Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Freddy, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
No problem, thank you for having me! I am a science nerd who grew up in the Midwest, went to school in the Midwest, currently live in the Midwest… *grins* you get the point, yes? I’m also the proverbial middle child and the only one to get grounded in my family (cousins included). *shrugs* It happens. I am a camper, hiker and geek out over random science articles. I also own one too many bookshelves.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first novel was Beginning Again: Finding Peace 1. I think I got the contract for it is May of last year and it was published in February of this year – so 9 months. Beginning Again is actually a cross-genre series with a focus on the m/m whereas my first novella, Tears for Christmas: Sheltered 1, is from a strict m/m series.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
End of last January was when I started writing m/m, I had been reading for a while and a story popped in my head one night and I had to write it down. It went from there.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
About 9 months from when my first novel was first submitted, if you add in the time from when I started writing the story about a year. Thus far I’ve written 2 novels and 2 novellas in that time.
My latest release is called, Moving Mountains, which is a m/m spin-off from my Finding Peace series. It focuses on a loveable but rather dense graduate student, George Sanders, and his friend and lab assistant, Max Flint. Max has liked, fallen in love with, George for years, but George has never noticed. They happen to be out in the field gathering data when Max makes one last ditch effort to make George see him. But they’re both scared of really saying what they are feeling because they’re afraid of how things will change between them.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I’d like to say I write through, but I do revise as I go along. Sometimes when I write a sentence I get stuck and so I reread from the start of the chapter and try to figure out why it is so weird…probably because I am… but I stick have to fix it, yes?
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
It’s a little of both. I’ll get an idea and write, but I start plotting as I write. Sounds confusing I know, but once I have some stuff written down and feel the story jiving, then I can plan.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I will take aspects of my personality, or of another person’s personality, and put them into characters. Sometimes it’s only one part of that character – since most people are multifaceted in one way or another – while other times that one lone trait of a person makes up an entire character.
I try to let the characters develop (who aren’t finished in my mind already) themselves through the interactions with the other characters – if that’s what it’s about. Sometimes I have a full-fledged developed character but it’s the story of how his life changes that is the focus. Just depends, I guess.
I draw the line at using a person I know. I could never write a character based exactly on someone else. It’s a skewed view because I am not that person. I think that it’s rude to assume I know them enough to write about them.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope that they do feel or it makes them think. I want to write about people and experiences people have, and if someone else can walk away from one of my books getting something out of that for themselves, then I’ll feel accomplished.
I want an honest look at relationships and how different experiences can affect them or the people in them – which I guess is why my focus in on contemporary writing.
Sometimes what I write is about character development. Sometimes I write about relationship development between characters. I do view them as two different things. I think we’ve all been through something where we might not completely change as a person, but we change in respect to where we are in our lives in relationship to someone else. Sometimes I write about both character and relationship development. It all depends on what the story in my head wants to emphasize.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I am sarcastic and witty. I can say really absurd things in complete seriousness, which throw people off. I like it when I say something and then a beat or so later I see a smile cross the person’s face because they caught what I said, then I’ll get a little head shake or smirk from them.
Old movies make me laugh – and I’m talking B & W here – because they liked wit and reveled in it. It’s harder to find that these days. I am a big George Carlin fan before he passed, and I like Steve Martin’s sense of humor. I have a couple philosophers that make me laugh, but I think most people would scratch their heads at those.
What are you working on now?
I am working on finishing up my July release, Incubation: Finding Peace 2. We are heading into edits for it.
What kind of books do you like to read?
Anything. I’ll try any genre once. I have preferences for sci-fi (AND STEAM PUNK!) and non-fiction though.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Hiking, Camping, Traveling and SOCCER!
What future projects do you have in the works?
I’ve got 4 or 5 WIP in the chute after that, all impatiently waiting for me to get to them.
I have the continuation to Tears for Christmas: Sheltered 1 for Danny and Gabe’s story. Then three more stories for that series, at least, after that. Descent of an Angel and Branded are the first up after I wrap up Danny and Gabe.
Plus I have the next Finding Peace book to write. I have a backstory to that series that’s almost finished – a m/m story called Days Gone By – it needs some polishing then it’ll go in for submission.
I’ve got a steam punk story that needs attention. Plus my NaNo project from November is crying, but I’ll get there.
So yeah, I’ve got my plate full and have to work through everything.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Lots of places!
There’s more, but they can be found by visiting any of those above
And my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one or more of your stories with us?
