Welcome to Christian Warren Freed
Where are you from and where do you live now? I am originally from New York but a 20-year career in the US Army sent me all over the world and dumped me in North Carolina.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example, genre, title, etc. I write military fantasy. With an MA degree in military history as well as multiple years of combat experience I am able to take personal experiences, ancient battles, and combine them in a fantasy setting. Since retiring I have had 21 novels published. Hammers in the Wind: Book I of the Northern Crusade has been the overall #1 free book on Amazon 5 times in the past two years.
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. I remember walking by a light post at night and an idea struck. One of my longer stories: Beyond the Edge of Dawn came from a series of ideas that came to me while I was running around the bombed out palace where we had Saddam Hussein awaiting trial back in 2005. Inspiration can come from anyone and any situation.
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Yes! I can honestly say I have killed the same person in almost every one of my novels. Except for my memoirs from Iraq and Afghanistan of course. It is a liberating feeling. After all, how can I get in trouble for having a certain person devoured by a dragon??
Sort these into the order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) You have to have a solid plot. Otherwise, the characters will just stumble through situations that aren’t engaging or interesting. There have to be memorable characters- ones the readers will love and others they will despise. Creating emotion from the reader is extremely important. I have found that the world develops around my stories and continues to evolve as I explore deeper. Technically perfect, well, that’s what editors are for….
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? All of my books are in both E-book and print formats. At some point, I plan on verging into audio.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Of course, they are viewed differently. Let’s face it, anyone with internet access can ‘publish’ a book without going through the steps of finding an agent or and editor and then on to the big publishing house. That doesn’t mean it is quality or even that it should be published. I’ve read tons of bad self-published books. I think that if people put more time in their craft they would produce better products. Often times the issue isn’t in the writing, it’s the lack of editing, formatting, etc. Still, there are some self-published books that are just as good as traditionally published works- too bad they don’t get the same shot at fame.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are a tricky subject, at least in my opinion. We all want them, though some are willing to compromise integrity to get them. For me personally, I see the reviews as a way of spreading word about my books. Good or bad, word spreads. Amazon has their system in place that occasionally helps authors. At the end of the day, the reviews don’t make or break my books. I sell thousands of copies every year and some don’t have any reviews. At some point, it is about creating a name for yourself, a marketable brand.
What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Do everything, even if it seems silly, but do it within your budget. The only way to fail at marketing is by not trying. Build an email list. Join groups. The worst thing you could do is wait until AFTER you are published to begin marketing.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just discovered Django Wexler and his Shadow Campaign series. The Thousand Names was a fast read filled with good characters and good action.
Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? I would have to say, at this point in time- and I am not a man with very many favorite anythings- that my favorite author(s) is Steven Erickson and his cohort Ian Esslemont. Together they crafted the world of the Malazan Empire. Erickson has his sweeping epic the Malazan Book of the Fallen while Esslemont fills in the story gaps with his Malazan Empire books. Absolutely awesome books unlike most of the fantasy out there in the way they use different races, gods, and magic.
Book links, website/blog and author links: