Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Christian Warren Freed. I’ve been writing stories and creating worlds since I was a little boy- thank you Star Wars and the animated Lord of the Rings (if that gives you a hint as to how old I am). I am a veteran of the US Army and the 101st Airborne Division. Since retiring I have written almost 25 sci fi and military fantasy novels, numerous short stories, a children’s book, and a pair of how to books for new authors.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I use my Masters in Military History, around 5 years of personal time spent in different combat zones, and modern tactics to create believable battle scenes and ancient wars. Of course, my memoirs from Iraq and Afghanistan is entirely true.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
An active imagination. I read more than I write. That and a good cigar and even better bourbon helps get the creative juices flowing.
How do you deal with creative block?
What is that? I don’t really think about being blocked. The closest I got was making 27k words into a novel before I realized it was far too hard to be effective. I set it aside, cranked out a different 103,000k word novel and have now returned to the old one. Call it the Army in me, but I don’t believe in insurmountable obstacles. If you can’t breach it outright, flank the sucker and assault the objective from a different angle.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
The biggest mistake is thinking I am writing for me. I’m not. I am not just an author. I am the CEO of my business and need to take emotion off the table. Just because I am proud of an idea and like what I wrote doesn’t mean the market has a place for it- yet! It also doesn’t mean I should sell out either.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Do your homework. Too many indie authors listen to barracks lawyers and don’t study trends. There is a reason books get published by the Big 5. Why would being independent change the model? You want your books to sell? Study, study, study and employ similar strategies. There are 10 million books for sale on Amazon, why should anyone pick yours?
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I don’t deal with them because they don’t bother me. Reviews are for potential readers, not authors. Ego aside, I enjoy a good review and use the bad ones to go back and see where they were talking about. If I can fix it, I do.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I used to spend about a good six months fleshing out the world, and outline, and characters. Then I wrote by hand and that would take another 6-9 months. I have grown up a little and now work on my laptop, so the timeline is greatly condensed.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Hands down the worst part of completing any of my books is getting it back from the editor. I love my editors but cringe every time I open the document because I know there is a lot of work left to be done. The best is getting that first review or a random message on social media from someone who loves it. For me, the surprising part- to this day- is how people from across the globe are responding to my books. Such an amazing feeling.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I don’t put much thought into that. I write the stories that come into my mind because I want them to be different enough from the others in my genre to stand out. My personal satisfaction comes when I type THE END on that last page. The rest is academic.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am largely unemotional. I blame the Army and going to war three times. Life seems easier and less stressful that way. I do guiltily admit that I have taken out my frustrations toward real people by making them very short lived characters in my books. I think my teenage son was the last victim.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Exercise, clear your mind, and don’t force write. Nothing good comes out of trying to make yourself do something when you don’t feel the juices flowing. I’m not saying set the computer aside until you think of something- you should always be attempting to create something- but trying too hard only produces negative results and you wind up rewriting it all anyway.
What are your plans for future books?
Where do I even begin? To date, I have about 5 series out. Most of them are incomplete and all are competing for my attention for the next book. I would say that is my biggest failing. I have too many ideas and my fingers follow my mind. They are all going to get down and when the dust settles there should be around 50 novels or so out there for the world to enjoy.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I would rather be around animals than people. True story. My dream job is taking care of rhinos at the zoo. I’ve already seen the worst that man can do to each other and just want a quiet, peaceful life to live out. Natures keeps me sane. I also love to cook. We can throw down in the kitchen any day.