I would love to!
Tears for Christmas: Sheltered 1 – Holding it Together
“How you guys holding up?” A large hand clasped his shoulder fondly. Turning towards his father-in-law, Roger Marshall, Dan tried to give him a smile. Roger’s eyes narrowed, wrinkles bunching around them in concern. “You okay Dan?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Have you seen Sammy?” Dan deflected the question with practiced ease—no, he was not fine—and sought out his son in the large food hall. “Who’s with him? I thought Stacey was—”
“Kelsey’s got ‘em.” Roger searched Dan’s face before pulling him into a firm embrace, thumping Dan’s back hard. His deep, raspy voice was edged with worry. “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Maybe today wasn’t the best idea.”
“It’s tradition Roger. It’s what we always do,” Dan brushed his father-in-law’s concern off, tensing. “I will not change it now. This was something Luke was adamant Sammy learn. I will not—” His voice cracked. Dan swallowed, trying to get better control over his emotions. “I will not be the one to break that tradition. It’s a good lesson for all of us. And better learned now, when Sammy’s young.”
“You don’t look so good son. I’m just concerned how all this is affecting you.” Sincerity was brimming in Roger’s eyes. Blue eyes like Luke’s and their son’s. “I’m just saying taking a break every once in a while won’t hurt anyone.
Everyone here would understand you not coming this year.” Roger was being reasonable. Dan just had a hard time agreeing with it. “We all miss him Dan. But it’s hurt you the most. And with tomorrow being Christmas—”
“With tomorrow being Luke’s birthday—”
“Maybe it’s just too soon.”
“No, it’s not.”
“I think it is son.”
“What do you want me to do? Sit at home and cry? Wallow in my self-pity because Luke’s not here? Is that what Luke would want? Is that what our son needs? I need to be here! Sam needs to be here! He needs to learn what his father wanted him to learn; compassion and hard-work and sincerity!”
Dan was panting hard, his rant having gotten loud and long. An eerie silence filled the food hall. All eyes were locked onto them. Startled, frightened stares from the people who came to the shelter for a safe place lingered on him.
Worried, sympathetic eyes from the workers wavered between Dan and Roger. Frustration and anger at his faux pas ran rampant throughout him. The last thing Dan wanted to do was to scare the people he was supposed to help or to see pity in his fellow volunteers’ faces.
Giving a disheartened growl, his fingers tugging at his hair anxiously, Dan walked out of the room and sought refuge in the office the lawyers used. Throwing himself onto the couch, Dan fought back his tears, his fists punching the cushions. The tearing in his chest was overwhelming him, the pain radiating out of every pore. His mind felt as though it was fraying as he tried to control the anguish inside him. Dan could only curl up into a ball in response.
He needed to get it together. Dan promised Luke he would keep it together. He took a deep, purposeful breath. Sammy needed him to get it together. The people Dan helped at the shelter needed him to get it together. So, Dan did what he did every time the pain from losing Luke overtook him. Dan pushed it down, burying it as far as it could go.
Beginning Again: Finding Peace 1 – Running Late
A few days after Bobby had successfully taken David grocery shopping, Bobby continued riding high off their time out together. David seemed to have opened up and started relaxing around Bobby since he found his slightly awkward and shy roommate on the floor. A small burst of pride filled Bobby, knowing he had been the one that to put a crack in David’s shell. But Bobby’s pride quickly dissipated. The difficulty he had breathing seemed more important. Running across campus at full speed hadn’t been on Bobby’s agenda for the day. He gulped for breath. The ruptured tearing he felt in his lungs could probably be attributed to the developing stitch in his side from all the exertion he was putting forth to get back to his dorm.
Bobby inhaled deeply and put on another burst of speed to his room, cursing himself for letting his mind wander, and booked his ass back to Carrington. Getting angry at himself all over again for forgetting his binder for his English class. Normally he wouldn’t have cared but his professor was one of those types that still preferred printed copies over emailed ones for their papers. Irritation built inside Bobby, but he had to get it. He needed that binder for his class.
Taking the stairs two at a time and he exploded into his room, panting hard, grabbing his side, nearly tripping flat on his face. As Bobby rooted around in his desk, he could hear the shower running in the bathroom, but thought nothing of it. Agitation flowed through Bobby with every passing moment his fucking English binder remained MIA.
