Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Author Interview: Emerson Freedman

Hello fellow readers!

Today I'm happy to be welcoming Emerson Freedman, author of Killer App to Melissa's Midnight Musings.

Emerson Freedman is an author, poet, and blogger who currently earns a living making sure computers don’t make too much of a mess when they fall over, which is a lot harder than it sounds. He is currently living in a cozy flat (apartment) in a pretty little suburb of London with his daughter, fiancĂ©, two dogs, two cats, five fish, a half dozen spiders, and a rampant imagination. He is hoping you enjoy reading this book enough to give the next one a go when it comes out. Oh, and you can follow him on his mostly-poetry blog,  www.darkerzeus.com.

Killer App

Publisher: Lulu
Published: November 5, 2012
Pages: 380
Buy the Book: Amazon
When Jacob is hired to find lost property, his instinct screams that something stinks. Finn and Victoria bicker while trying to stop a terrorist cell from slaughtering thousands. Ben is being chased across the country by remorseless killers, trying to reach a safe haven that haunts his dreams. As the clock ticks down to midnight, hunters and hunted race to work out what is real in a world where even your own memory cannot be trusted.

Author Interview:

Please tell us a little about yourself.  Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?

I don’t know about any unusual talents or hobbies.  I can type quite fast which makes writing a breeze, but plays hell with my wrists – I’ve already got RSI in my right wrist and I’m only 37.  Maybe my ability to write poetry at the drop of a hat, ever since I was about 6, may be a talent.  I post some of my poetry and other random thoughts to my blog, www.darkerzeus.com.  Aside from writing and reading, the rest of my life is filled with the normal rhythm of home and family, friends, pets, work, travel, and the occasional crisis just to spice things up.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer and a fireman for as long as I can remember.  I work in IT and write in my spare time, so I consider that a fair trade off.  I can remember standing in a library with my mother, staring up at all the rows of books and looking on jealously at all of the people absorbing what was in those books.  When I was in five years old, I used to sit next to the sand box and drawing pictures and writing down the story before folding the paper over into a little book.  I remember the amazing feeling of writing, ‘The End’ at the end of my first ever book – I think it was about knights and castles, and a fair maiden, and possibly a dragon.  I have been writing poetry and making books ever since then, with my first ever published work being a children’s rhyming poetry book called ‘Little Bear Fred and his New Circus Bed’ (www.littlebearfred.com).  I guess I never really wanted to be a writer.  I have always just been a writer.  There is no ‘want’ in it.  It is a massive part of what makes me, me.

Where did the inspiration for Killer App come from?

I had a nightmare when staying at my father’s home in Italy, where I was huddled up on the street, hiding from some nightmare killer.  People walking by saw me and winked, as if they were in on some massive secret, trying to make me feel safe.  The moment I was up I sat down and wrote the first twenty pages in one long stream.  That was over five years ago.  Since then I have probably written 1300 pages of text, with the outcome a 384 page book.  The story rolled as I went, the characters taking over and eventually pulling me along in a mad rush of words and ideas, plotlines and experiences.  The ending was hard for me, because I had to say goodbye to these characters that had lived in my head and heart for over five years.  It was like losing a group of close friends.

What made you choose to write a book of this type?

I had to.  That is what it boils down to.  I don’t have a choice about being a writer.  And I don’t have a choice about what comes into my mind to write down.  I can pick and choose which idea I run with, but if it is a strong emotion, if there is a stream to jump in and follow, then I will go with it, and the strongest current wins.  If you fight it, you drown in words, impossible situations, dead ends.  So I go with the flow.  Why did this type of book choose to be written?  Maybe because I had the right characters inside of me, formed and ready to roll.  Maybe it was a past experience or a combination of experiences merging into this story.  Whatever the reason, the writer in me wanted it done and published, out there for the world to see.  The next book came almost immediately after I decided consciously that I was actually finished – I woke up the next morning with the next idea pouring itself down my arm and out of my fingertips as I typed madly into my computer in my half-dark bedroom.  Then I put that idea down, and started something else I wanted to try – a story that I have been playing with in my mind for a while, which I am now about halfway through with, but which is so raw and ‘in your face’ that I’ll probably publish under a pseudonym, if for no other reason than to protect my credibility as a child book writer (because I have many more of those, and young adult novels, and mysteries, and love stories, and thrillers, and period pieces, and and and to write).  If I sat down tomorrow and started writing full time every day of the week for the rest of my life, I would not have enough time to pen every story I have thought of already, let alone all of the ideas that will appear in my head before I pass on to the writer’s Valhalla.

Who is your favourite author?

Today, Kurt Vonnegut.  Tomorrow, Haruki Murakami.  Next Thursday, Joseph Heller.  The 22nd June, who knows?  Authors fit moods, touch places that no other artist can touch, those deep dark personal places that need our imagination to feed them.  If an author touches me there, makes me feel, then they have won my admiration and trust, and even love if they are artful enough with it.

Do you have a writing routine?  A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?

