I’ve recently finished two of F.E. Feeley Jr’s novels and in the process found a new favourite author to add to my list. So I thought what better way to find out how his mind ticks than to ask him some questions. (Not sure he’s going to answer all of them. We’ll see if I manage to scare him off.)
Here goes. Let hope he sticks around till the end.
Okay, question one. Most writers I know have always written in one form or other, from the time they were children. But there’s always that triggering moment when they decide they can write a book for publication. What was yours?
I loved to write since I was a kid in high school and I loved to read since I was much younger. It was an escape and I would enter scary story contests that my high school would have and I won both in my Junior or Senior year. In college, I loved to write papers. The bigger, the more complicated, the more opportunity to walk my points out in philosophy, they happier I was. And I was good at it. So when I sat down with Timber Manor, it started in notebooks and little scraps of paper where I’d written things down and I started to inject things from a journal I had been keeping. It was rough, it still is, it could still use a good editor. I didn’t understand the process of publishing like I do now, but once I got that first contract…instant addiction.
I’m genuinely curious about your writing process: What are the first steps you take, in either plotting or planning, before you write your first word of a new book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
An idea can come from anywhere. In my second book, Objects in The Rearview Mirror, the book is based off Jim Steinman’s song of the same name. Once something enters my head, a musical note, a turn of phrase, a philosophical concept…. I’ll turn it over and over. Then I start asking myself questions about it. How could I build a story around this certain idea? So, it’s not like I sit down with a blank word processor page open, and let go a stream of consciousness. I already have an idea what I want to do and while that idea may change as I go along, the bones sort of remain the same.
Do you write everyday or just when the muse is talking?
I only write when the muse is driving me up a wall. And sometimes it’s not a book. Sometimes its poetry or a blog about an idea or another. I am jealous of those who can sit down and clock x thousand words in x hours. I’ve tried that. And the screen will remain blank and I’m mad at myself.
I know this doesn’t sound rational, but I feel like there’s a doorway in my mind and on the otherside of that door is all of human experience, truth, beauty, love, etc. and I have to wait for that door to open. And when it does, I feel like someone else comes through to do the work through me. Like I’m just the medium. And it’s interesting because when I type “THE END” and get ready to send it off to publication, the part where you have to write the synopsis and later on blurbs – I can’t remember what I wrote. I have a vague idea, but when I try to verbally describe it to someone, I can’t. I sound like an idiot. But then I go back and read what I’ve written and there it is. My book. My name on it. But I often feel like it isn’t mine alone.
I’ve read some of your poems and they’re always filled with emotion, good and bad. Is poetry where your heart lies, or is writing in general your passion?
People I love in my life are fans of poetry, and growing up in Detroit and in fundamentalist religion, there were certain things I wasn’t really exposed to. Things like poetry, or the ballet, or symphonies. And I took my art where I could. I had to sneak and listen to the radio. I kept my Christopher Pike and R.L. Stein (Fear Street forever, yo) books as well as my Stephen King books, hidden in a box underneath my bed. I coveted what exposure I did have. And that shaped my world view.
So, when I started reading poetry from Langston Hughes (Harlem Sweeties), Dr. Maya Angelou (I know why the caged Bird Sings), Edna St. Vincent Millay (Conscientious Objector), Shakespeare (Sonnet 116 is my favorite), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Day is Done),
When I got my first taste of it, I found myself hungry for it. And people had commented on the prose of my books, that it read like poetry. So, to attempt it was the next logical step. But again, it feels like it does with my writing. I’ll feel that door creak open in my head, I feel a lump in my throat, and suddenly I’m tapping away at my phone. And just like my books, I don’t remember them. I’ve memorized those above that I mentioned, but not my own.
Now, whether I’m any good at it, remains to be seen. But where my heart lies, well, that’s in the written word.
For me, your books are in a genre all their own. They’re contemporary romance, but have a paranormal twist to the plot. How would you describe them?
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I believe that. And I think because of the nature of the process for me, I believe more than most, maybe. That’s where the title of the series comes from, Memoirs of the Human Wraiths. I try to encompass everything that a gay couple could encounter in this world – physical and otherwise and their love may take a back seat, their haunting may take a back seat, but I hope that their humanity is what shines through. So when it comes to titles, I don’t know.
Did you read any horror authors growing up? I devoured a lot of Stephen King in my teens. (up until he went left of field anyway)
I read primarily horror and spooky books. My mother hated it. She said I had a fascination with the macabre. And I think there may have been something to that. I think I still do. I know there is a world outside of our own. I feel like I can feel it sometimes.
I mean, I wasn’t goth or anything, but yeah, I was definitely hanging out with King who is my hero.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Cook. I love cooking. And cleaning. I’m sick. I love laundry. My life is so damn boring, let me give you an example. I sent a tweet to Tide and thanked them for linking up with Fa-breeze to create those little laundry pods you can buy now. I was so excited. I was like, “This is the best!”
