Richard Russo laughs a lot and likes to make people laugh. But he hopes he isn’t becoming one of those professional comedians or satirical novelists who encounter so much humor they end up depressed and suicidal by the end of their lives. Thankfully, at age 67, he says he is not quite there yet.

In fact, Mr. Russo just published his ninth novel, Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to his 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool.

Part of the reason Mr. Russo won’t ever get to such an exhausted point is that he bases his characters on people he truly likes, ones he has encountered in his everyday life. Everybody’s Fool follows a similar pattern. As with most of his works, the novel takes place in North Bath, a small town in upstate New York, similar to his childhood hometown of Gloversville.

On Thursday, July 28, Mr. Russo will discuss his new novel at the Chilmark Community Center as part of the Author Lecture Series. Mr. Russo has a long history with the Vineyard, visiting as a boy on vacation with his parents, and then later renting a home on Katama with his wife every September. In fact, he is reasonably sure the Island will play a large role in his next book.

Although Mr. Russo’s novels include characters he has encountered and interactions he has observed during his life, he freely admits he lies about a lot of it. It’s a skill he inherited from his father. Plus, he is a fiction writer.

“I am incapable of telling the truth of any sort,” Mr. Russo said during a phone call during his daily walk along the bike paths in Portland, Me. “That’s a gift from my old man, he was an astonishing bullshitter. I come from a long line of bullshitters.”

After he finishes a novel, Mr. Russo usually lays his characters to rest. However, he decided to resurrect his cast of characters in Nobody’s Fool when his “writer pal” Howard Frank Mosher asked what was going on with Sully and Rub, the charmingly idiotic duo in that book. Mr. Russo thought for a second and remembered a story that he had heard about a drunk man who got trapped in a tree. He told the story as if it were Rub in the tree and Sully reprimanding him for his stupidity.

“I told Howard the story as if it were real,” Mr. Russo said. “I had so much fun telling the story.”

The exchange was just after the death of Paul Newman, who played Sully in the 1994 film. Sully’s character was also based on Mr. Russo’s father, who had also recently died. The actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died in 2014, played Officer Raymer. Pursuing the story was another chance for Mr. Russo to interact with those three men.

“I got to spend that time with those people,” said Mr. Russo.

In Nobody’s Fool, Donald Sullivan, “Sully” is a war veteran, stubbornly happy even though he is divorced and dealing with a bad knee. Though not the main character anymore, Sully reappears in Everybody’s Fool, 10 years older and with heart failure.

Although his father is the basis for the character, it was Mr. Russo’s mother who gave him the foundation to become a writer, passing down her love of books.

“She made it really clear that reading was how you rewarded yourself at the end of the day,” he said of his mother. “It was really her, and then it was my father who gave me something to write about. You really had to be on your toes around him. He wasn’t an educated man, but he had a great eye and a great ear. He had a great zest.”

Officer Douglas Raymer replaces Sully in Everybody’s Fool as the main protagonist. Obsessed with the identity of his dead wife’s secret lover, he is insecure, confused and gaining a lot of weight. Mr. Russo said he switched the focus away from Sully because of his limiting health problems, and his desire to give Raymer’s character more attention. He firmly believes that there is no such thing as an unimportant life.

“I’ve also always loved when authors take a minor character and make it a major character in the next book,” he said. “Raymer’s every bit as rich and fun and mysterious as everybody else.”

“My biggest pet peeve is how there are only books about cities and people having big fascinating lives,” he added, explaining his dedication to down-and-out towns, and down-and-out people. “Every writer stakes out a kind of territory. This is the territory I’ve staked out.” Mr. Russo said he continues to enjoy observing the world that most people miss. He notices odd gazes in passing someone on the street and listens for scraps of conversation in coffee shops. “I still keep my eyes open to people doing timeless things,” he said. “But as much as I’m looking at what’s happening right now, looking backward becomes more fascinating. I’m really thinking about what happened 25 or 30 years ago.”

However, he is by no means averse to change. Mr. Russo says his children and grandchildren help him stay young.

“The world is a wonderfully entertaining place,” he said.

Mr. Russo will discuss his new book as part of the Martha’s Vineyard Author Lecture Series on Thursday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center. He will be interviewed by Amor Towles. Tickets are available at