My guest today is a young author who has been both scaring his readers spitless with his horror novels and wowwing them with the more tender and romantic aspects of the same works. I am a well known light-weight when it comes to horror so I have to read his books through my fingers but I still enjoy them immensely.
I’m also delighted to welcome him to my blog to celebrate, and promote, the impending release of his new Memoirs of Human Wraiths book, Still Waters.
Thanks, Frederick Feely for joining me here today. If you are sitting comfortably I will begin.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
Well, I don’t have a traditional day job, no. I have sort of taken on the house duties while my husband is at work. Cooking cleaning etc. But when I am in writing mode that can last for months on end, so the other stuff gets done….but not exactly in an orderly fashion. Being married is hard work!
When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?
I love listening to music and hanging out with my friends when we managed to get time together. As far as writing about that time, not really. I mean, my friends personalities are fodder for writing- something they have probably guessed- but that’s as far as that goes.
In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?
The situation comes first. The ‘what if’ moment that suddenly brings about this line up of events in my head. And then I sit down and hopefully make it make sense.
Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
It’s based solely on an emotion first and foremost and I write the person around the situation or the feeling.
Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake?
I love to write horror, I am not unopposed to writing in other genres if it ever came around to it. But horror is what I stick with.
Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?
I like a villain I can sympathize with on a very basic level. I want you to understand their motivations. Why they do the things they do. For instance, in Stephen King’s Carrie, I cheered for her. All the way through and it really messed with your head to do so. It really trips your head when you have bad vs worse.
What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
I am thinking about trying to extract the main character of The Phantom of the Opera, into a modern setting. Or at least, have a character like his – in the present day.
Could we please have an excerpt of something?
Certainly. Here is an excerpt of Still Waters.
She loathed Adam. Loathed what Adam meant to him, who they’d been, what they were. Bret felt the anger rise like bile in him, but he just shook his head as Kaiser nudged at his hand, feeling the tension in the room.
“Well, I’m sure he’ll turn up just fine,” she said. “Your father will be home in a few days. You may want to get a head start finding campus housing. I mean, the fall is coming quickly, and it’ll take your mind off your friend.”
“Fiancé,” Bret replied.
“Excuse me?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Fiancé, Mother. I am not leaving behind someone I love because—”
“Please, don’t try to dignify what the both of you do as love.”
“Oh, right. Because that’s what you and Dad have? Tell me, when Dad had his affair with—what was her name… Jessica?—was that love as well?” Bret fired back with a smile on his lips. His mother’s lips puckered, and he watched as her fury grew.
“You little son of a bitch, how dare you—” she said, growing furious, but Bret put up a hand.
“Tell the truth? Look, let’s just keep from jumping on the merry-go-round of knives, shall we? Stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours. Deal?” he asked.
“Fine. But I will be telling your father when he gets back,” she sniffed, putting her hands on her hips and then dropping them in outrage as Bret suddenly burst into laughter.
“Oh no,” he said, grabbing his heart. “Oh, please don’t tell Daddy. What will I do with his disapproval?”
“Oh, you don’t care much about his approval, I know. Your father cheated on me because he couldn’t handle having a gay son. It disgusted him,” she said venomously.
The statement would have hurt him if he hadn’t turned her off a long time ago. He still wanted to slap her. But instead, he decided he’d hit another way.
“Mother, your husband cheated on you because when we moved here, his wife became Queen Ice Bitch of Promise Lake. That, and Jessica was twenty-three. So don’t put your Stepford bullshit on me,” he fired back.
She took an angry step forward, and Kaiser let out a menacing growl that caused her to hesitate. However, the look of fury on her face was replaced with one of stone calm, something that scared Bret even more than their heated war of words.
She was beginning another “how dare you” statement, which had become common since her discovery of Bret’s sexuality, when Kaiser let out a series of very loud barks that caused them both to jump. The reflection of two lights across the kitchen wall caused Bret to turn as a car pulled into the driveway.
“Kaiser, come on,” he said, snapping his fingers.
The dog turned from the window and looked at Bret before wagging his tail and following him on his way to the stairs that led up to his room.
“Where are you going?” his mother demanded, and Bret turned and was about to respond when a car door slammed and a voice tore through the night—and right into his heart.
“Bret! Bret!” The voice sobbed and broke the second time.
The tortured sound hit him like a truck. His heart skipped, and the truth he was yet to discover, the hand fate had held, was shown for the first time. Bret’s mouth went dry as his throat constricted, and he swore if he were to try to step forward, he would fall flat, but with another shout of “Bret!” he ran forward. He knew the voice, and Kaiser was hot on his heels while his mother complained about the racket they were causing.
Bret hit the door, his heart lodged in his throat and his knees trembling. Kaiser rushed between his legs to the person standing in the light of the car. Bret’s view was obscured as the beams from the headlights stole his night vision, but Kaiser knew the newcomer and got out of their way as they came into focus.
It was Timmy, Adam’s older brother, and the look on his face screamed through Bret’s body like electricity as realization dawned horribly in his mind. The cards were being laid out on the table.
“No.” Bret sobbed, shook his head, and brought his hand up to his mouth. As if shaking his head would somehow slay the dragon, he reached out for Timmy as his knees finally gave out on him. Timmy fell too as he gathered Bret in his arms, as Adam’s mother and father shrouded both boys in grief.
Kaiser, unsure of what was happening, raised his head toward the sky and let out his own mournful wail as they wept, their tears soaking the parched concrete driveway with the truth.
Adam wouldn’t be coming home.
Promise, Michigan is very much like every other small town across the state. Built on the edge of a lake, the homes sit in neat little rows in cute little neighborhoods. During the summer Promise bustles with tourists who come to spend their vacation dollars and enjoy the lake’s refreshingly cold water. But Promise holds a terrible secret. In the center of the lake is an abandoned island where a curse is rumored to wait for victims, unabated and deadly. Most think it’s just a story, something used to keep kids out of trouble. Still, everyone gives it a wide berth. Everyone except Bret and Adam. They dare to venture out the night of Bret’s birthday. When they declared their love and promise to get married, they believe no one else heard their whispered words—but they are wrong.
Five years after Adam dies, Bret returns to his family to heal. But someone is killing the people of Promise in random acts of violence. Bret, with the help of FBI agent Jeff McAllister, must discover the identity of a murderer with death on his mind and revenge in his heart.
Available on 30th March from Dreamspinner Press.
F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is engaged to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.
As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.
You can find out more about F. E. Feely Jr by following his blog here: www.authorfefeeleyjr.wordpress.com