Patrick Freivald, is a high school teacher, a beekeeper, and author of zombie apocalypse/high school novel, Twice Shy and its sequel, Special Dead. Patrick kindly agreed to answer questions about his writing and reading for me.
What are you working on right now? What’s next for your YA audience?
Right now I’m working on a supernatural thriller that stars the leader of a team of augmented human beings trying to bring down a cartel boss whose drugs cause euphoria, superhuman strength, and homicidal mania.
My next YA book, Special Dead (Twice Shy, book 2) comes out July 12th from JournalStone Publishing, and Blood List, a thriller I co-wrote with my twin brother about a serial killer who’s trying to save his father’s life, comes out in November. I’m just finishing up a nasty little Christmas horror story for a charity anthology, too.
Have you ever been required to tone down the horror element in your novels for your YA audience?
I haven’t toned down the horror elements in my novels for YA readers. YA readers are smart, and they want books that are smart. YA horror readers want books that contain horror, and horror by definition is horrific!
How did you come up with the idea of a zombie high school student?
The idea for Ani came from a comment that a reader made on FlashFictionOnline.com about my short story, A Taste for Life. The comments have long-since been deleted, but he said something to the effect of, “You know Zombie fiction will have come into its own when you see zombies in high school romance.” I laughed and thought, “Challenge accepted!”
Do your students know you’re an author? What’s the funniest thing a student has said to you about your writing?
My students do know I’m an author, and many have read and enjoyed Twice Shy. The funniest thing I’ve heard from a student (who didn’t know I was there) is, “Ugh. Why would anyone write that?” I guess she wasn’t my target audience.
The fun thing about Twice Shy is that different people get very different experiences from the book. Some find it touching, others tragic, others think it’s hilarious–and I think that’s wonderful.
Aside from Stephen King, who are your favorite authors?
Asking me for a favorite author is like asking me for a favorite book or a favorite food… I can’t just pick one. I’m a fan of Peter Straub, Robert Jordan, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Sebastian Junger, J.A. Konrath, David McCullough, George R. R. Martin, Jeff Strand, Peter Clines… How much time do you have? I just finished NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and it wasn’t perfect, but it was excellent. David Moody’s Autumn series is fantastic.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Forever Man by Brian W. Matthews — it’s fantastic — and I’m lucky enough to have an advanced copy of Steel Breeze by Douglas Wynne, which I’m reading as soon as I hit the last page of Forever Man.