At the moment, my writing routine consists of taking my coat off, unpacking my laptop, throwing my coat and laptop bag in the overhead compartment, and sitting down to perch my laptop on my knees for 20 minutes of decent writing time, before saving my files and shutting down and grabbing my stuff in a rush to leave the train before the doors close.  I haven’t yet left my bag and coat behind, but it’s bound to happen sometime.  Hopefully someone feels pity on my shivering self clutching a sad grey laptop, and brings my bag and coat back.  Hopefully, but I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

Do you enjoy edits / rewrites, or not?

Originally, I didn’t enjoy rewriting.  I saw it as an onerous task that required way too much time, and meant that I had to re-read and re-write the same passage over and over again, regurgitating the story and chewing it over like a cow chews its cud until I was ready to vomit all over it, stick it in the bottom drawer, and lock it away forever.  But then something happened.  I realised that when I was rewriting, I was making my writing better, more clear, more precise, more impactful.  My characters came to life even more as I honed down their activities, their thoughts, what they had to say.

Do you do a lot of external research in the process of writing?  If so, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve uncovered in your research?

My research so far has been story driven.  There is a segment in Killer App where one of the characters needs to understand probability mathematics, which I don’t know.  I didn’t want to bore the reader by explaining the premise, yet I wanted to illustrate the character’s knowledge in as short a conversation as possible, while helping the plot along.  The challenge of learning a subject I didn’t know, translating it into simple-enough English, and delivering the gist of the subject in a few sentences in the middle of a conversation without losing pace, context, or interest, was truly enjoyable.  I hope my readers enjoy it!

Which character was your favourite to write and why?

Finn.  He has attitude, self-deprecating humour, humility, desire, clumsiness, arrogance, a raging libido, and an imagination that is totally out of control.  He is also goofy, clumsy, dorky, and totally adorable, kind of like me! J  Writing him was like being me on paper.

How do you come up with your character names?

The character names arrive fully formed with the characters.  The name fits the character, and only once have I actually changed the name of a main character.  Luckily it worked out – as happens in real life when we meet people who ‘look’ like a certain name so much so that we cannot shake it, so do characters usually befit a name, and if changed their name no longer fits.

Please tell us a little about your journey to publication…

Five years, a half dozen complete redrafts, the melding of one character into another, a quick tweak of the storyline, aligning the time with the present instead of past tense, and finally the few days’ learning curve of figuring out how to create a decent formatted ebook, trusting in the designer to create the perfect cover art and page layout, then working through the days of frustration trying to get the format just right for the various e-tailers, building up my own microsite, building a twitter audience, trying to get honest feedback from people who care enough to be worried about being brutally honest, or feedback at all from anyone else interested enough to read a brand new author who isn’t writing about vampires, werewolves, love stories, superheroes or policemen hunting down criminals, and finally hitting the calm that is now, where some books sell, and some don’t, where the next book is germinating, percolating underneath the surface of the one I write now, realising that it doesn’t matter if I don’t have an agent or publisher yet, that will come if I want it bad enough, if I push it, or even better if I can build my own audience so they come knocking on my door.  And still the dream of super-writer-stardom, the bestseller lists, the million copies sold, the thousands of reviews, five stars and otherwise, all in the future, hopefully nearer than far, but still there, tantalisingly out of reach like the horizon, a whisper on the wind of what could be.  Still I am here, not waiting but doing, working, pushing, hoping, dreaming, writing.  For that is all I can do.  And hoping.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

All of the above and more.  What is the hardest?  Probably being driven to write all the time, wanting to spend every waking hour head down in a book, reading, writing, rewriting, and splitting this time with the rest of life.  No wonder so many famous writers became recluses or loners, wrapping themselves up in their own worlds.  Or those that ‘went crazy,’ folding up in on themselves because it was better than losing the constant rush of creation.  We are all ‘small gods’ creating our own worlds inside our heads, hoping to find a few followers to take up the cry and tell everyone else that our writing is good, great, worth reading.  That’s all probably the hardest, and yet somehow the best, most tantalising part of being a writer.

That and writer’s block, the demon that waits hunched under our pillow, ready to steal away our ideas, mute our creativity, and make us feel less than whole.

Are there any common themes that you feel are particularly important to write about?

The didactic hypocrisy of labelling that is ‘terrorism,’ the importance of love and family, the fact that we are all human, no matter where we come from or what we end up embroiled in.

When you’re not writing, what are your other hobbies / passions?

Relaxing with my family, going to the park, petting my cats and dogs, watching movies, eating pizza, popcorn, chocolate, cooking, baking, running, laughing, being alive.

Are you working on any new projects?

Yes.  My brain never stops.  I am currently about half way through the rough draft of an adult thriller which may end up under a pseudonym due to the adult material.  It’s raw.

I’m always coming up with new stories to write – there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day or enough days in the week to write everything that is in my head.  I’ve got twenty books started which I haven’t finished, because life got in the way over the past couple of decades.  I’ve got a couple dozen more ideas sketched out on paper, and in the last few months I’ve outlined three books, including the sequel to Killer App, and put them to one side to focus on the project I am currently writing.

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi?  Coke

Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Both

Hard copy or e-book?  Hard copy

Favourite book?  Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Last book you read?  The Quantum Thief

What’s a quote that inspires you?  “Always in there pitchin’ and sometimes bitchin’” – Dr Emerson Day

What’s your favourite comfort food?  Pizza, peanut butter, and chocolate

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