Meet L.A. Frederick

I’ve been wanting to do this interview for a while. It’s old-skool text, not the hip new YouTubes, because LA Frederick is based in England, and while they do have the electric on, they don’t have a very compatible time zone with New Zealand.

It’s not us, it’s them.

Anyway, I got an opportunity to interview a kindred spirit: find out how we view things from writing practice through to stress management. Please to enjoy this latest author interview.

Intro: tell me who you are, what you write, and why.

L.A. Frederick here, a sci-fi & fantasy writer who started scribbling down ideas in 2012 and from then on out the bug to write wouldn’t leave. I write because I have a hundred different story ideas in my head bursting to get out – across all manner of genres under the SFF umbrella – and the longer they stay in the old brainbox the worse my daydreaming gets!

Balance: almost every author I know finds it a challenge to balance “life” and “writing.” I’ve known writers to stop because their partners aren’t supportive, or get depressed because finding readers is hard. How do you manage blending All the Things?

I find keeping a wide variety of alcohol in the house helps.

But no seriously, it’s a good point, and in the year and a half I’ve been self-published I’ve found myself very up and down. The one thing I’ve noticed, although I think everyone experiences this once they pass thirty, is that I’m obsessed with time, and how little I have.

Day job, check, two kids, check, hectic life involving multiple moves and a flooded house, check! But you know what I’ve learnt in all the chaos — just keep swimming. I may have stolen that from a fish.

For me, and it’d be my tip as a newbie to any aspiring authors, get something writing related done every day – no matter how small. A hundred words today is a hundred more than you had yesterday. Reading every day helps too; it feels like and is writing research, which is a vital part of improving your craft.

So as long as each day I learn something new, read a little and write a little I’m happy and one day who knows it’ll all kick into gear. Man, I went all out on that one!

Method: tell me about how you write. Are you an outline or discovery writer? Do you use beta readers? What does editorial look like for you?

My first novel, The Rain, took me a little over four years to write! From my flat in London, I had no idea what I was doing and wildly punched out random “cool chapters or characters”. I could see them so clearly, but the story around them was like running blindfolded, at night, into a forest – there were a lot of bumps on the way.

Book two went similarly, but I was a little more attuned to writing. I’d practiced things and made tools like Grammarly and Autocrit part of my routine. I hired a new copy-editor, (recommended to me by a dashing Kiwi who reminds me of Negan every time I see his dapper profile pic) and utilised a team of beta/arc readers to iron out any final kinks.

Roll on book three. I have a broad strokes outline of forty chapters – focusing on beats, the five senses (some characters six) and what the point of the chapter is. Four weeks later and I have completed 12 chapters and punched out 25k.

I think my young, brash panster ways down in trendy London has been replaced by older, parenting life out in the countryside, which requires a lot more patience.

But, hey, as my real life slows down my fictional one speeds up…

Writer hero: who’s the writer you most want to be, when you grow up?

It sounds lame and obvious, but I’m not going to go trawling through my bookshelf or Amazon orders, for me the first name that springs to mind is George R.R. Martin; and not necessarily because of the genre. I’ve got some fantasy stuff to write, but I don’t envisage getting to it for years (sneaking in another tip here: the joy of being a writer – you may be stuck in a job you hate in five years time, but hey remember you’ve got that awesome fantasy series to write too).

I read A Song Of Ice And Fire back in early 2011 and was blown away by the scale and the multiple POV characters (Another reason I was slow writing book 1!), and then the TV series came out and I was like sweet Mother of Neptune I want my name in lights or something like that? I love the idea of writing stuff that people remember, George R.R. Martin is one human being that’ll be remembered forever – mostly for making us all wait so long for Winds of Winter!

Favorite book: You’re on a desert (not dessert) island. What’s the one book you’ve got?

If I give you a book can I live on a dessert island? I think it’d be my jam. Oh, that’s bad, sorry. Let’s delete that part.

It sounds morbid, but I’d pick Watership Down – the lingering dread throughout grips me every time.

Movies: Top five, and why. Also, if one of your books was turned into a movie, a) which one, b) who’s the director, and c) stars cast?

Oh, yes, the good stuff. I thought you’d never ask!

In no particular order, because I defy you to rank seminal works:

  1. Ghostbusters (1984) – Bill Murray is the funniest man alive, this film validates it
  2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) – I’m still a big kid at heart, and this is utterly bonkers and makes me feel young every time I watch it.
  3. Back To The Future – What the hell is a gigawatt? Marty and the Doc are sensational in this film.
  4. Lord Of The Rings (I’m cheating, that’s one movie!) – you’re not living right if you don’t do a LOTR marathon at least once a year. I push for once a week but get rebuffed by my better half. Epic, great story, Sir Ian McKellen and Sean Bean; what more do you want!
  5. Jurassic Park – life finds a way.

I quote these five films way more than I should.

Honourable mentions for Terminator 2, The Prestige, The Departed, The Shawshank Redemption and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Sorry, got carried away.

For me it’d be:

  1. The Rain: The Mutant Rain Book One
  2. Christopher Nolan – I’d demand he Batman the shit out of my novel!
  3. Reinhardt – Christian Bale, Evaline – Christine Taylor (curveball but that’s how I picture the character), Doctor Fattal – Sendhil Ramamurthy, Darkmore – Russell Crowe (shaved head, and angry), Doctor Zhirkov – Christopher Waltz (putting on a posh English accent, occasionally slipping into a Russian twang)

I could go on forever with the cast, but I’ll stop boring you there.

