Every month we'll highlight a reader in the Great Lakes Bay region and learn more about them, their work, and their reading life. We'll also discuss books and share a conversation about their journey.
Larry Preston has had a successful career in trust banking and as a community supporter of various events and organizations. While I know he is proud of these accomplishments, the smile on his face shows how thrilled he is with the completion of his first novel.
Read on to learn about Larry's journey to being an author and what's next on his list.
I asked Larry a laundry list of questions. He responded with this story of his journey. Enjoy!
I’ve always enjoyed reading. I remember one of my favorite Christmas gifts as a kid was several John Steinbeck paperbacks. When I was 18, I sold my car and traveled by myself to Europe. I wanted to find stories for my first novel.
It took me 50 years to finish my first book! During those 50 years, I practiced law (tax planning), was the CEO of Tri-Star Trust, a private bank for high-net-worth clients, and became CEO of TempleArts, which operates the Temple Theatre and Saginaw Art Museum. In the meantime, my wife, Maija, and I have been married for 33 years and have three successful children.
Forged Fates is the story of an art conservationist who works at smaller art museums, stealing their most valuable art and replacing the paintings with forged works. His greed pulls him and his friends into a vortex of vengeance, murder, and lust. The story begins in Saginaw and continues to Midland, Bay City, Detroit, New York City, and Istanbul.
I became interested in art conservation and forgery during my time at MSU. My girlfriend was studying to become an art conservationist, so I became fascinated with art conservation, theft, and forgery. I think people in the Great Lakes Bay Region will find Forged Fates particularly interesting as they’ll identify places in all three communities and murders in Saginaw and Midland.
People ask me if the characters in my book represent people I know. Only one person in my book is based on someone, and only about 75% of that character is like the person I know (and admire). All other characters are fictional, although I used flakes of others’ personalities, traits, and behaviors in developing some of the individuals in Forged Fates.
I’m naturally a “learner,” and writing a novel provides many learning opportunities. I knew nothing of writing a novel and wrote and rewrote the book at least three or four times. My good friend Paul Chaffee and publisher, Robin Moyer, were incredibly helpful in shaping the book into something I hoped people would enjoy reading.
There are also hours of research behind the storyline as I tried to build a factual foundation. I learned about publishing, marketing, and selling a book, all things I knew nothing about when I started.
Something I enjoyed most was thinking about the characters and developing them. These people came alive in my mind, and it was fun to have them go about their lives, write what they were thinking, and talking to each other about.
I took so much pleasure in writing Forged Fates that I’m about 75% of the way through its sequel, The Bougeaureau Obsession. The story again begins in Saginaw but travels to Birmingham and Waterford, Michigan, New York City, Marina Del Rey, California, and Sophia, Bulgaria.
Larry and his wife Maija flank their children (l to r) - son, Alec, daughter, Lija, and son, Garrett.
I’m fortunate to be retired, so I have time to write. However, I keep busy traveling with my wife (we live in California in the winter to be close to our two sons), working at the Temple Theatre, and volunteering for the LPGA women’s golf event in Midland.
My good friend, Mark Flegenhiemer, recently asked me to spearhead a project to paint murals on the grain solos on Niagara Street, Saginaw. This mammoth project will cover 80,000 square feet and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.When complete, it will be the largest mural in Michigan!
Larry's novel Forged Fates are available at the Leopard Print Books store or at www.larryprestonauthor.com.