A North Dakota native’s work is now being featured nationwide. KX News spoke with the author whose book ‘Let Him Go’ hit the big screen last month.
Author Larry Watson says he never thought the book would sell to the movies. But ‘Let Him Go’, a suspense thriller starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, is a popular movie in the country right now.
Born in Rugby, North Dakota and raised in the Capital City, Watson began writing at what was then Bismarck Junior college in the 1960s. He says, “I was writing terrible poems but I just really loved writing them. It reminded me of childhood play and I decided that I wanted to make writing an important part of my life.”
Watson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of North Dakota and a Ph.D. from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Utah. While he was there, he sold his first novel in 1980 and his second 13 years later.
Watson says, “Having your work published is wonderful. And it’s a way to sort of close the circle on a writing project. But the real satisfaction comes from the writing itself.”
Since then, Watson has written at least 10 more books. One of them, ‘Let Him Go’, was published in 2013. Two years later, it caught the attention of writer and director Thomas Bezucha. It was then crafted for the big screen.
Watson says, “I felt as though after that conversation that the book was mine, but the movie was his.
So when I watch the movie now, I don’t look at it with any sense of ownership or anything like that. I just watch it as a fan, somebody who likes good movies and it is.”
‘Let Him Go’ is a fictional western story that takes you on a journey of loss, suspense, and determination traveling through the badlands to Gladstone, North Dakota. He and his wife even got to be in a scene.
Watson explains, “We probably sat in that restaurant for four hours for a scene that maybe takes a couple minutes.”
His advice for any North Dakotan looking to make it big: “You have to be willing to put yourself out there. I think it helps to be lucky. But I think if you don’t put yourself out there you’re not going to get lucky.”