Hard choices: You’re trapped on a mountain after a terrible plane accident.  When faced with the dilemma of eating the dead, which ones do you start on first?

I’d pick the tallest, most robust body and sit on their back. Establish the biggest body who could also fit on their back, and then I’d slide down the mountain while dining all the way down. I put too much thought into that, didn’t I? This interview is terminated, isn’t it?

To-dos: What’s the book/story you’ve most wanted to write but didn’t, and why not?

Over the past seven years — I thought it was five but no it’s seven, I’m getting old! — I’ve had a bunch of story ideas pop into my head and cause me to relate to that gif where the man is turning his head to look back at another woman. You know the one.

I have a space opera idea is still burning a hole in my head.

In my head its Game of Thrones meets Star Wars with some LOTR and Bucky O’Hare – oh no, I’ve said too much – and I plan on writing it when I wrap up The Mutant Rain series.

Your life in horror: It’s the apocalypse (you choose the type). Who’s on your team? Who dies first?

Zombie, a giant corporate fuck up! I live in England, we’re having a crack at it as I write, so it’ll be central London evading the hordes of lecherous undead politicians. Wait hang on, that’s happening now.

My dream team:

  • Sean Bean, Hugh Jackman & Dwayne Johnson: the muscle
  • Leonardo Di Caprio: he’s my wingman
  • Zoe Saldana & Scarlett Johansson: team assassins
  • Danny Glover & Mel Gibson: the wisecracking firepower, and because I want to hear Danny Glover popping zombies shouting, “It’s just been revoked!”
  • David Jason (As Del Boy), Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly: the comic relief
  • Jeff Goldblum & Ralph Fiennes: the sophisticated gents about town
  • Harrison Ford: the lone explorer
  • Eva Green (Penny Dreadful get up): team sorcerer
  • And Lena Hadley: because she’s awesomeness personified, and if it all goes pear-shaped she can be my Queen and sort the rest out.

First to die, oh this is hard, we trained for this. We worked hard, formed a tight-knit community. It didn’t matter that Sean Bean was always drunk and didn’t get on with Harrison Ford. We were tight.

Okay, fine, Jeff Goldblum. He was too busy staring at a cup of water and got devoured.

Author to watch: who are the top three authors you think are up and coming stars?

An author bud of mine, Lou Paduano is doing some pretty cool stuff with his Greystone series. A dark, urban setting with a murder mystery in the middle of book one, oh and an Orc! Worth a look.

Another good egg in the writing world is Gareth L Powell, without question the most helpful author I’ve come across on Twitter. As I wrote this I went to double check the Twittersphere to be sure the L existed, or if it was in my mind, it’s there, and the first tweet I saw was this from Gareth:

His constant willingness to help coupled with Embers of War make him a star in my eyes. It’s a great story in the expanse of space with some genuine, relatable human beings caught up in the aftermath of war.

And, finally, there’s no way I could list three up, and coming authors without a special mention to one who’s inadvertently (probably against his will) become my fountain of knowledge and mentor! Mr Richard Parry, currently working my way through Tyche’s Flight and I’m hooked. The story oozes the personality of the man who wrote it, sharp, witty and a lot of fun. Now, cough, cough, about my payment?

Secrets: Tell me something you’ve not told anyone before. Pro tip: your family probably don’t know this site exists, and my SEO is terrible so they’ll never find it.

Oh man, you know when things are bad when you sit and struggle to think of “which one” to tell. I tell you what I’ll fire out a few:

  • There is one Disney film that I cry to every time I watch a particular part, without fail. Happy and sad tears, a double combo.
  • I have read the entire Twilight series – I kept waiting for a big fight scene…I’m still waiting.
  • My favourite soundtrack at present…The Greatest Showman.

Have I humiliated myself enough yet?

Ideas: Readers often like to know where we get our inspiration. Tell me about how you got the ideas for your latest book.

One song, it’s in my top three all-time favourite songs, Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones. In 2012 I was still living the life in beautiful London town and on a cold, dingy walk home from Clapham Junction station I had it blaring out in my headphones.

I couldn’t stop thinking about a city besieged with corruption, appalling weather and the ordinary everyday hero grafting away (like London really). From there it escalated to all things sci-fi from my reading and viewing experiences and took on a mind of its own. The Mutant Rain has always been a bit of a runaway train in my head, which I’m cool with as my debut series. I’ll put future series into more order — famous last words.

The future: where do you see yourself in five years, and why? What do you hope for, or fear will come to pass?

Writing full-time, or potentially more realistically working a part-time job to keep the man at bay but have more time to write, hone my skills and learn the gazillion items that come with being an Indie author. Don’t get me wrong I love a lot of those items, especially the design elements.

Just as important as the above, I want to be in a position where I can genuinely pass on knowledge, tips and good advice. I’m only eighteen months into this gig, and in that time I’ve had another kiddie, a flooded house moved twice and cracked my wrist. So my fears have kind of already come to pass, no time to write or think about writing (To me a hugely important part of the process).

Touch wood I’m in a groove now and have found ways to work around that troublesome thing called life!

Here’s to 2019.

You can find out more at and @L_A_Frederick. If free stories are your thing, grab The Last Doctor here:

Discover more from Parrydox

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.