This weeks featured author is Frederick H. Crook, and his newest release is ...
I'd like to introduce you to Frederick, and what better way than to have him answer some fun and informative questions!
Author: Frederick H. Crook
Your latest/current work: Campanelli: Siege of the Nighthunter
- Tell us about your Latest Book/Book about to be released? Release Date? And can you give us a teaser?
This latest installment of the Campanelli dystopian crime thrillers was released March 29th. A serial killing cannibal arrives in Chicago and the blind detective, Frank Campanelli and his partner have to track him down. The media begins calling the killer the Nighthunter, and what little nightlife is left in the city shuts down in fear.
2. What other books/short stories have you written?
I self-published my first two novels, “The Dregs of Exodus” and “The Pirates of Exodus”. I followed those up with the novellas, “Runt Pulse”, “Lunar Troll”, “The Fortress of Albion” and the first story featuring Frank Campanelli, “Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair”. Solstice picked up the sequel to that, “Campanelli: Sentinel”, and the next two works, the novella, “Minuteman Merlin” and the novel, “Of Knight & Devil”. By the way, a publisher by the name of Line by Lion has picked up my second book, “The Pirates of Exodus”, so look for that re-release later this year or early 2017.
3. Are they available in e-book, print, or both?
The novels are in either print or ebook form. The self-published novellas and “Minuteman Merlin” are ebook only.
4. Where can readers find your books?
I can be found at my website or Amazon Author Page. The novels can also be found at B&N.
6. What do you think are the biggest challenges for the type of writing that you do?
I think it’s visualizing a post-“Great Exodus” world. In that futuristic setting, every civilization has gone through a mass movement of reclamation of metals to build starships for the trip to the colony planet called, Alethea. For instance, the Chicago of Frank Campanelli’s reality has no Willis Tower, no John Hancock, or any structure taller than 40 stories. Worldwide, many buildings are deconstructed for their metals and re-purposed.
7. How did you get started in writing?
I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve been doing it on and off since I was in school. I was the annoying kid that always had his creative writing projects read in front of the class, either by the teacher or in person. One day, when I was 39, I decided that I would not be completely happy unless my name appeared on the front of a novel, so I wrote one. I’ve been writing in that dystopian world ever since, up until the current work-in-progress, that is.
8. Where and How can readers get in touch with you?
My email is listed on my website, but it’s here: Frederick_crook@att.net
9. So with your latest work released/or being released, what comes next? What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m almost finished with the paranormal historical fiction novel, “The Summer of ‘47”. It’s something that’s really out of my comfort zone, but I think that it’s going to be really special.
10. How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Well, as with any author, personality comes through. I think, in my case, there’s more of myself in the sense of style than in the personality of any one character. With the characters, I have absolute freedom to make them act and do whatever I need to. In real life, I’m reeeeeaaally dull.
11. Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I like to write during the day and start as soon as I can. I do tend to get more productive in the afternoon when the distractions of everything else settle down.
12. What is your routine once you start writing a book?
I don’t start writing a book unless it’s worked out in my head. That is, I need to have a clear situation, setting, and characters in mind to begin with. Then, the conclusion needs to be clear. Mentally sketching the ‘route’ the story takes, that is, the meat of the plot and major events have to be thought out. It’s sort of like building a railroad. I need to know where it starts, where it’s supposed to end up, and the route to join the two must be clear.
13. What about you in general? What is it that makes you tick? Makes you you? Things you like to do and what prompted you into writing?
Well, I’m a long time video gamer. I mean from all the way back to the good old 1980’s. Pretty much like the kids of today, I was parked in front of the television, playing my games with headphones on. I think it’s the sophistication of the media that’s changed. Like most teenagers, though, I took refuge in the music of the day, the games, and books, of course. Like I said, I’m pretty dull…on the outside.
14. Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite Hero or Heroine?
I like Frank Campanelli, that’s for sure. He’s loosely based on Frank Sinatra’s characterizations of the police detectives he played in the films, “The Detective” and “The First Deadly Sin”. He’s tough, reserved, and straightforward, thought, like Sinatra himself, he has a temper and a tendency to snap.
15. What kind of research do you when writing one of your works?
Oh my. That’s huge. The biggest thing I like to make sure I get right is the geography. For that, I depend on Google Earth. With the exception of the first novel, which takes place far enough into the future that road signs are no longer relevant, or in existence, for that matter, I pay a lot of attention to that. In most works, the actual street names are used, especially the settings in Chicago, and I utilize the street view quite a bit. For the items of technology, like the bio-electronic implants, they’re just slight advancements based on real technology and the inventions that are in the works. The next progression of the cell phone will be implants. Main processors, memory banks, low-power-high-frequency transmitters, audio receptors, ocular lenses, all of that which are featured in my books and used by many of my characters are likely in our future. Additionally, the weapons I feature are just slightly advanced, though most are still traditional firearms. Lastly, the ‘hyper-ion drive’ idea is an extension of a real NASA development, the ion drive. I simply augmented their capability to use them in my work, like any sci-fi writer should. Overall, I must have a thousand hours in research alone.
16. Do you ever ask friends/family for advice or ideas to go into your works?
No. I have enough people in my head trying to get attention. Outside influences would be disastrous to my sanity.
17. Have you ever experienced Writer's Block? If so how did you work through it?
Not at all. The day that happens, I’ll have to hang it up. LOL! Don’t hold me to that. :D Actually, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’m generally two books ahead of the one I’m actually typing out.
18. Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and the like. I’ve recently become reacquainted with Edgar Allan Poe in my research for “The Summer of ‘47”. The main character in my story has a small collection of books that he has acquired from one mental hospital to the next. I plan on throwing in a couple of Poe quotes and perhaps one of H.P. Lovecraft’s in the final draft.
19. Anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
Yes. Support your local authors! They are most likely indie or small press and need, not only your monetary support, but your reviews. If every local fan I’ve sold a book to would leave a review, it would be wonderful! Alas, ‘tis not to be.
20. Lastly do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
When all else fails, screw the establishment and do it yourself! When my first novel was done, I sent out a huge number of queries to publishers and never heard back from most of them. The publishing industry had evolved into this strange, bloated, exclusive club over the past century or so. They each seem to have created their own set of rules for submission, throwing away tons of worthy works because the author didn’t conform to standards that they dreamed up to screen out a lot of books. There’s also some that tell you that you may not get an answer from them for two years! (To them, I say: “Come off your high horse and hire some staff, cheapskates!”) Well, look what’s happened. Small press like my beloved Solstice Publishing came into existence, recognizing the fact that many worthy authors deserve to be published. Write your book, get a good editor, (I also freelance when I’m not writing or editing for Solstice. I’m a huge advocate for the indie author), get a good cover artist, and put out a good, quality product. There are a lot of self-published authors that have cut a lot of corners, and you have to do it better to get attention. Give your book EVERY chance and think quality.