Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WHITTIER WRITER DAVID J FREEMAN

I started my blog about two years ago and over the two years I have had the good fortune to meet so many interesting people here in Whittier. So many people doing so many cool things and it is great to see. I was contacted a few months back by David J Freeman. David is a Whittier native who has written three novels. When I say novels I mean novels David is writing books that exceed 700 pages. As I learned more about David's books I saw that he is in to the HORROR genre and I dig that. I thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down and talk with David about the release of his third book Forensic Black. I have never attempted a Q & A Interview and thought why not? Enjoy my sit down with local horror writer David J Freeman.


MW:Q
* I see that Forensic Black is your third large book in three years – how do you feel you’ve grown as a writer from the experience of 37 Planes , Folkhlore , and now this 740-page monster ? I just write blogs I can't imagine taking on such a challenge.
DJF: A
… Just like anything really , the more you do , the better you get , and the more comfortable you get expressing yourself . Being an independent author I can basically write anything I want , so that helps in the long run because you have nothing holding you back , only yourself if you don’t have the patience to put in the work it takes to type away for hours by yourself , and push yourself beyond whatever limits you think you used to have …

DJF's Third Novel


each book has had its own brutal reality test for me , so fighting through that , then finishing on my own personal terms feels amazing – that’s when you really feel the growth through your own accomplishment … as far as the books’ size, if you were to talk to bands like Black Sabbath and Metallica they would tell you that they never start out to make an 8-minute song , it just ends up that way . It’s the same thing for me and writing , I can never say no to myself when it comes to adding another sharp angle to help push the main story along , and if it adds an extra hundred pages , even better
MW:Q
*In Forensic Black the backdrop of the novel is our hometown Whittier ( Whittrey in the book ), and a lot of the landmarks and nostalgia that seems to be hitting a certain chord with people . Even though the names are jumbled and mixed together and some even being fictitious , you make it obvious of where it comes from , and the déjà vu that comes with it . I think that is such a cool tribute to Whittier.
DJF:A
Yes , in many ways really . In the beginning I was really struggling , I had the main idea in my head of where I wanted the story to go , but I hit a wall almost immediately . The first thing that helped was basing the story in 1998 when I first started my old office life career , and that helped create the opening sequences .



DJF La Serna Allum


But, nothing really clicked solid until “Aubrey’s cab ride home” , and I began to think of what my old street Lashburn smelled like and the constant activity that surrounded it , and how a lot of Whittier’s neighborhoods have trees that form natural tunnels when in full bloom , and how the heat waves off the sidewalks and pavement of Whittier Boulevard looking westward during mid afternoon on a hot day , and all the schools , stores , clothing , eras in time , and everything else that encapsulated the best period of my life … it was a lot of fun to mash school and street names together knowing that Whittier people would get the joke , and draw them in to the story more by throwing that blanket of familiarity over everything … some of the stories in the book actually happened , I just threw in my sick twist on things – I mention most of those in the  Special Thanks section of the book … when I personally look back on this book , I know that it wouldn’t be what it became without Whittier , and what I experienced growing up there … feels good to give that city its due in my own demented way

 MW:Q
* Other than personal life experiences, where else do you pull most of your inspiration ?​
DJF:A
 ... From everyday life mostly - I see something happen , or watch someone doing something , and my brain puts its own twist on things . If I see some dude pumping gas , my brain thinks - ' What's really stopping someone from walking by and throwing a match ? ' ...
 
MW:Q
* What was the first REAL story you remember writing ?
DJF:A
          ... In sixth grade - ' Little Johnny's Lunchbox ' - we were told to write anything we wanted for a homework assignment . My Mom let me use the electric typewriter she would bring home from work once in a while . I wrote six pages that night about a kid who's lunchbox would sit on the shelf with all the other kids' boxes in the closet , then start to rumble around the closer it got to lunch time . The entire story was built around an idea that the guy who made the box at the factory died while making Johnny’s lunchbox , it just happened to occur right before HIS lunch time - so the factory worker's ghost inhabited the lunchbox . I got an A , and pretty much freaked Ms. Palas out a little judging by her red penned notes at the top . Up to that point I was scribbling down ideas , never really finishing anything  ...
MW:Q
​* Every Author experiences "Writer's Block" I know there are times when I have a creative block. How do you deal with that and over come it?
DJF:A
          ... Writer's Block can be brutal - nothing worse than watching that cursor blink in the top left corner of the screen . My mind is always going , and I tend to keep a lot of different titles and ideas in different folders , so if I run in to any problems I can just open something I started working on before , or start mapping out notes for a great title I came up with - then eventually the block-bubble​ will pop and my mind starts jamming again . Everyone deals with Writer's Block differently - that's just my way of getting around it - keeping my mind busy instead of sitting there getting frustrated by watching the blinking cursor ... I also edit everything from the previous night’s session, and that always seems to get the brain working , as well as branching the original ideas out in different and better directions – that helps , and happens a lot …

MW:Q
* In your first two books , as well as Forensic Black , I noticed you've had interesting and distinct character names - any specific details on why that is important to you as a writer ?
DJF:A
               ... To me , sometimes a good character name is almost as important as the title of the story itself , and it's one of my favorite things about writing - coming up with all the names . In 37 Planes I needed a ton of names - sometimes I mapped them out so they really meant something - and sometimes I scribbled combinations of names .