Sighing, Bobby stopped his rummaging and stood up, his eyes sweeping the room. Only the shower made any noise. He needed to decide what to do. He could maybe print off another paper, but he still wouldn’t have all the other crap the professor wanted. Needing the proofs was ridiculous. The running water stopped in the bathroom and goose bumps broke out all over Bobby. Who would still be around at this time of the day? He rubbed his arms and went back to his scowling. Too distracted to ponder for very long, he wanted to find the fucking binder. It just couldn’t up and walk away from my desk. Bobby cursed at his ineptitude.
The sink spurted on and off in the bathroom as Bobby turned around in the room, aggravation rolling off of him in waves. Bobby froze, however, pure terror running through him when he spotted David’s pajamas on the lounge chair. His roommate didn’t normally leave stuff lying around. David’s anal retentiveness for cleanliness and order—almost obsessively so, bordering on OCD—meant he would have picked up before leaving.
Bobby groaned. David’s late day!
Spinning on his heel, Bobby ended up facing the bathroom door as it swung open, David walking buck naked through it. Steam curled off of his flushed body.
Pure panic stuck Bobby to the floor, his feet firmly planted as if they’d sprung roots. David stopped short, paling considerably. His lithe frame shivered as his eyes darted between the dorm room door and Bobby. This was not what either expected when they got up this morning. Even though Bobby had found David passed out on the floor days earlier and some kind of truce had been called, his roommate looked like a small foal ready to jump from danger as he eyed Bobby. David’s hands fisted defensively, his posture a picture of pure defiance. Blue eyes unwavering and certain, like he knew he could fight. A slight shift drew Bobby’s eyes to David’s legs, bent and turned, ready to sprint. Like David really wanted to run away and disappear rather than fight.
“It’s okay,” Bobby murmured. His arms moved of their own volition, grabbing David, and hugging him close. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. Jesus, David, I would never hurt you.”
Bobby couldn’t think of anything else to say. What could he do? Scars littered David’s body. More than what he’d seen a few days ago. So many more than he had seen on David’s arms and lower back. Deep scars. Painful scars. Bobby couldn’t get a good look at the marks because his focus was on the storm brewing in David’s eyes, but he had seen enough to know his roommate had been hurt, hurt deeply. Easing David away from him, Bobby held his roommate’s shoulders, his eyes searching David’s troubled blues ones. A switch flipped and walls came slamming down. A blank stare faced Bobby and David stiffened. Bobby watched firsthand as David shut down, returning to his robot roommate.
No. No. No.
Moving Mountains: A Finding Peace Spin-Off – Geeves is dense
He turned back to Max, realizing his brain must be more tired than he thought and the warm glow from the fire probably caused George to mistakenly perceive any emotions he read from his friend. The only sentiment in Max’s eyes was one of concern and friendship.
“Everything working in here?” Max stood up, moved in front of George, and tapped his head with an outstretched hand.”Or have you gone off the deep end, finally?”
George swatted Max, pushing him back, and glared. “No.” Unfortunately he had no snappy comeback. “Just sleepy.”
Max took the washcloth, dipping it in the pot, before motioning at George to turn around. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell the girls you needed a sponge bath.”
“God, the last thing we need is romance rumors.” George snorted, raising an eyebrow when Max flinched. “I can see it now, the whole lab gossiping about us hooking up. That’s the last thing we need.”
“Yeah,” Max answered flippantly. “Come on, move.”
George squinted at Max, wondering what was up with his answer, but decided to turn around anyway. Warm, gentle strokes started down his back. George moaned and leaned forward to give Max better access. Having his friend wash him made George shiver slightly. It had been a long time since he felt something so intimate, so caring. George’s mind stumbled. Intimate? Why would he think Max lending a helping hand as intimate?
Sighing, George’s thoughts wandered to his last boyfriend, Joe Quinton. They were both graduate students in Dr Evans lab; Joe had been three years ahead of him. The ‘experienced’ graduate student took the ‘new and eager’ student George under his wing and their relationship slowly blossomed to lovers, but they kept it under wraps, not wanting gossip around them. Or that’s what Joe convinced George to think.
CRU could never claim to be a gay-friendly campus by any means, but not many people paid attention to the graduate students in the science department. And, despite their efforts, peopled talked about Joe and him anyway. George didn’t want to go around waving rainbow flags or anything, but he didn’t see the problem in acknowledging his relationship with the person he loved if it had been open secret anyway.
