Murder and retribution are at the heart of David A. Freas’ upcoming crime novel, Payback. Releasing on October 24, the story of Detective Rick Lafferty and Joleen Wilson’s hunt for a dirty cop was inspired by a skit for a creative writing class. Given the author's previous success, it's safe to say that we're looking forward to his new book.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
When did your love of writing begin?
I played around with it starting in high school but never really did anything serious until about 1995 when the writing bug really bit me hard and it moved from something I dabbled in into a true avocation.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of your novel, Payback! Can you give us a little tease?
After Detective Mary Conner is gunned down, Detective Rick Lafferty defies orders to stand down and makes it his mission to hunt down the dirty cop who shot the woman he's come to love. Joleen Wilson wants the same cop dead for her own reasons, and Darcy Brown wants revenge on the city's biggest drug dealer. Will they all get what they want?
What was the inspiration behind the story?
A friend and I created a skit about a woman killing the drug dealer who sold her son the drugs that killed him for another friend who was teaching a college night school course on creative writing. After performing the skit, the instructor posed the question, “What happens next?”
The question stuck with me, I began playing around with different answers, and a few days later began writing Payback.
What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?
I prefer to write in First Person POV. Payback is written entirely in Third Person with multiple POV characters. The biggest challenge was giving each one his or her own unique voice.
Almost as challenging was keeping the three storylines straight, distinctive, and unique. And the third hardest thing was keeping the momentum going both in writing it and keeping the reader engaged.
What are the most significant aspects of a great crime novel, in your opinion?
There are several. One is I have to connect with the characters. I have to root for the good guy(s) to come out on top and the bad guys to pay for their misdeeds.
A second is the plot. It has to be realistic and believable. Part of that is getting the details right. As an example, I’m a ‘car guy,’ so any errors about them pull me out of the story.
The third is freshness. A story set in a small town or rural area always holds my interest more than another of the 10,000,000 set in New York, Los Angeles, or any other major city. A fresh take on any aspect of the crime earns bonus points in my book.
Your debut novel, Illegal Maneuvers, recently celebrated its first birthday. Do you have any advice for writers working on their first book?
1- Write a lot. Whether it’s good or bad is immaterial. What’s important is that you are writing. The more you write, the more you learn and develop a feel for what’s right and wrong, what works and doesn’t, and master your own distinctive voice – your unique way of telling your story.
2- Read a lot, especially in the genre you write. It’s the best way to see how successful authors in that genre do it. But read other genres, too. If you’re writing a mystery with a touch of romance, you need to know how to develop the romance as much as you need to know how to set up and reveal the clues leading to the killer.
3- Join or set up a critique group of writers who will give you honest and supportive feedback on your work. As with your reading, having writers in various genres commenting will only be to your benefit. And everyone in your group will know something you don’t – whether it’s how to knit a scarf or build a house – that can only strengthen your writing.
What does literary success look like to you?
I know I’ll never be the next Michael Connelly or Will Thomas (two of my favorite authors), and I’m fine with that. I always felt that if a person (or lots of people) read my book, and after they’re done, said, “I really enjoyed that.” I’d consider myself a success. Based on the reviews I’ve received, I am. So, thank you to all the readers who posted those reviews.
I never started writing with the main goal of being published. I always said if it happened, great, but if it didn’t, I’ve had tons of fun, met some really great people, and made some wonderful friends along the way. So in both ways, I’ve been a success in my book
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m on Facebook as ‘David A. Freas – Author.’