Edward J. McFadden III Is another one of those exceptional authors The Daily Bookworm has the privilege to interview for you. We thank Edward for taking time away from his busy day and allowing us to distract him from working on his current project for our interview.
TDBW: When did you start writing?
Edward: I don’t recall exactly when I started writing, but my first memory of writing anything substantial was in my first year of college. I took a creative writing class to fill out my schedule. I was a business major, and I remember the Professor, Dr. David Axelrod, pulling me aside after class and saying, “Your story is pretty good. You business types aren’t supposed to be able to do this.” My first yearning to write was when I finished The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was twelve. I wanted to create something that would move people in the same way. Make them feel that sense of loss when the tale was done.
TDBW: What was the first story you remember writing?
Edward: The first serious story I wrote and sent out for publication was an homage to Agatha Christie called The Golden Cat. It was the first story I mailed off to a publisher. I’ll never forget the feeling when I got that acceptance letter from The Arizona Literary Review, and with a check no less! And at pro rates! (Which at the time was a whopping 3cents a word.) That story has never been reprinted and I plan to have it open my first short story collection, if and when I get one published.
TDBW: What genre is your most preferred?
Edward: Mixing genres is my thing, for better or worse. I’m mainly an SF/F guy, but I really enjoy crime, and humorous crime. My novels have been called Horror, SF, F, Thriller, and Mystery.
TDBW: What challenges you the most in your writing?
Edward: I need complete concentration to write first draft material. Finding quiet time that coincides with inspiration is always a challenge. The slightest distraction “scares away the monster” as Stephen King would say.
TDBW: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Edward: I really enjoy the early stages of creating a novel when the story is being molded and most of the work is in your mind. Working out problems, developing the plot, building characters. At some point in the process it flips from being a fun, interesting project, to really hard work.
TDBW: What do you like least about being an author?
Edward: The frustration that no matter how good the book is not enough people will see it and read it. Like most of the US population when it comes to income equality, the writing spoils go to a very small percentage of writers. I’m not in this for the money, but making 50cents and hour is a bit hard to take.
TDBW: How many books do you currently have available?
Edward: Wow. I have two novels available, one stand alone novella, and many stories in anthologies. I also have a new novel coming out June 6th from Crossroad Press called HOAXERS. Plus, there’s a bunch of stuff dating back to my editor days. All this can be found on my Amazon author page.
Several of my books are also available at Audible.com.
The Black Death of Babylon
TDBW: What projects are you currently working on?
Edward: I am currently struggling with what book to write next. There are two factions fighting within me. Half of McFadden wants to follow the rules, write a mainstream book that fits into a nice neat category, in a clearly defined genre. This would give me my greatest chance at a wider audience. The other half of me wants to do what I’ve always done: focus on originality and let the chips fall where they may. Problem is, mixing genres is usually a commercial no no.
TDBW: Do you have any books coming out soon?
Edward: Yes. My humorous crime novel HOAXERS will be out June 6th, 2014 from Crossroad Press. I’m particularly proud to be joining Crossroad Press whose stable of writers includes Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, Ed Gorman, Tom Piccirilli, Trent Zelazny, Al Sarrantonio, Gary Braunbeck, Nancy Kilpatrick, Michael Laimo, Bill Pronzini, Tom Monteleone, and many other talented authors.
Kearny and Donny MacGregor are famous hoaxers whose lineage can be traced to a long line of conmen and tricksters. Hours before the brothers perform a successful crop circle hoax, they are approached about creating an earth light hoax for the mayor of Stony Creek, the Bigfoot capital of northern California. Earth light is a general term used to describe unknown lights in the sky, and the mayor of Stony Creek believes that this second “phenomenon” will help pull the town from its revenue slump. After several successful earth light hoaxes, a loose group of truth seekers forms, led by Sheriff Nicki Stanford and local Bigfoot debunker Possum, and the chase is on.
