Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Charles Freedom Long – I write Speculative Fiction about what might be. Psionics, multi-sensory human beings, telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, clairsentience, energy medicine, aliens and other worlds, awareness and ongoing communication between the living and the dead as a fact of daily life, and how that might affect the life and philosophy of a world.
I’ve lived and worked in the U.S, Canada, England and Africa. And learned that what we might think is “the way it is,” ain’t necessarily so. I talk with dead people all the time. So my books are meant to both entertain and crack open new doors of thought, to take readers to another realm of existence, where life continues beyond the change we call death.
Thanks so much, Charles, for joining me!
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
CFL: I tend to sit in the comfortable, red corduroy easy chair in my library, and ask my friends in spirit what they have in mind. I should probably mention here that I have one piece of paper that says I’m a psychologist and another that says I’m a medium. Once I am “speaking” with those in spirit, I either get a vision of a character, a setting, a theme—or in the case of my current WIP—an actual plot. I make notes and start the actual writing process.
JSC: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
CFL: All of them. I weigh what each person has to say about the book, look for possible applications to my writing style if I feel they have pointed out a stumbling block for more readers to enjoy the work. I’m on a mission to make communication with the dead more accessible and less “ooogy boogy” to people, and making social comment on our society under the guise of future or alien worlds, so, while my “message” will not change, how I present the material can.
JSC: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
CFL: About a year. I write complex stories, and it takes a lot of editing and rewriting to make them entertaining and engaging.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
CFL: There’s no such thing as a bad time to get a brilliant idea. I keep notepads everywhere in the house—even one on my nightstand, so I can wake up if I get one in a dream or wake up with an idea—if you don’t write it down, it floats away like the clouds float across the sky and, like them it’s gone.
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
CFL: Beings who are comfortable in whatever their sexuality is. I generally use aliens for this, because it’s easier for humans to accept it, but my humans (except for the bad guys) are never uptight about sexuality.
JSC: What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
CFL: I have to pick three that really struck me:
“Charles freedom Long is the new Science Fiction I have been looking for my entire life!”
“I quit serious reading about 50 years ago. Read on vacation mainly. This book epitomizes what I have always liked about Sci-Fi. When you can visualize what you read, you have returned. Thank you! “
“There are real philosophical and spiritual truths in here, but none of it is heavy handed and is enjoyable just on the merits of its gripping storyline.”
JSC: If you had a grant to write any book you wanted as a freebie without worrying about sales, what kind of story would you like to tell?
CFL: I write what I am moved to write. If it strikes a nerve in the people who read it, then I have done what I am supposed to do. I don’t ignore marketing, but it is secondary to writing my truth.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
CFL: I started reading at three. One of the most influential moments in my life came when I went to my local library—I was about seven or eight—and took out a book from the “adult” section. (Yes, I’m older than dirt, they had strict adult and child sections back then). The librarian looked at the book and at me, and asked me if I new it was from the adult section. I said yes. She then opened the book, found a section in it, asked me to read it. I did. She asked me to explain it. I did. She tore up my children’s library card and issued me an adult card.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
CFL: We have three wonderful Maltese dogs, Valentino, Katie and Tooki. “Tino” is 5 ½ pounds and 10 years old, Katie is his sister, and is 9 and about 12 pounds. Tooki is a rescue who is 5 years old and weighs 6 ½ pounds.
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
CFL: I build historically accurate World War II dioramas and models. I recently had an exhibition in a local gallery (in the local library, where else?) that drew over a thousand visitors. I do feel the presence of WWII veterans from the “other side” of life quite often.
And now for Charles’ new book: “Witches’ Gambit“:
FINALIST- BEST SF/F BOOK OF 2018
Aidan Ray, successful attorney—and psychic—secretly communes with the dead in a fascist fundamentalist society that would call her “Witch” and wipe her mind.
Earth is split into separate warring theocracies who want to dominate the planet. They are on the verge of expanding their conflict into outer space.
Michael Good, an executive who likes to live dangerously, leads a secret insurgency in Aidan’s home state.
Fate places them together. And together, they must face a crisis that could destroy the earth.
A mediating alien –who happens to be dead—has come to earth. His galaxy is on the verge of making a preemptive strike against earth, to prevent the spread of a species that resolves its problems by murdering each other—a diseased specimen that may have to be exterminated before it infects other worlds.
He ponders if earth is worth saving? And asks Aidan and Michael to plead humanity’s case to the council of the seven worlds, before the earth is destroyed.
But to do that, they must brave the hazardous passage to another galaxy from which they may never return.
Or have anything to return to.
Witches’ Gambit (Book One): Get It On Amazon
Witches’ Gambit (Book One): Get It On Amazon
Alvar’s Spear (Book One): Get It On Amazon
“Call me Vitok.”
Aidan Ray’s hand stopped in midair. She placed the white Queen down on the chessboard in front of her and looked around the living room. Rain drummed on the windows. The lights were dim, but bright enough against the darkness outside to see the shape forming in the center of the room.
It was light, pure blue light, somehow full of substance, enthralling. A swirling column, shimmering with energy. The voice rumbled out of it. Every light wave vibrated with the sound.
Without taking her eyes from the specter, she put her hands into a prayer mudra. Visions were one thing, visitations quite another. And this, she thought, is no earthly visitation.
A head appeared, atop the ethereal body, crowned with gleaming blue light waves swirling out like pinwheels to all sides.
Right in the middle of the head, where a face should be, a dark red, fist-sized eye pulsed. A concentric bright red second band jutted out from that. A thin, shimmering violet ring around that, an orange circle, and a bright yellow fifth glimmering halo band completed the multicolored sphere. Five penetrating lights, focused on Aidan like a superluminal spotlight.
The five-part spherical eye probed Aidan’s blank face. Shocked or not, she knew her expression admitted nothing. She had long ago learned anything anyone discovered about what she thought or felt was a threat. In the litigator’s jungle in which she thrived, only the strong survived.
Aidan caught her breath. Screwing up her courage, her voice quivering, she asked,” Those lights where your face should be, what are they?”
“Eyes We have five eyes.”
Aidan forced her blurring vision to focus. Eyes?
The thing spoke again.
“I am Nord,” it continued. “From the planet Narr. You, Aidan Ray, have been chosen to represent your species in a matter of grave significance.”