Sunday, 22 March 2015

Men in Horror: PATRICK FREIVALD

Patrick Freivald does a lot of volunteer work for the Horror Writers Association. Those of you not a part of this organization should really consider joining if for nothing else, the great networkig opportunities that can happen with the virtual or real world, and not to mention the wonderful people involved that do most of the work behind the scenes for no pay.

I read JADE SKY and found it intersting. It was a blend of horror and science fiction which can work so well if done correctly. I enjoyed the book and it was well written. It was a wee bit more SCI-FI for me, but then I am a plain horror girl. It has been short listed for a Stoker award, which is a tremendous accomplishment. 

Patrick is well spoken, offers his opinion when warranted and does not suffer fools, a trait I can admire. He offers challenging opinions and still mananges to play well with others in the sandbox....most of the time.

1.     When did you start writing horror?

At conception. On paper, I wrote a variety of things through high school and college, but much of that energy was poured into roleplaying games, many of which had a dark, twisted edge. The idea to write for publication came from my twin brother, Phil, and the first book I ever wrote (but not the first published) is a thriller, BLOOD LIST, that we co-wrote. An awesome experience, by the way.

2.   Have you written in any other genre?

TWICE SHY and SPECIAL DEAD are marketed as YA horror, but I've always considered them satire for adults. It surprised me when they were taken seriously, but I'm now used to different people getting very different reads out of the same stories.

BLOOD LIST is a thriller, and while some pretty horrific things happen, it's not horror. JADE SKY is a true crossover, a horror/thriller/sci-fi military mashup that I'm quite proud of.

3.  What makes you uncomfortable?

New shoes.

4.  Does your family read your work?

Many of them do. I'm the second-youngest of eight brothers and two sisters, most of whom have read my work, and my mom is a voracious reader. My brothers Phil, Mark, and Jake are fantastic beta readers. (Well, Jake used to be. He has ten kids, so we can pretend to forgive his lack of attention to what's important to me. Maybe.)

5.  Does your writing make you uneasy?

Nothing makes me uneasy. I'm very honest about who and what I am, and anyone who doesn't like that can go find something else to occupy their time.

6.  Who would you say you write like?

I'd like to say that I characterize like Stephen King, write dialogue like Elmore Leonard, write action like Dan Abnett/Jonathan Maberry/Weston Ochse and suspense like Preston and Child, and endings like Cormac McCarthy. I may also be psychotically delusional.

My writing style is pretty terseboth in information provided and in word economy. I pride myself in saying more with less and letting the reader fill in the details with their imaginations (which they're going to do anyway no matter who you are.)

7.  Who are your favourite authors?

Devil woman, who can answer that question? Not I, not I. There are countless authors I enjoy, and countless others I've put down and will not try again.

8.  Who influences you as a writer?

Everyone, for better or for worse. Some of my literary heroes I've already mentioned: Leonard, King, Abnett, Maberry, Ochse, Preston, Child, McCarthy. Add to that Straub, McCammon, McKinney, Wilson, Chambers, Lovecraft, Poe, Faulkner, Twain, and countless others.

9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
10.  How old were you?

I read The Stand when I was nine-ish, and IT not too long after. F. Paul Wilson's SOFT AND OTHER STORIES came out in 1990I was fourteen, and that same year my mom bought me the unabridged and uncut THE STAND. These stick out the most as my "firsts," but there were others in-between, certainly.

11.  Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

No. I don't write shock for its own sake, and I find that in postapocalyptic fiction in particular rape is far too overused for shock value (which doesn't work because of that overuse), but nothing is off the table when I'm writing if it serves the narrative.

I find that horror writers often mistake grotesque behavior (rape, child abuse, cannibalism) for horror in its own right, and I won't use them just to shock. But if it fits, I'll use it.

12.  What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

Be positive, don't engage in drama.

13.  If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I would have started twenty years earlier.

14.  How many books do you read a year?

I aim for fifty. Sometimes I double that, sometimes it's half, depending on the year. Add to that somewhere between dozens and hundreds of short stories.

15.  Do you write every day?

No. I'm a beekeeper and the coach of a competition robotics team, and both activities preclude the possibility of writing every day. (Due to the FIRST Robotics build season I don't write much of anything in January and February, because I'm working 16+ hours a day six to seven days a week.) I write if and when I feel like it, because it's fun. Even so, my schedule keeps me on pace for two novels and a half-dozen short stories a year, so I'm happy with it.

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