Also, Lucky 13: Thirteen Tales of Crime and Mayhem edited by Edward J. McFadden III will be released in May. Table of contents:
Quarter, Quarter, How I Wonder by Trent Zelazny
The Riddled Heart by Jessica McHugh
A Dollar and a $cream by Matt Schiariti
The Dance by Sarah A. Hoyt
Take One at a Rolling Donut by Brady Allen
The Devil’s Own Luck by Danielle Ackley-Mcphail
Rolling the Bones by Patrick Thomas
What Happens in Vegas by Robert Waters
TAMAM SHUD by Georgina Morales
This Is Only Going To Hurt by G. G Elmer Munson
Missing: Apple of Discord by Diane Raetz
Cursed Luck by John L. French
Behind Closed Doors by Michael Laimo
TDBW: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
Edward:That’s hard. Series would have to be Dark Tower. Other favorite books include: The Lord of the Rings, The Forever War, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, The Bottoms, Never Let Me Go, On Writing, Orbital Decay, and The Last Kind Words.
TDBW: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Edward: JRR Tolkien, Robert B. Parker, Poe, King, Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Joe Landsdale, Jack Vance, Allen Steele, Roger Zelazny, and Joe Haldeman.
TDBW: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
Edward: The Lord of the Rings is responsible for me being a writer. Edger Allen Poe’s
work really shaped me, and Elmore Leonard’s books taught me to write looser.
TDBW: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
Edward: No music. Complete silence. Slightest thing throws me out of rhythm.
TDBW: Any hobbies?
Edward: I ski, surf, and do my best to stay upright.
TDBW: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
Edward: Edward J. McFadden III juggles a full-time career as a university administrator and teacher, with his writing aspirations. His first published novel, a mysterious-dark-thriller called The Black Death of Babylon, was published by Post Mortem Press, and his second novel, Our Dying Land was recently released by Padwolf Publishing, Inc.. His steampunk fantasy novelette, Starwisps, appeared in the anthology Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and was selected for the Tangent 2012 recommended reading list. Ed is the author/editor of: Anywhere But Here, Jigsaw Nation, Deconstructing Tolkien: A Fundamental Analysis of The Lord of the Rings (re-released in eBook format Fall 2012), Time Capsule, Epitaphs (W/ Tom Piccirilli), The Second Coming, Thoughts of Christmas, and The Best of Pirate Writings. He has had more than 50 short stories published in places like Tales of the Talisman, Heater Magazine, Gothic Blue Book, Apocalypse 13, From Beyond the Grave, PRIMER Magazine, Fantastic Futures 13, Defending the Future: Dogs of War, Hear Them Roar, CrimeSpree Magazine,Terminal Fright, Cyber-Psycho’s AOD, The And, and The Arizona Literary Review. Over the last seven years he has written six novels, all of which are at various stages of rewriting and submission for publication. In the 90s Ed was editor of Pirate Writings Magazine, which became Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. He also edited Cosmic SF. See The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction for full details. He lives on Long Island with his wife Dawn, their daughter Samantha, and their mutt Oli.
My website: www.edwardmcfadden.com
TDBW: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?
Edward: Absolutely! Here is the first chapter of Our Dying Land. Hope you enjoy it.
A vine wrapped around Adan’s index finger, the tip of which pulsed with dull pain. He opened his eyes, and harsh sunlight momentarily blinded him and sent a spasm of energy down his spine. It was midday, and the lazy clouds overhead did nothing to mask the grief and dread Adan felt within the land. Gently taking the vine between his forefinger and thumb, he caressed the creeper delicately, and it slipped from around his finger like a snake with leaves.
A sharp chest pain brought Adan upright, his eyes still adjusting to the light. He heard the moaning of the trees, the cry of the grape vines, and the earth itself sighing under a heavy burden. The land was dying. Adan knew that for sure. Why? How soon? These were the questions that constantly tormented him.
Adan closed his eyes tight as the photosynthetic energy surged through him. His muscles twitched, his heart clenching like a fist. He let his mind reach out, and a spark zapped the synapses of his brain. He felt Grom beneath him, and the tree branches that supported him quivered. Delicate white vines penetrated Adan’s pores, and his mind dove deeper, passing through Grom and into his roots with a flash of energy.
They let the energy build their spirits, and strengthen them.
The symbiosis Adan shared with Grom, and all his plants, gave him unusual vision. Grom’s roots snaked beneath the foyer, clinging to the underside of the cold flagstone. There the roots of Grom met the crimson of the many white birch trees that surrounded Adan’s house. New beginnings—that was what the trees stood for—and they had been the first things he had planted when he arrived.