I like looking up recipes on the internet and trying them. When my husband showed up with a Cast Iron Skillet and A Dutch oven, I was over the moon. He so got laid that night.
I love feeding people. There’s something about knowing that what I am giving them will sustain them for a little while, makes me happy.
I love to get drunk with my best friend. Thank you to the makers of Johnny Walker Black. When we visit with each other, we get silly and Irish and sing. I love music for the same reason I love books and poetry. He’s my buddy. And like clockwork he’ll forget the lyrics, and I’ll laugh and remind him, and it’s fucking perfect.
I love to do yoga. Yoga with Adriene on Youtube is the bomb. She’s amazing. So is Mat From Muscle and Mat. He’s this really soft spoken guy and when you first see him and hear him, your like, “Oh….this shouldn’t be bad.” And later on when your crying on the floor, you take it all back. LOL
I love gaming. I’m a huge gamer. Dragon Age series FUCKIN ROCKS!!!!!!! Mass Effect, Witcher, Star Trek online, Fallout, Skyriim, yeah…it’s a serous condition. I’m currently having an affair with Bioware. The writers are sublime. The story arcs are phenomenal, and the graphics are simply gorgeous.
You’re married to a wonderful and supporting husband, John. How did you meet? Was it love at first sight? When did you get married? Give us the low-down.
I met my husband at the corner of End of my rope and Can I get off, please? LOL
No. I saw him on campus at the school we went to and I’d noticed him for a couple of years. But I was either dating someone else or I would see him and he would vanish. Well, one day, I was horribly single and there he was speaking to a mutual acquaintance and I told myself, “I’m butting in.” And I did. And we’ve been together for five years this December.
Describe yourself in four words.
I’m a hot mess
Who is your go-to author to lift your spirits and bring you out of a book slump? (MM and other genre)
Jamie Fessenden is amazing. And what’s fun about being an author in this genre is other authors send you their shit to read over. We call it beta reading. If you are a reader you have grounds to be jealous. Cause he’s amazing.
Aj Rose kicks ass as does her wife Kate Aaron.
Stephen King, of course.
I just finished Susan Kay’s Phantom. Her – expansion I guess, on the original Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Lacroix. Which is freaking phenominal. And has inspired me to create my own version of Erik in an alternate steampunk America. I fell in love with that man a long time ago, I think gay people are huge fans of broadway, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, and I think it’s time us gay boys get to have our moment with him.
I know you love music. Who’s your favourite artist and why?
Oh, God. That’s so not easy. My taste changes every day. So I’ll give you a playlist of my favorites.
Brandi Carlile (everything she sings is soo good)
Justin Jones (His album ‘fading light’ is so fucking good. If you have Spotify, do yourself a favor)
Marc Cohn (his version of “Man of the world” from The Prince and Me….so good)
Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
Meatloaf (Jim Steinman is a minor deity, I’m sure of it)
You and Me
All the 80’s hair bands (nobody writes like that anymore)
And opera and gospel and yeah. You get the idea.
Rapid Fire Questions with explanations of course! Can’t let you off that easy.
Blue is my signature colour.
Fuck (Yeah I think we all like that one)
Favourite place to holiday.
The beach. I love the water.
Last book you read?
As the Ice Melts by RJ Jones – freaking good. (Aww, shucks. I’ll take that.)
Biggest Pet Peeve
Coffee or Tea?
Listener or talker?
What television shows are you currently addicted to?
Grace and Frankie! Frankie is my spirit animal.
Dinner at home or dinner out?
Dinner at home
Night Owl or Early Bird?
If you could have dinner with one person–living or dead–who would it be?
What is your next project?
My version of The Phantom of the Opera, I am working on a sequal to Objects in the Rearview Mirror, and I’m screwing around with a contemporary story called, Good Enough.
One more question then I’ll put you out of your misery.
Will we be getting more from Bret and Jeff from Still Waters? (The answer better be yes.)
I don’t think so. (Say what?)
I think when we closed the book on that, we closed the book on their story. I loved Jeff and Bret. I loved Jeff’s solid strength and this helpless superman who’d lost his cape when it came to stepping between Bret and the circumstances that threatened to sweep him away. Jeff’s journey from sort of tired old cop to suddenly being awakened by this beautiful man to being absolutely powerless to help him, was honest.
Bret was a product of a world that seethed and sat in the stink of its own ignorance. And sometimes that stuff can lash out and hurt others. But he had another kind of toughness. An endurance, an ability to hang on when he didn’t think he could. Even when the chips were laid down so to speak, he went faithfully to what he went to.
So, no, I don’t think there will be anymore with those two. But there will be more stories like that.
Thanks for joining me, Freddie! I’m looking forward to more of your work.
Now for the giveaway!
One random commenter on my blog and the Because Two Men Are Better Than One blog, will receive a free eBook of their choice from F.E.
F.E. Feeley Jr’s bio
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 married 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.