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Larry Brill | The Patterer


There is no time I can think of when I wasn't storytelling or writing in one form or another. Beginning on a Big Chief tablet, I proceeded to my high school's newspaper, then college, and then many years as a journalist.

One day I was reading Eric Burns' Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism, where he traces journalism back to Europe. In his book, Eric has one short paragraph that mentions the existence of these fellows called "patterers" who would stand on the street corner and deliver bits of news.

With my 25 years experience as a TV news anchor it was a simple leap for me to imagine a character and a storyline that took the concept to absurd extremes. Once I created Leeds Merriweather, the hero emerged and told the story himself. I just took dictation and published it.

My second novel, THE PATTERER (Black Tie Books, 10/1/13) is a humorous story that imagines what it would be like if a common street performer with uncommonly gifted pattering skills in 1765 London decided to create a "news performance" that anticipates today's TV newscasts. It's like Monte Python meets Charles Dickens.

The hero, Leeds Merriweather, wants to be taken seriously as a journalist but doesn't have the resources to publish his own newspaper. After a chance, drunken encounter with Ben Franklin, he's inspired to hire a zany cast of characters to create the news performance, becoming history's first celebrity newscaster.

The book is really my way of poking fun at the clichés of today's TV newscasts using a historical setting.

Since humor is the engine that drives my stories, I would reveal that I was once the official "Worst" writer in America. Every year the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest holds a tongue-in-cheek competition to intentionally write the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel. It's based on the opening line that Snoopy made famous "It was a dark and stormy night..." Bulwer-Lytton gets upwards of ten thousand entries each year and I won the contest more than a decade ago. So my goal as a writer now, with two novels out, is to reach the bestseller list and stake the claim that I went from worst to first.

Larry Brill spent 25 years as a TV news anchor and reporter, picking up numerous awards along the way. After leaving the business in 2000 to set up a video and marketing consulting business, Larry penned his first novel, LIVE AT FIVE, a gentle lampooning of the TV news business. His second novel THE PATTERER, carries the same theme back in time to explore how today's news clichés might play to an 18th century London theater audience.


In 1765 London, Leeds Merriweather is scratching out a living as a common street performer, a patterer, using his wit and storytelling skills to draw crowds and sell newspapers. Although he aspires to be a respected journalist and start his own publishing house, Leeds is relegated to pattering by his handsome face, strong voice and straight teeth.

Inspired by a drunken chance encounter with Benjamin Franklin, Leeds assembles a zany cast of characters to become history's first celebrity newscaster. But at the peak of his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, Leeds risks it all for the love of a conniving wench in this Dickensian comedy.

Comment to win a copy of THE PATTERER!




22 comments posted.

Re: Larry Brill | The Patterer

I love that you are poking fun at a mostly serious group of people. Sounds like a very fun read.
(Denise Boyd 4:16am October 7, 2013)

This sounds like a book I'd love to read!!! Thanks for the great giveaway!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 10:02am October 7, 2013)

the book sounds interesting sounds like a fun book to read
(Denise Smith 10:21am October 7, 2013)

Looks insightful...
(Richard Proctor 10:51am October 7, 2013)

Thanks for the chance to win this book! It sounds like
something I'd really enjoy reading!
(Maria Proctor 10:57am October 7, 2013)

Usually we get a woman's point of view for this time period. Sounds like a good read. Appreciate the giveaway.
(Leona Olson 11:40am October 7, 2013)

Look forward to reading this book.
(Sylvia Stern 2:42pm October 7, 2013)

A humorous English Lit book would be a perfect holiday present for my UK cousin! Thanks for the offering and good luck to you on your new release.
(Susan Coster 6:31pm October 7, 2013)

I enjoy reading Dickens and Monty Python has always been a favorite, so this book sounds like fun!
(Sandy Fielder 7:26pm October 7, 2013)

I love historicals so you had me at Ben Franklin and Dickensian. Sounds
like fun.
(Michelle Whitwam 8:03pm October 7, 2013)

Sounds like a fun read. Marketing has changed the way news anchors are presented today.
(Mary Chin 8:29pm October 7, 2013)

Great post! Humor is so wonderful and I thank you for the chance to win this one!
(Melanie Backus 9:01pm October 7, 2013)

I love ready satire parody of popular books and love watching comical satire parody of movies. Got to laugh. Thanks for the interview.
(Kai Wong 10:33pm October 7, 2013)

Wow, Congrats on your new book: THE PATTERER. I had never
heard of Patterers that give out news till now. Wow, you can
learn something new everyday. I would love to win and read
your book this Fall. Thank You very much. Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 11:21pm October 7, 2013)

What a wonderful idea for a story.
(Mary Preston 11:46pm October 7, 2013)

I enjoy books that are set in England, and I'm sure your latest book will be no exception. Having your background, should give you a slight advantage over some of the other Authors, and make for some interesting reading!! I'm also looking forward to reading your other book as well, since it sounds like it will give a little bit of insight, although tongue-in-cheek!! Best of luck with your career.
(Peggy Roberson 9:13am October 8, 2013)

I love the concept and it must have been the originator of today street newspaper vendors. Sounds like some character Terry Pratchett would work into a Discworld book!
(Clare O'Beara 9:30am October 8, 2013)

If The Patterer is even half as good as Live at Five it will
be a great, fun read. I'm looking forward to winning my copy!
(Pamela Baggett-Wallis 10:39am October 8, 2013)

Sounds like a good book.
(Charlotte Wills 11:54am October 8, 2013)

It's interesting that one short paragraph can end up the spark for a complete book.
(Mike Mosley 5:26pm October 8, 2013)

Sounds like a very entertaining book. :)
(Penny Mettert 12:19pm October 9, 2013)

Your characters sound like they do zany things and love
attention from a passing audience.
(Alyson Widen 6:00pm October 31, 2013)

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