Meghan: Hi, Andrew! Thanks for joining us today. Let’s start out with something easy. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Andrew Freudenberg: I live in the West Country in England, with my Ninja wife and three sons. I have a German name because my Grandparents were German, I was born in France, but I’m British!
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
- I used to own a techno/trance record label, releasing my own and other’s music.
- I have a degree in Information Technology and Philosophy.
- I once DJ’d in the New State Circus building in Moscow.
- I grew up on a fruit farm.
- I have interviewed Anthrax, Celtic Frost, and Savatage.
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
Andrew Freudenberg: Probably something by Richard Scarry. According to my mother, one of the first phrases I ever used, repeatedly, was ‘read a book’.
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Andrew Freudenberg: I always have a few things on the go. I just finished Necroscope by Brian Lumley, a proper old school horror. As well as a pile of books that I have to read as a juror for the BFS awards, I’m also just starting Laura Mauro’s new collection, finishing off Penny Jones’ mini collection and have probably half a dozen other anthologies on the go as well. I’m also a big comic reader and have nearly finished ploughing through the World War Hulk Omnibus.
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Andrew Freudenberg: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
Andrew Freudenberg: I think it was probably a love of reading. I’ve always written, from when I was very small. It’s only in the last decade that I’ve gotten a little more focused on actually getting some fiction published.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Andrew Freudenberg: Not really. Anywhere quiet preferably.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Andrew Freudenberg: No. I’m disgustingly disorganised, and easily distracted, so attempting to focus is really my top priority!
Meghan: Is there anything about writing that you find most challenging?
Andrew Freudenberg: See above! Focusing on one thing and finding the time are really the basic challenge.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?
Andrew Freudenberg: I’m not sure that I could name any one thing. Crossing the finish line is always immensely satisfying, and I hope that the best is yet to come!
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Andrew Freudenberg: That’s a very difficult question. I think of authors that I love to read, rather than necessarily inspire me, although I suppose everything that I read is in some way subconsciously inspirational. King, Herbert, and Barker were the first real horror writers that I dived into when I was a teen, and I was also reading Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov in the SF world. I hope my writing style is my own. I haven’t set out to copy anyone else, and I think writers tend to be a melting pot of a multitude of other’s styles, mixed in with their own personality and experience. If you read my collection, you’ll see that I like to write everything from in your face pulp, to more introspective pieces.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Andrew Freudenberg: I think it all starts with a writer’s voice and how it translates from the page. Their rhythm, vocabulary and style need to be compatible with the reader. From there it opens up into a multitude of things, an interesting setting, an intriguing premise and characters that you enjoy ‘watching’.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Andrew Freudenberg: As a writer, they have to be fun to write. As a reader, they have to be alive. I think my characters emerge from the particular hell that I’m usually putting them through. It’s a fairly natural process for me, and there usually doesn’t feel like anyone else would fit the bill for that particular scenario.
Meghan: Which of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Andrew Freudenberg: I think that there’s usually at least a sliver of the writer underlying most characters. I’m not sure that there’s one that is noticeably more like me than the others, but with a lot of the stories in my collection, the aspect of me that is a parent seems to have forced its way through.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Andrew Freudenberg: A bad cover is definitely off-putting. A lot of my stories are in anthologies, and I have no say in those. Some have been quite bad, but thankfully of late, they’ve been excellent. I worked closely with my publisher on the cover for My Dead and Blackened Heart, and in fact ended up using some art created by my youngest son. I think it is quite striking.
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
Andrew Freudenberg: That it’s damn hard work!
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Andrew Freudenberg: My characters go to some very dark places, but I’m strange in that the worse the situation, the more I enjoy writing it. I like to get grim. I think I may be lacking some kind of filter that many people have. I don’t feel any need to hold anything back.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Andrew Freudenberg: As I mentioned earlier, I think it comes down to voice. Hopefully I write like myself, and that goes a long way to differentiating me from other writers.
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours?
Andrew Freudenberg: I think its reasonably important and extremely difficult to settle on one. My Dead and Blackened Heart was a story that I wrote about a devastated vampire, and I think it sums up the tone of my book very well. Also, no spoilers, hearts pop up here and there throughout the collection. (The actual story My Dead and Blackened Heart is included in the hardback version of the collection).
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Andrew Freudenberg: As yet, I haven’t had any novels published. I think signing off on a novel would inevitably be more fulfilling, but the suffering immeasurably greater!
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you wold like readers to take away from your stories?
Andrew Freudenberg: With horror, I want to leave the reader emotionally marked. I hope that when they finish one of my short stories they have to pause for breath, shake their head and go back to read the last paragraph again, just in case it wasn’t as grim as they thought it was. You should feel a different mental state by the end of the tale. As far as target audience goes, just anyone who enjoys the genre or, hopefully, think that they don’t.
Meghan: What is in your trunk?
Andrew Freudenberg: I have all sorts of ongoing works in process. Did I mention that I struggle to focus? Numerous novellas and shorts edging towards completion and novel ideas bubbling under. I’d also like to get back to making music again, and I’m very interested in the idea of making a film.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Andrew Freudenberg: Longer works and more of the same, different angles and flavours, just a variety of hopefully interesting stories. I’d like to get back into producing music and I’m giving films the side-eye.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Andrew Freudenberg: Facebook ** Twitter
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
Andrew Freudenberg: Thanks for reading. That’s the greatest joy for me, that someone enjoyed something that I wrote. Let me know what you thought, I love to hear from readers.
Andrew Freudenberg is an English author with a German name. He was born in France.
Despite always having a strong love for the written word, he spent a large part of his 20’s dabbling in the global techno scene. He loves heavy metal.
A number of his stories have appeared in anthologies. My Dead & Blackened Heart will be his first solo collection.
He currently lives in the South West of England with his Ninja wife and three sons.
14 stories of terror, dread and fatherhood.
From the isolation of space, to the ever-watchful eyes in a darkening wood, Andrew Freudenberg takes us on a journey exploring the themes of friendship, fatherhood and loss, as we pick through the remains of his dead and blackened heart.
“Overhead the lighting operator switched everything to green, just as two enormous mortars fired shredded silver paper in a plume over the crowd. Sarge blinked, attempting to clear the salt lacing his eyes.
For a moment he thought he saw paratroopers descending from above, but shook off the hallucination and turned his attention to the stalls. A group of youngsters were caught by Doc’s spotlight for a split second, their eyes wide with wonderment and a touch of fear.
It was enough to send Sarge back to the jungle, back to the children in the village. Their eyes had been the same, gazing up at him intently, even after he had slaughtered them with his bayonet and laid them all out in a row. At the time it had seemed the kind thing to do, a mercy killing of sorts. After all they had executed everyone else, so who would have looked after them?
There was something complete about leaving them lying peacefully amongst the burning buildings.
It had been a Zen moment.”
Featuring the stories: Something Akin To Despair, A Bitter Parliament, Charlie’s Turn, Pater in Tenebris, Milkshake, Nose to the Window, The Cardiac Ordeal, Meat Sweets, Scorch, The Teppenyaki of Truth, Before The Meat Time, Hope Eternal, The Last Patrol & Beyond The Book.