Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Larry TeBockhorst never thought he would become a published author.
TeBockhorst, who is from rural Washington County, was at the Kalona Public Library Saturday promoting his first book, “Undermined in Laredo.”
“I was trying to figure out what I could be good at,” said TeBockhorst, who works full time for the University of Iowa. “I’m not very good at fixing things or anything like that. I tried some real estate. I had some rental properties. That was fine, and I made a little money, but it wasn’t fulfilling.
“I just kept searching and finding out what my niche might be.”
Story ideas began to come to mind, so he decided he should write them down the old-fashioned way — with pen on paper.
“One thing led to another, and a story came to mind,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated with crime thrillers.”
He said he was inspired by TV shows like Blue Bloods, FBI, Chicago PD and SWAT.
For TeBockhorst, writing is a way to make a bad day better.
“Writing came to be a way to get your mind refocused on things,” he said. “Writing this book has been really fulfilling.”
As he worked on his book, he kept his project a secret to most people over the four years it took him to write and publish the book. He said only about 10 people, including his wife and children, knew he was writing a book.
“It was hard keeping it from my family and friends, because whenever we would have a get-together, someone would ask, ‘What’s going on?’” he said. “I wanted this to be a surprise.”
The story is about a high school graduate, Anna, who heads to the Rio Grande region of Texas to nanny for the Falcone family, clueless about what she is getting into.
“Skipping college, she leaves behind an All-American Iowa family for a year, excited to take care of the Falcone children,” TeBockhorst said. “Instead, she discovers she might have made the biggest mistake of her life, becoming woven into a criminal network.”
When he was getting close to finishing the book, TeBockhorst began to look into how to get it published.
“I began to research traditional publishers,” he said. “I checked a lot out, but I wasn’t getting very far. I finally found a company in Indiana that I thought I would give a try.
“Before I signed a contract with them, I learned about self-publishing.”
After doing some more research, he decided to take the self-publishing route.
“Publishing with a company, you really kind of sign yourself over,” he said. “They take control of the rights of the book. I wanted to keep control of my own work.”
He published through Amazon, and the book was officially published in November 2020.
Amazon offers the book in both electronic and physical format. It also is available electronically through Barnes & Noble.
TeBockhorst said that, while self-published authors maintain control of their work, it is not a way to make quick money.
“It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing,” he said. “I make about $1 per book, and I’ve sold less than 1,000 copies.
“With the editor and everything I paid to work on the marketing stuff, I’ve got about $6,000 into it.”
With COVID-19 restrictions easing, he plans to soon make a trip to Laredo, Texas, the setting for the book, to broaden his audience.
“I would like to meet with the mayor of Laredo to promote the book,” TeBockhorst said.
He has hopes that his book will end up in the hands of some influential Iowans.
“Ultimately, it would be nice if my book got in the hands of someone like Ashton Kutcher or Tom Arnold,” TeBockhorst said. “Maybe, they’ll say, ‘Let’s do something with this.’”