Today I am proud to introduce author Glenn Langohr. He has written a quite compelling series of books that are based on his own experiences. Glenn is an amazing guy, and I am happy to welcome him and offer some space to discuss his work.
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 and 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.
What first prompted you to write a book?
I had to make sense of my life and find purpose.
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 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 U.C. 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.
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
My websites http://www.audiobookprisonstories.com
And here is my amended review of Glenn’s book “Underdog”
I find this a difficult book to review–at least for me personally–let me preface this with the reasons why. I want this review to be fair and honest so I would like everyone who reads this to understand my position.
This is not my genre, nor is it my standard reading material. I tend to review literary fiction, genre fiction, non-fiction historical, and classics. I teach English Literature. I am not familiar with the writing style of this author or the subject matter at hand, and I lived in Crescent City, California so I may have a bit of a preexisting opinion of the City and Pelican Bay from that. I will do my best to offer an impartial review regardless.
Glenn Langohr has written a gritty book filled with truth about the side of prison life that we don’t see from the outside. He writes from a position of authority, having lived what he writes about first hand. This makes his writing very honest, but also difficult for me to judge by my usual standards. I can’t say that this was the most refined writing I have ever read, but the honest truth is–it didn’t matter.
The tale this author weaves begins in a way I hadn’t expected, and I wasn’t sure what to think. The first chapter fumbled a little in my opinion, as though he was trying to find his legs beneath him. After that, the book really took off and it was impossible to put down after that. The story he tells of how inmates are treated at Pelican Bay was difficult for me to reconcile as I do know what a boost to the economy the prison brought to one of Northern California’s most desperate cities. I do believe his story, and I feel for those who have had to live through the things he spoke of, but sometimes it is hard to accept reality–especially when you are used to seeing the other side of the coin.
What I liked about this book the most, and what I felt earned this book the four stars I gave it, was Glenn’s ability to retain the reader’s interest. He may not have attended a fancy university to hone his craft of writing, but there is such a human element to his words and his ability to connect with you as you read his story on a personal level made this the kind of book you want to keep reading and tell your friends about. His message at the end of the story is both compassionate and detailed, which added a lot to this book in my opinion.
This review is based on a digital copy from the author. My opinions are my own.