FF: Well, to start with, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve done so many things in so many different areas. Mostly, I’ve been an entrepreneur but I always wanted to be a writer. I started writing guest columns for local newspapers then went on to write non-fiction books on Internet marketing, online shopping and starting an online business. I’ve sold over 50,000 copies of those books. But now I’ve turned my attention to writing novels. In a way, my non-fiction taught me how to create a logical progression of ideas. In the case of fiction, it helped me create an entertaining and logical plot. But though I can write interesting characters and unpredictable plots, I need to have a story polisher ‘beef up’ my prose. I use one for every one of my stories.
My work is very eclectic. I was told that I’m a lot like Michael Crichton because I write in many genres – techno-thrillers, action/adventures, SyFy, speculative fiction – and now, mainstream fiction with my next novel called MURRAN.
I really wrote my first story in grammar school. It was called ‘I Made history’ and was about a metal toy truck in the 1940s that ended up being melted down for weapons ending up in the Enola Gay and dropped the first atom bomb on Japan. Nuclear holocaust. Jeez! What a mind for grammar schooler!
I’ve also written many commentaries for local newspapers. One column I wrote was to my son on Christmas Eve. It was entitled ‘Yes Christopher, There Still Is a Santa Claus’. It was a play on the famous editorial about Virginia and her belief in Santa. I received calls all Christmas Eve Day from people who said it touched them. I was so surprised at the response and made me see the power an author has with words.
CW: Give us an overview of your books.
FF: As I said, I write in many genres.
My first book, CYBERKILL, was a cyber-thriller. It asked the question – ‘How far will an artificial intelligence go for revenge?’ The answer was ‘pretty far’ even to the extent that it stalked the hero’s little daughter through cyberspace and gain possession of a genetic weapon that could destroy all of humanity.
My next set of books were a trilogy called ‘The Chronicles of Jeremy Nash’ – ‘A Taste of the Apocalypse’, ‘SEED’, and ‘Black Sun’. These are in the action/adventure genre – a combination of Indian Jones meets National Treasure meets the X-files. Nash is a skeptic of any and all conspiracy theories, urban legends and such but is drawn into pursuing one when it threatens his life, reputation or the life of a family member. The first deals with where the body of Jesus Christ is buried today, the second deals with the Hopi End of Times prediction, and the last deals with Nazi crypto history.
My next book is called THE ORACLE. It’s a love letter to the Golden Age of Science Fiction writers and TV shows. The book follows the same formula as Ray Bradbury’s ILLUSTRATED MAN with a group of short stories within a larger story. The short stories in THE ORACLE all end with a twist similar to the Twilight Zone episodes.
CW: Who/what was your biggest inspiration?
FF: Many years ago I devoured all the works of the Golden Age of Science Fiction authors like Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein. They inspired me to want to write. But what inspired me as to HOW I write – that is the movies. I watch tons and tons of movies. I read few novels. Yes, I know. That breaks a cardinal rule of writing but not I. I write my stories AS movies applying what I have learned as to plot, character and setting by watching them.
CW: What has been your greatest challenge?
FF: The story I am writing now.
Think Herman Wouk’s ‘Winds or War’ – with a twist. It’s the story of a young American boy coming of age against the backdrop of World War Two Japan. It’s titled GAIJIN and follows the same formula as Wouk’s book – but more complex. There are three detailed plot threads – pre-war and wartime political Japan, the Pacific War itself, and all lived through the experiences of a Japanese family– including the young American teenager who near the end of the book, climbs into a Japanese Zero to join in the kamikaze attacked on the American Fleet off Okinawa.
How’s that for a challenge to write.
CW: What do you most want readers to take from your book(s)?
FF: An entertaining read – and maybe something they never knew before.
CW: Are you actively trying to have your books made into a play or a movie?
FF: Yes. CYBERKILL has been adapted to a screenplay and is being marketed now. MURRAN, my next book to be published this year, will also be adapted to a screenplay.
CW: What’s next for you as an author?
FF: Marketing MURRAN and making it successful. MURRAN can be the book that makes me a noted author because it’s a great evergreen story and will be very controversial.
FF: MURRAN offers a very different image of Black America. Not the one peddled by certain political quarters today. It details the story of young Black teenager attracted to the gang culture in Brooklyn New York in the 1980s. It describes vividly, and without hold back any punches, the street life and gang culture he encounters. Certain Black characters use the ‘n’ word liberally and obscenity is used appropriately. This will most certainly offend those who draw the race card on every occasion.
Trey, the Black teenager, is framed for the murder of a rival drug gang leader and he takes advantage of his teacher’s invitation to visit Africa. His teacher is a Maasai warrior that are called MURRAN. Trey experiences what a true African culture is and the values that the Maasai tribe hold and practice unlike the gang warriors he left in Brooklyn. Over time he embraces those values, goes through the MURRAN initiation and kills his lion. He is then taken under the tutelage of a laibon – a Maasai shaman – and is old to return to America, bring with him the values he has learned from the Maasai to his ‘tribe’ and face the gang leader that framed him.
CW: How did you pick a publisher or decide to self-publish? Do you have an agent?
FF: My publisher, Indigo Ink Publishing, found me through a PR person I was using at the time.
CW: Do you have suggestions to other writers about the writing process and publishing?
FF: Don’t write for money or fame. Write because you enjoy telling a story. If that story is good enough, the money and fame will come. And never quit. A fellow writer, Paul McCarthy, told me to write as many books as possible. Get those books out into the marketplace. If they are good, when one hits, readers will go back and read all your others. Keep producing. Never stop.
CW: Where can someone buy your books?
CW: What would you like your Writer’s Epitaph to say?
FF: That was a great read!