Published in September 2021, Hello, Rest of My Life, is a novel by Rick Lenz. It is a dazzling novel about second chances and the choices that create a meaningful life. This romantic journey through time is loosely based on the author’s real-life Hollywood career and love story with his wife and 40-year sweetheart, who changed his life with each encounter through the decades.
Rick is a graduate of the University of Michigan, past member of the Actor’s Studio, and active member in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is a veteran Broadway, television and film actor who first came to national attention when he repeated his Broadway role in Cactus Flower, in the film version—opposite Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. He went on to appear in a long list of television series and movies, and to act opposite many of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars—Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne (in Wayne’s final film, The Shootist), and many more. He is also a playwright and author (The award-winning The Alexandrite and more recently, Impersonators Anonymous). His memoir, North of Hollywood has recently been published in its second edition.
An Interview with Rick Lenz
- You had an excellent career as an actor. What made you want to make the shift to focus on writing?
When my high-school football career ended due to a more than averagely breakable body, the only other way I could see to draw girls’ attention was acting in school plays, which led to summer stock, which led to a theatre major at University of Michigan. However I’d always loved writing too. When acting roles became less rewarding (I was no longer trying to please anyone but Linda and myself), it was a natural transition to move to writing. I’d written plays all my life. But what I read was mostly novels. So, I wrote a memoir of my acting career and my life to that point and then moved on to writing novels. When you’re writing, no one ever says, “faster, louder,” etc. I’d shifted from one creative passion to another.
- This book is based on your relationship with your wife, Linda. How has your relationship shaped you and this book?
There is not a day of my life that I don’t find my mind coming to rest on the subject of my incredible good fortune in having found and spending the last half of my life with Linda. A line from the book (Danny about Samantha): “A smart friend of mine said, ‘Why don’t you join a church group or something, meet a girl that way?’ I thought he was crazy and tossed that idea out, but the drift of his advice floated around in my mind and I understood what he meant. He thought as I looked for someone to be with … for life that I should do it not only on the basis of physical attraction, but also that it might be a good idea if she was–what a concept–a nice person.”
- Was there any particular moment in the book that you pulled directly from your own life?
Many moments are similar to moments in my life. Some parts of Danny’s and Samantha’s conversations were lifted from my real life with Linda. Many aspects of Danny’s acting career in the early seventies coincide with my own history.
- The book takes place in two different time periods. Did you do any research to make sure you were portraying things authentically?
I can answer this briefly. My research of the periods in the story consists of having a pretty good memory and living through both “eras.” Yow.
- If you could travel back in time and have a do over on one aspect of your life, would you do it and what would it be?
From where I am now, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. But if I could travel back in time, unaware of a future with Linda, I would do my best to practice love and kindness, much sooner. I would try to do all those things and behave in the ways that coincide with “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
We hope you enjoy this book as much as we do!