DJF pulls inspiration from Metallica
Straight forward & Hardcore

Like Joey Tadegah for instance , when his character popped up in my head I knew the name had to be something that defined who he was , and where he may have came from . In Folkhlore , Yorris' name was the first one I came up with after I envisioned the make up of his character  - and when it came to the others I thought of Southern , Mid , and Northern Europe - playing with the different letters and how they may have been pronounced or spelled ... so much fun . Most of the time I'll come up with a name that will make a reader stop , and reread it - pronounce it out loud  ... anything to help draw the reader's attention -pulling them in even further ... My favorite from the new book Forensic Black is the Mother character – LaBretta Dehnem . I was watching MeTv one night and MASH came on , then later I watched an episode from the old detective show Baretta – I laughed when it came to me – Loretta Swit and Baretta … love when stuff like that happens
MW:Q
* Speaking of Characters , all three books : 37 Planes , Folkhlore , and now with Forensic Black you have written accent driven dialogue - another way to get the reader to slow down and enjoy the story ?
DJF:A
​            ... Anybody can write the dialogue straight , then force the reader to play the accent along in their head at the same time - I think it's a little more interesting to have the reader sound out each word until they get the swing of the character's accent , and if they read it aloud long enough maybe they can end up speaking as that character - identifying even more with a quirky , or annoying aspect that makes one love , or hate that character even more ... Zeta Krontz from 37 Planes is a great example of that
 

             In Forensic Black I just remembered all of those movies lately , with all of those B’astan ( Boston ) accents – LaBretta Dehnem just kind of slipped in to that mode from the beginning
MW:Q
​* You seem to enjoy writing descriptive , detailed violence - a lot of which is rarely explained the same way twice - do you actually sit around and think of different descriptive phrases ?
DJF:A
             ... No ,not really - that sounds a little too UnaBomberish , but I see the point of the question ( laughs ). I think it goes back to the question regarding the accented dialogue - anyone can create a written act of violence , but why not take it a few steps further if your mind is curious in that regard . It's not about being disgusting or disturbing just to come across that way - it has a lot to do with wanting to know what is going through both minds as one stabs , and the other sees and feels the blade slide in to his skin , and beyond . What are those two people thinking as one provides the shock and pain , and the other  has to come to the realization that they are more than likely going to die from bleeding out , or having an organ punctured ? Crawling around in both of those minds at the same time is one of the most challenging aspects a writer can give themselves

MW:Q
* Can you see yourself writing something other than Horror any time in the future ?
DJF:A
              ... Yes , I have a few ideas - but most of those are screenplays , or even a few TV Shows , I don't know if I could ever write a full non-Horror related novel , the interest just wouldn't be there at this point anyway . I DO have an idea for a fun “Summer Novel” sometime in the future - we'll see if that ever comes about ...
MW:Q
* Finally , what do you find is the biggest challenge of writing , and most of all FINISHING​ a novel ? It's not an easy accomplishment  , as most aspiring authors will admit to ...
DJF:A
            ... Time mostly , and getting past that first fifty pages . Even when I was working full-time I set aside a few hours a night when I started 37 Planes - staying up until two , or three a.m. pretty much every night , my goal was five to ten pages a night . The most challenging aspect is to keep the inner drive going - keep the gears grinding away on that story that's in your head , and having the patience to type it out one word at a time . Another thing is being able to sit for hours , and days at a time - clacking away ... it's a solitary existence , and you have to be able to handle that . That's why I need background noise like movies on the TV , or especially watching football on Sundays - something about having that chance to look up to something comfortable to the senses , anything other than a white page with black letters for more than a few moments always keeps my mind fresh . What bums me out is that I can't listen to music and write - it's never worked for me as I tend to pay more attention to the music , then I end up playing DJ with my phone . It's easy to stop writing , and let your story end at thirty-something pages - but the thrill of passing page one-hundred , then two-fifty , then that magical plateau of three-hundred ... that's when you really know you're kicking ass , and you're actually going to finish that blip of a thought springing out of nowhere that sat you down , and made you start clicking away to begin with ... pretty awesome feeling ... 

 It was great spending some time with David J Freeman. So inspiring to see and talk with a local Whittierite doing what he loves to do. I really hope you grab David's latest book and even David's previous two books. Thank you David it was a pleasure and I can't wait to finish your book. I have never read a novel of 700 pages but if you were able to write it I will be able to read it.
Congrats on such a great accomplishment. 
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Book signing at Puffy Taco in Whittier
Showing support for DJF awesome dude!

TWITTER;@DJMFF9