Today we talk to Frank Freudberg.

Frank FreudbergQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I am a novelist, journalist and ghostwriter. I enjoy writing about underdogs and their battles with forces seemingly more powerful than they are — and I particularly like watching the little guy prevail. I live in a Philadelphia suburb with my fiancé and son, and I’ve contributed to Reuters, Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Der Spiegel and others. My work has been mentioned in many notable publications including Time, Newsweek, and The Guardian.

Q) Tell us about your latest Why do you think the readers will like it?

The novel Find Virgil takes readers inside the mind of a deranged serial killer – and by the time readers get half-way through the story, they usually find themselves rooting for him. And lots of readers have said that that gives them an eerie feeling.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

It’s a line from some dialogue. A senior FBI official, out of frustrations, shouts the words to a roomful of agents. It’s an order.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

Extensive. I spent months in the library and online. I traveled the country following the exact route my (anti)hero Martin Muntor takes on his mission. I tried to do what Muntor did – although I wasn’t trying to achieve lethal results, but I proved to myself what he was doing something that could actually be accomplished.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

Martin Muntor is definitely my favorite; he’s an underdog who, in a non-traditional way, prevails.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

Muntor is a compendium of several people – some real, some imagined – who is driven to get what he wants, regardless of the cost to him or his victims.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

My style is sparse. I’ve been criticized by some reviewers for not giving the reader enough information or description, but in fact the opposite is true. My style is designed to cause readers to see my scenes and characters vividly within their own imagination, which is more effective, in my opinion, than spoon-feeding the story to readers by describing everything in endless specificity.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

Three years; Find Virgil and Martin Muntor and the other characters are based on a story I wrote in the mid-nineties. Ten years after that book was published – to moderate sales and extensive reviews both loving it and hating it – it kept tugging at me until I realized that I could make a few substantial changes in the plot and wind up with a story that was twice as powerful and, I hope twice as satisfying.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I’ve been writing since I was five, with varying degrees of diligence and perseverance. I’ve wanted to be a writer from as far back as I can remember. My parents encouraged it and taught me to love reading.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

My hands-down favorite writer is the recently departed novelist Thomas Berger who wrote 23 amazing novels, including Little Big Man. He does so much with so few words, it’s hard to believe. His insight into human psychology and human nature is remarkable. While reading Berger, you get the impression he’s in the room with you, grinning and nodding along with you as you immerse yourself in the world he’s created just for you.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

Knowing when to stop. In theory, I could keep digging deeper into every story I’ve ever written indefinitely, but then I’d have no story since it would never be finished. That’s why I have people read the work while it’s in progress and give me invaluable feedback. It’s hard for me to step back and say, “Okay! I’ve finally got it!” There’s always one more weed to pull or bare spot to plant in.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

It’s well-worn advice, but: put black on white to write, and try everything and anything to get the attention of agents and publishers to get published. And most importantly, try to accept that there are no rules (despite what you may read online or in books and articles).  You only fail when you quit.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

I have now completed a new noir-ish novel called Don’t Feel Bad, about an investigator for Child Protective Services in fictional Brandywine County, Pa., who gets conned by a femme fatale into helping her set up her affluent husband for a multimillion-dollar divorce and child custody settlement. He resists at first, but eventually caves and agrees to commit a felony (just this once) in order to help her implement her scheme. And that’s where everything goes horribly wrong.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

It would be Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. To me, it’s the greatest American novel ever written. If I grow to be half the writer Thomas Berger was, I’ll feel I’ve arrived.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

  1. Get a front row seat in the mind of a serial killer.
  2. Slowly come around to seeing that he has a valid point, despite his extreme measures.
  3. The twists and turns will have you hanging on and turning the pages.
  4. The writing makes the story vivid in your imagination.
  5. You won’t be able to wait to see how the cat-and-mouse game between the serial killer and his pursuers turns out.


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