Larry Baker


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Larry Baker’s wife recently retired, and the writer, who earned a doctorate in English from the University of Iowa, now needs a new writing routine. After many years of writing six hours a day, five days a week, nine months of the year while he had the house to himself, he now finds himself overly distracted.

That said, he isn’t at a loss for ideas. As the longtime Iowa City resident explains in this On the Fly interview recorded in 2014, he’s never battled writer’s block. “I don’t lack for ideas or inspiration,” he says. “It’s just a matter of opportunity.”

Baker discusses his influences—including Flannery O’Connor and Harry Chapin—and his interest “in creating really good female characters.” While he says that he is often asked about his ability to write from a woman’s perspective, he argues, “What a writer is supposed to do is get into the mind of all sorts of characters.”

He suggests that writers should be careful about claiming too much for their work. “I don’t think you can say I’m going to write brilliantly or spiritually or be profoundly insightful,” he says. “You just see what happens.”

Baker is the author of The Flamingo Rises, Athens, American (which is set in a fictionalized Iowa City), A Good Man, Love and Other Delusions, and The Education of Nancy Adams. The most recent novel was published in 2014, and physical copies are only available from physical bookstores and Baker’s publisher, Iowa’s Ice Cube Press.