Within the dirt and sand, the crimson of the White Children and the dark brown of Grom intertwined and became one, sharing sustenance as well as information. Through the birches, into the orchard of almond trees, the energy carried Adan’s consciousness. Under the wheat fields—their roots thin and delicate—and into the cypress forest that surrounded the orchard, then on into the lands of his neighbors, Adan felt the living world around him.
Beyond his land, the feeling of death and decay became stronger. Even the air seemed to carry putrescence. Distorted images of deformed trees, black flowers, and withering vines filled Adan’s imagination. Rot seeped from the earth, rancid water infecting the very heart of the world. And something was there….buried deep within the soil; something was sucking the life out of anything it touched.
At first it had been nothing more than a feeling, but now Adan knew it was much more. Whatever was infecting the land hid itself well, and neither Adan, Grom, nor the White Children could halt the decay, or locate its source. Pain seared Adan’s mind, and he backed off his connection with Grom, pausing within the emaciated fields of the Santiago farm. Adan shuddered, the bleakness of the dying land shaking him, pulling at his subconscious to act. But what could he do? He felt the withering vines on the outskirts of the Santiago farm, the blight of their trees. The trees didn’t moan there, they screamed.
Over the years, Adan had given of himself, and his kin, to help the lands about him become plush and successful, though their owners didn’t know this. Adan often thought some of them suspected he was doing something…why else would their particular stretch of the Painted Desert be more fertile than even Adan could have imagined? It was his success that brought them here, going back a generation. The more Adan released his energy into the land, the more he helped his neighbors, the stronger and more fertile his lands became. That was exactly how his parents had told him it would be.
A tall man, Adan’s long, narrow head looked like it had been crushed in a vise. Above his deep-set brown eyes, shaggy black eyebrows reached upward toward his flat forehead. His tanned skin glistened in the heat, a thin coating of perspiration covering his face. He looked like his head was set atop an old mangrove tree, thick muscles supporting his oblong skull. Adan was someone people noticed visually.
Energy coursed through Adan, and in his mind’s eye he saw the many totems of his carving, carefully placed at the end of each row of trees. He created the totems from dead almond branches, and each statue held a piece of Adan’s life energy, and thus protected the trees. They were a mix of recognizable animals: snakes, rabbits, and Gila monsters. There were also sculptures of people. Most were bearded, like tiny dwarves, and were painted in a variety of pastel colors. Adan made the paints from the many colorful rocks that decorated his property.
Adan hadn’t left the farm in six years, and he had forgotten what it was like to have people watch him on the streets of Holbrook. Most people regarded him with casual disdain, as they do anything that isn’t the norm. He had learned to ignore it, smiling extra broadly, waving to people he hardly knew, and being polite to everyone. Yet the most keen that lived in Holbrook stayed clear of Adan. They sensed he was different, and in their minds that made him dangerous. So when Adan met Conrad, he decided his trips into town were no longer necessary.
A thin wail alerted Adan to a visitor, and seconds later, the totem in his vegetable garden reached out to him. A stray aphid crawled across a head of lettuce, its cornicles piercing the white veins that lined the head of romaine. The dark purple, oval insect usually attacked in force, the entire colony feeding on one plant or tree, but this one appeared to be an outsider.
Insects were a normal part of any ecosystem, but Adan curtailed the harmful ones. He felt the lettuce sapping his strength, wailing for help that only he could bring. Sunlight heated the leaves, and Adan pushed all his energy outward.
The bug paused, its legs frozen, antennae still. Then a thin tendril of smoke rose as the aphid burned away, a miniature black cloud lifting from the lettuce, dissipating in the afternoon breeze. The energy level eased, and Adan felt his strength returning.
Grom bumped Adan as he sat, the tree sensing it was time to break their connection. The buzzing of honeybees filled Adan’s mind as he raced back to the house, the roots carrying his thoughts, his life energy. He thought of the great bee hives he maintained behind the shakers’ quarters. The bees were Adan’s army—figuratively and literally. They pollinated the almond trees, they helped Adan defend the property from unwanted pests, and often they alerted him to problems the totems couldn’t sense. A communal relationship wasn’t possible with the bees—just like it wasn’t possible with another human—but the bees spoke with the trees, and they connected with Grom, who spoke with Adan. Roots upon roots intertwined, so that everything on the farm, and large stretches beyond, was connected and together.
Adan was himself again and back in the courtyard, eyes wide open, when the doubt and fear he felt within the land faded.
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