lot of people—at all levels of the economic ladder—made a lot of money in the years following the migrant influx.

In writing my own novel, I was very conscious of Kern County’s place in literary history, and I made a point of referring to it by having my narrator, Dallas Green, recall that his own parents and grandparents had migrated to California and now were doing so well that they had left the field work to newer migrants from Mexico.

Dallas complains a lot about where he lives but not so much because it is truly a terrible place but because he is a teenager. He does go on a lot about how hot it is in the summer, and that is definitely true. It is very hot there in the summer. And in those days a lot of us lived in homes that didn’t have adequate cooling. But, leaving the climate aside, there were a lot of good people. And I hope that comes through in my book—even though Dallas doesn’t particularly dwell on it.

What really doesn’t get reflected by the book—and, in fairness, it was meant to be a work of literature and not a chamber of commerce brochure—is the diversity of the area. Dallas and Lonnie are from a sort of redneck subset of the population, but my community also had people from all over the rest of America. My mother grew up as part of a German-speaking community of Mennonites. There was a well-established Mexican-American community that had lived in the area since the days of the Mexican Revolution. Other towns had their Italian-American community or their Armenian-American community or their African-American community. Out in the country there were families of Basque sheepherders.

Even though it has been many decades since I lived in the San Joaquin Valley, I have never ceased to think that it was a very good place to be from. In fact, the next Speaker of the House of Representatives could quite likely be from there as well. Kevin McCarthy started a business in Bakersfield at the age of 18 with the winnings from a lottery ticket he bought while visiting San Diego. As he recounted in a speech in February, “True story. $5,000 was the most money you could win. But if you put yourself back in 1984, you’re 18 years old, you just won $5,000 and you’re 10 minutes away from Tijuana, where would you end up?”

Sounds to me like Representative McCarthy just missed his chance to be the next generation’s Dallas Green.