INTERVIEW: F.E. FEELEY, JR

Long and Short Reviews welcomes F.E. Feely, Jr., , whose debut novel The Haunting of Timber Manor was recently released from Dreamspinner Publishing. He’s currently working on a book inspired by Meatloaf’s song “Objects in the Rear View Mirror.”

” Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell 2: Back into hell was one of the first cd’s I ever listened to and fell in love with,” he told me. “Jim Steinman was an incredible writer and the theatrics and passion of the music touched my heart. The one that really did it, the song that still sends chills down my spine, is Objects..and I hope I can write something that is as awesome as that song. ”

F.E. has wanted to be a writer since he was a kid. He used to devour books—they provided window for him to climb out of and into another world to escape from being bullied at school and other issues he had.

“I loved to disappear in those pages, soak myself in the mind of an author and disappear. As an adult, there are still times when I want to go back and do the same thing. Growing up, sucks sometimes and so instead of reading someone else’s work, I want to disappear into my own imagination and translate that to the page so If there is a person out there like me, the journey that I go on wont have go alone,” he explained. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling really.”

He’s been writing, off and on, since he was in high school. Every year, for Halloween, one of the English teachers would host a scary story contest. The two years he entered, he won. He thought it would just be a hobby for him—he would start, stop, and discard whatever he was working on. However, when he was writing The Haunting of Timber Manor, the manuscript became so long he considered submitting it.

“I googled a publisher, finished the manuscript, submitted it, and then *poof* the rest is history,” he said.
F.E.’s favorite author is Stephen King. He began reading the Dark Tower series when he was in the sixth grade and he was hooked.

“His series was probably my ‘Tolkein’ and a series I have read over and over again with the same enthusiasm,” he told me. “The Stand, The Shining, The Dark House, The Regulators, Desperation, and on and on all these books I just loved. I love the intricate world he creates, the characters that you see as three dimensional, the chills, the thrills, and heartbreak and humanness of people. M-O-O-N that spells humanness. ”

“What is the hardest part about writing for you?” I asked.

” Writing isn’t easy. One of the worst things an author hears is ‘oh, I can write a book’ from people who haven’t sat down to actually try. It’s like climbing a mountain and understanding that bringing the plot together is like a mountain climber being careful with each and every single step he or she may take knowing that if one misstep could lead to disaster. It’s a sleepless, fevered, sometimes excited, sometimes mundane, sometimes mind numbingly challenging task. Yet when you finish, you look back on your mountain and nod to yourself saying, ‘Yep. I did that.'”

He tries to write 3,000 words a day—sometimes he makes the goal, and more, and some days it’s like pulling teeth. Usually, it takes him all day.

“The house is empty, the house is quiet, I do my work out, shower, and start writing,” he told me. “If I can’t seem to get started on the first try Ill take a break and return or if I am on a hot streak I just keep going until I’ve exhausted myself and then I stop. Everyone has their own way of doing things and that is simply mine.”

“When did you first consider yourself a writer?”

“I think the moment I got my first contract and nearly fell over dead from shock. It was so surreal and …..breathtaking and mindblowing. I mean, I had always been writing here and there, bits of ideas, and then walking away from it. So I have always been a writer, but then I realized, ‘Holy Crap I can get paid for this.’ I felt like I had arrived in the land of the writers. Then you have that freak out moment where your like, ‘What if nobody likes it?’ Then you have to take a step back and remember that you write for you, not for them — I don’t mean that in a bad way but in that as artists you’ll always turn back to that medium in which to communicate and express your heart.”

When he’s not writing, he loves listening to music, being political, educating himself, talking with his partner, grocery shopping, and cooking.

“God, I love to cook!” he exclaimed. “It calms me down. It’s something that lets me think. I have this insatiable need to feed peoples so when I cook, I cook a lot and love it when I have people over to eat my food. It’s very satisfying. ”
F.E. is a political person and refuses to toe party lines.

“I feel like, if one party gets too much power for too long they become fat and bloated and out of control so I am usually bitching about something or another. My partner and I actually met one day and the first thing we did was debate politics. It was love at first sight and we have been together almost three years now. I think one of the things we were able to come together on, given our sexuality and relationship together, was marriage equality. I love the law and reading legal crap and sometimes get caught up in the passion of Constitutional questions and such so, recently, with the Supreme Court taking up PROP 8 and DOMA we have been really paying attention to not only the cases themselves but the reaction of people out there. You know, I don’t think in history anyone who ever lived a single day on this planet would figure that sometime in their life they would find themselves or their peers in the middle of a civil rights debate or find that their future rested in the hands of politicians or the nine wise people on The Supreme Court. It’s a very interesting , personal, and bothersome thing to listen to people speak so passionately about this subject. It’s one thing to be commenting on a bit of law and giving an opionion on it, but when you actually have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, it takes on a whole new level of involvement. It isn’t an easy thing to listen to when people want to equate you or your relationship to some pretty awful things. But, I think in the long run, gay people will eventually win over the hearts and minds of the country and come out on top…so to speak.”

About the Author: F.E.Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Services, having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, turned college student pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas, where he is engaged to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1 ½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser. As a young man, reading took center stage in his life especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice and whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that the readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’, dreamer of a man with a wonderful partner who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories. Enjoy!

4_12 Interview Color coverWhile recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compel him to visit.

Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.

Sherriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows protect the young man who captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press

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