A familiar pain flared in his chest. The argument about openly acknowledging their status had been a thorn in their relationship for the two and a half years they were together. Joe wouldn’t even let George tell his parents. That one hurt the most. He and his parents had a ‘working relationship’. They had often been absorbed in their duties and research, but George always knew they loved him and cared about him. Being their only child, his parents always gave him their full support even if they couldn’t be around all the time… always backed him up no matter what.
When George told them he preferred guys they didn’t even blink. They were eating together were eating together dinner one Christmas during his undergrad days and he just came out saying he liked guys. Both his mom and dad looked at him, nodded then went back to their conversation about the wolves in the area. Flabbergasted, George had asked if they cared. His dad shrugged and told George the only thing they cared about was how he and his partner treated each other—with respect, love and consideration. George had thought Joe would be that kind of partner for him… eventually. He loved his parents and they would have been happy he found someone serious to be with.
Only when Joe left for his post-doctoral work at another university did they stop fighting over not denying their relationship; the point had become moot. Then six months after Joe left, George got dumped in an email while out in the field Memorial Day weekend, right before it was his turn to visit Joe. That had been almost a year ago. George rubbed his chest, willing the ache away.
The first couple of months, George took the break-up pretty hard, but throwing himself into research and accepting their relationship would have never satisfied him helped George move on. After all the gossiping while he dated Joe and the uproar when their relationship ended, George wasn’t ready for another one just yet. Eventually, in a couple of years when he finished his doctoral research, he’d be able to find a new relationship. One where the other guy wouldn’t want George to lie about who they were to each other, but he wasn’t there yet.
The murmured request brought George out of his reflection. “Excuse me?”
“Just drop ‘em, Geeves.”
George twisted in his seat. “Drop what?”
“Your pants, didn’t you hear me ask if you needed help with your legs?”
Max smirked. “You grunted yes.”
George scratched his head, trying to remember what he said. “You sure?”
“Completely.” Max waggled his eyebrows at George. “It’s not like I haven’t seen you naked before.”
“Still, it seems—” George stopped, not really sure what he was going to say.
“Seems like what?”
Max thumped his shoulder, teasing, “I promise I won’t peek.”
“You just said you’ve seen me naked, basically saying it didn’t matter,” George replied tersely. The night officially began to rate as weird. “Whatever, you want to clean my bloody knees, be my guest.”
“Maybe I will tell the girls you needed a sponge bath.”
“Please,” said George, grabbing Max’s arm. “Don’t.”
Compassionate hazel eyes met his pleading stare. Max gently pulled George’s hand off. “I wouldn’t do that, Geeves, we’ve been friends for four years. I’m just teasing.”
Why is my heart pounding?
The whole idea of people gossiping over things they didn’t know about terrified George, especially after being left out to dry with Joe. The covert stares and whispering after Joe broke up with him were more intolerable than the looks they got when they were together, maybe because he had to deal with everything alone instead of having his lover to lean on. And with Max leaving soon, he didn’t want more rumors hanging around him. Not again. He may have put his relationship with Joe behind him, but George wasn’t about to feed the gossip mill again. He just wanted to finish his research and enjoy his time away from the lab in the great outdoors.
Max cleared his throat. “Want my help or not, Geeves?”
George nodded hesitantly. Fuck, he felt all screwed up, why? He should just wash himself up, but his hands throbbed. Doing the dishes hadn’t been a smart move. The night definitely needed to end. The quicker, the better, and if sucking up his pride and letting Max help him did so, George would do it. Max smirked, pointing at George’s buckle.
“Are you going to take ‘em off or do you want me to?”
George unbuckled his belt and shucked his pants immediately, almost losing his boxer briefs when he did. Max laughed loudly and George shot his friend a dirty look, grabbing the underwear before it came completely off. What the hell was wrong with Max?
“Happy with the peep show, perv?”
“Any time, Geeves, any time.”
Well, George had no response to that.
“You finished gawking?”
Max wasn’t looking at George. Not really. His eyes held George’s the whole time. George felt the need to regain the upper hand though. “Or would you like a dance to go with the show?”
Max motioned for George to twirl.
He responded by giving Max the finger. “I don’t do freebies.”
“Wouldn’t expect you to.”
George opened his mouth then shut it. If he didn’t know better, Max was flirting with him, but that couldn’t be right. No, George read too much into the playful banter. They had been friends and coworkers for four years. Stuff like this was the norm.
“Relax man, it’s not like I’m gonna bite.”
Then why did it look like Max would?