Today we welcome Fred Funk.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Fred Funk: I live in Aubrey, Texas and I am a native of Denton County, Texas. My wife, Dana and I have been married for 57 years which proves that young marriages do sometimes work. We have three children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. I spend much of my time working with the Denton Kiwanis Club as past president, and past Lt. Gov. over clubs in North Texas and southern Oklahoma. We operate a free children’s clinic for the less fortunate in our county. I sit on the governing board of the club and the committee that manages the clinic. I started my working life as a Methodist Minister, as was my father, but after a few years I changed my educational and career path to accounting and finance. My mom was an accountant.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Fred Funk: All my books are inspired by and/or based on actual events and real people, but they are fictionalized.
I have seven published works:
MINISTRY AND MOONSHINE is a true story of a young Methodist minister who serves in East Texas. His congregation consists of a cast of colorful characters including, bootleggers, moonshiners, murderers, gossips, and adulterers among many other peculiar folks. I wrote this to leave a written record of our early married life for our kids and grandkids. The message in this work is that people and things many times are not what they seem.
MOONSHINER’S REVENGE is a continuation of the story. In this one. six murders occur and this really happened over moonshine and marijuana territory. One of the offences is solved, but the young preacher feels it is a wrongful conviction.
MOONSHINER MEMORIES, concludes the saga. This one is much more fictionalized, but has many true events mixed in. Forty years later Matt and Beth, the preacher and his wife return to the piney woods in search of the truth.
LIFE AND DEATH ON CANNON CREEK is an unusual murder mystery. It takes place in an elite neighborhood where three members of the same family circle die of similar and suspicious circumstances. This book is written as told to me by one of the victims and from events that I witnessed. Actually the crimes were my assumption and no charges were ever brought so at a point in the book, I go totally fictional to conclude the story.
THE THROWAWAY SON is the life story of one of my two best friends, now deceased. I wrote it as close as possible to the way he told it to me. He was born unwanted and was horribly abused during his childhood. It is the story of a life shattered by abuse, but redeemed by love. He wanted his story told and the message he wished to portray was that no matter what life throws at you, you can rise above it. The reader needs a box of tissues when they read this one.
JUSTICE FOR CASSIE is the story of one family whose final matriarch winds up in an “elder care home” that is not what it seems. It is based on an actual court case. This one was written with a message that when faced with the probability of nursing home care, do a thorough investigation before making a decision.
EPHRIM’S JOURNEY is a multigenerational saga based on the history of a family that I knew growing up. It starts in 1836 Kentucky and ends up with the final generation of the family. Ephrim endures many tribulations as he moves from Kentucky to Missouri, and finally to Texas where he establishes a ranching empire. The twist is that a viper in the family nest pulls off a deception that changes everything. My other best friend, also now deceased appears as a character in this book at the request of his widow.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Fred Funk: I always have a work in progress. Currently I am doing a final edit on TERROR MOUNTAIN. This story is inspired and/or based on an actual rape and murder case. I have done extensive research on this case, but the book is a mixture of facts and fiction. My wife’s aunt sat on the jury and she appears in the book. Although found guilty and assessed the death penalty for the crime he committed in 1979, the defendant still sits on death row. This is not justice, so I stuck the needle to him in the first sentence.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Fred Funk: THE THROWAWAY SON proved extremely difficult since it brought back many heartbreaking memories of my friend. I still cannot read the last chapter or the epilogue without tearing up.
TERROR MOUNTAIN also came with difficulty. The story is outside my comfort zone since I do not write explicit or sexually graphic content. How does one write about a rape without being graphic?
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Fred Funk: Along with the help of my wife, I do extensive research via internet about people and places. Descriptions of same are as close to factual as possible. For JUSTICE FOR CASSIE and TERROR MOUNTAIN I have researched newspaper articles and online articles.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Fred Funk: Kenneth Lee, a little-known author is my favorite. Another little-known author, Rex Decker also holds my interest with his homespun books.
I have been inspired by Earl Hamner.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Fred Funk: Members of the Denton Kiwanis club, Dr. Ray Stephens in particular. I have always liked to tell stories and I presented two programs to the club telling tales of my days as a pastor in East Texas. Many of my friends insisted that I should write a book and Dr. Stephens, retired professor of history from UNT and former mayor of Denton volunteered his services in an editing capacity.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Fred Funk: The personal material that I have to draw on and an apparent ability to spin my tales.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Fred Funk: No routine whatever. I just write when the mood strikes.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Fred Funk: Still writing my stories. After I got started I could not stop. My wife and kids say that Dr. Stephens and my close friend and publisher, Crystal Wood have created a monster.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Fred Funk: Do not delay. Get started and do not worry too much about the “rules”, a good editor will take care of that for you. That being said, I always strive to be as near perfect as possible.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Fred Funk: “I enjoyed your book so much that I cannot wait for the next one.”
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Fred Funk: This is the opening paragraph from TERROR MOUNTAIN:
Richard Herron’s dark pensive eyes remained wide open with an evil stare, but his body went limp. The prison doctor pronounced the inmate dead at 12:01AM, Thursday, April 22, 2009, three decades after the time he committed unthinkable crimes. Even though the wheels of the Colorado judicial system had turned slowly, Gil Gentry knew that justice for Marcia Leggett had at long last been served. The retired sheriff of Lake County took no real pleasure in the execution, the victim still lay dead in the Evergreen Cemetery on the northwestern edge of Leadville, and thirty years later her family still mourned.
EPHRIM’S JOURNEY is not on Amazon yet, but it is available through my website: www.booksbyfredfunk.com