Christian Warren Freed
‘Fear profits a man nothing.’
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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?
I was born under a bad sign, no wait. It has always been in my blood. I began with goofy comic books and decided to tackle a horror novel in 10th grade. It won me the student of the month award but was a total crapfest. I try to burn it every time I go home but mom won’t let me. I joined the Army straight out of high school and wrote in my spare time. That was a few decades ago and I haven’t looked back since.
Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?
Where do I begin? I read the Sword of Shannara, Dune, and The Lord of the Rings when I was a kid. They certainly helped shape the worlds growing in my mind. As an adult, I am an avid fan of Steven Erickson, Dennis L McKiernan, and LE Modesitt Jr. My guilty pleasure is the Horus Heresy from the Black Library.
Tell me about your book / series.
I wrote Hammers in the Wind while I was an instructor at the United States Military Academy during my final years in the army. The idea was born in Iraq.
Hammers in the Wind is the first of six books in the very popular Northern Crusade series. It is the culmination of a long reaching timeline that encompasses 9 books to date. It follows the ruling family of the kingdom of Delranan as they help advance the final battle to decide if the dark gods will return to Malweir.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Not only do I have 18 published novels, I have 7 more going through various stages of publication. AND coming to a bookstore near you soon.
What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?
I’d rather ban stupid people. Then again, I like dogs better than I like people. Remember when Salman Rushdie was forced to hide for his life over a book? I think its ridiculous and makes those wanting to ban the books setback the human race.
Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?
The main characters of the Northern Crusade are modeled after a dysfunctional family who struggles with doing the right thing. I take aspects of myself and those I served with to create memorable and lifelike characters. One of my favorite tricks is to kill off some of the good-good guys. That’s life after all.
Indie, or traditionally published – and why?
A little bit of both. I started by spending a decade trying to break in to NY publishing. Self-publishing came along and I found a hybrid press who did both for me- but without major funding. The results weren’t bad, but not what I want. My ultimate goal is be traditionally published- where I can explode on the scene and take it like a medieval castle.
It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?
I agree. My first few books were horrible. The next few not so bad. One of my last books has been called the best I wrote. I guess I am learning. They say that it takes a million words to develop into a good author. By that token I should be doing great!
Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.
The best is the ability to make someone happy. There is no greater feeling than knowing a complete stranger enjoys my work. The worst is being accountable for everything. There are days when I stare at my computer and can find a hundred things I would rather be doing.
Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?
I plot. Always have. Perhaps it is my strategy and operations background in the army, but I love developing plans and theories before tackling my next project.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Nope. I am wide open. But I do take suggestions from my best fans to add in the next book. Secret messages I suppose?
Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.
Does drinking count? There is nothing better than sitting on my deck smoking a good cigar with a glass of bourbon. (Just don’t mix it with anything- we’re not barbarians after all.) I also spend a lot of time with my two Bernese Mountain Dogs.
What are you writing at the moment?
My latest novel is called the Children of Never. It is a follow on novel to my Writers of the Future Contest winner (not the grand prize of course) the Purifying Flame.
What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?
I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. This new internet age allows anyone to publish a book. Many aren’t serious about the craft and think they can do their own covers or do their own editing. Both are major mistakes that damage the indie author name. Then again, I just finished a traditionally published novel that was horribly edited. Flip a coin.
What is your favourite genre to write, and why?
Military fantasy and science fiction. I blame my dad. He took me to see the original Star Wars in the drive in and then the original Lord of the Rings movie a few years later. I’ve been hooked ever since.
If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?
Good Lord no. Life is way too hard in all of my worlds.
If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that I am getting pretty damned good at this job! But that’s my opinion. You tell me!
Tell me three unique things about you.
1) I have a master’s degree in military history, three years of combat experience, and an ability to combine them together.
2) One of my relatives carried William the Conqueror’s flag into battle at Hastings in 1066.
3) I presented the national colors at the very last game in the old NY Yankees stadium and the very first game in the new one.
Christian, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!