My guest today is Frederick H. Crook. Hello! Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to see you here again.
Hello! Thanks for having me.
Oh, of course! It's an honor.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can
we get it?
Wraithworks is the story of Gary and Tera Wraithworth, a husband
and wife team that covers stories of missing persons, cold case murders, the
paranormal, et cetera, all on their YouTube channel, Wraithworks. When they join a group of other YouTubers as they
investigate and expose a serial killer, they uncover much more than that and
end up running for their lives.
Whoa! It sounds riveting!
Is there anything specific that inspired you to write Wraithworks?
Absolutely. I’m a huge fan of John Lordan of the
LordanArts YouTube channel. The book is the result of what happens when an
imaginative person takes one of his favorite things or people and asks himself
“What if…?” too often. John covers a lot of cases on his channel, as do a lot
of other YouTubers like him, and it was a natural progression. I thought, what
if John got himself into a situation like this and what would happen?
contacted John Lordan with the idea and he served as a consultant, answering
all my questions about his video-making processes and gave me a good
behind-the-scenes picture. The character of Gary Wraithworth is a bit different
in personality than John, and the situation is, of course, sensationalized, but
it is not an unbelievable tale.
Nice! Isn't it fun how the muse works? ;)
Let's try a different question, all right?
If this book was made into a film, who would you cast in it?
John Lordan himself is no stranger to acting or performing, so he would
be the obvious choice. Of course, if Hollywood got their way, who knows?
How about some general questions?
When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks? And why?
Print books, definitely. There’s something truly
special about holding a book in your hands, especially an older one, which is
why I like to go to used book stores and libraries. A book transports the
reader to wherever the author intended, and he or she intended their work to be
in the hands of their readers. Every
page turn is an event and every chapter heading is a gateway. That feeling is kept
from the reader when they buy an ebook, where there are no page turns, only a
scrolling screen activated by a finger, and the specialness of a new chapter is
lost. It’s a sanitation of sensation, a theft of dimension. I only read an
ebook when it’s absolutely necessary and then it brings no joy. It becomes a
I agree! It's hard for me to read an ebook. I guess I am, as one of my professors once called me, a Luddite, at least in some ways. (Laughs.)
So, what are you reading now?
I’m reading Carl Sagan’s The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective from 1975.
It’s a paperback I found at my favorite used book store some time ago. Despite
what the title suggests, it’s part biography, part science lesson.
you get an idea for a book, what comes first usually? Dialogue, the
characters, a specific scene? Or do you plot it all out before you write?
It’s hard to say what comes first. Is it the character or the idea? There
are characters that occur to me to use, but they’re wrong for the
In the case of my novella, Runt
Pulse, the main character came first, and the story formed around him. You
see, in my dystopian future, most of the population has left for a colony
planet and on Earth there is no law and mankind lives in tribes. I wondered
what it would be like for a man who suffered partial paralysis due to a stroke
to survive in such a world, so I wrote it. I liked him so much I used him again
in the novel Of Knight & Devil.
However, in the case of The Summer
of ’47, my paranormal historical fiction novel, I got the idea while
watching the movie, Some Came Running
with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The characters from the movie didn’t fit
the story, which fully formulated in my mind as I watched the film. Development
of the characters came next.
That makes sense. Like you, for me it just depends on the project in question.
So, what do you have planned next, Frederick? Or is that a secret?
I have a couple works-in-progress at the moment,
both of which are part of my dystopian sci-fi line.
There’s something else that
I don’t want to jinx by talking about it. It’s completely different from
anything else I’ve ever done.
Great! Well, if you're at all like me, you probably always find new ways to change yourself...
Is there anything you'd like to add? Any advice for new writers?
Finish what you start if you expect to get anywhere.
Then, make sure it doesn’t suck by getting a good editor. Make the final
product the best you can make it before putting it out there.
Such great advice!
Well, thank you for visiting, Frederick!
Thanks for inviting me!
It's my pleasure, of course! :) Happy to have you here any time!
Readers, here is the
blurb for Wraithworks.
Gary Wraithworth is a popular
websleuth who covers stories of missing persons, cold murder cases, and other
unsolved crimes on his YouTube channel, Wraithworks.
Gary and his wife Tera meet with other internet websleuths at a convention and
agree to join them to investigate and expose a serial murderer. When the Wraithworks videos go viral, Gary sheds
light not only upon the killer, but the billionaire industrialists that
bankroll the madman’s political assassinations. Gary and Tera become the
assassin’s next target and must run for their lives.
Here is an excerpt.
helped Tera over the four-foot-tall wood fence. He watched her land feet first,
only to drop onto her butt. He climbed over and helped her up.
“Come on,” he urged and adjusted the camera bag on his
Tera let out a short burst of profanity as he wiped the
moist dirt from her jeans. “I hate to say this, Gare, but your paranoia better
pay off this time. I just bought these jeans!”
For now, just go, will you please?”
she took to a run toward the next street. Her purse, hung cross-body, slapped
her hip with each step.
Gary took a glance over his shoulder but saw no one
following. The pit of his stomach vibrated with tension and fear. He followed
his wife through the neighbor’s yard and past the little blue cottage. Tera
reached the driveway, stopped, and turned back to him.
“Now where?” she panted.
Gary had no answer. He knew no one on Hillside Drive, the
street to the west of their own. The police station was not far, just on the
other side of Scenic Heights Road, the intersection of which he could see from
where he was standing.
“Gare!” Tera shouted and ran the way they had come. She
grabbed a handful of his Wraithworks
“What the−!” He stumbled after her, rounding the corner
of their neighbor’s little blue house.
“It’s him,” Tera explained once they were in the shadows.
Gary then heard the airy sound of a slow-moving car. He
dared a peek around the corner in time to see the Ford sedan rolling by at
walking speed. For a moment, the urge to pull out his camera and record the
scene seemed a great idea, but a moment later, the car was too far away.
Gary straightened up against the wall and looked at his
wife. “He saw us leave the house.”
Tera checked her cellphone. “I’ve still got nothing on
this thing. Gray Hair works for powerful people if he can cut off our phones.
We’ve got to get to the police station.”
“Okay. Let’s cut through the yards.”
walked in that direction with Tera following. Together, they stayed close to
trees and in the shade. As they were both wearing dark clothes, he thought it
to be an advantage.
Some of their neighbors had not put up fences, so
reaching Scenic Heights Road was easy. The presence of traffic emboldened them
to walk along the road in plain sight, though they did so briskly and on the
They crossed the street after more than a block, entering
the driveway to the fire department. The Eden Prairie City Center was just
beyond it. The big building housed City Hall, the community center, and the
police department. The police were on the south side of the building.
Neither of them slowed, but Gary breathed a sigh of
relief and Tera smiled.
The short blast of a siren right next to them startled
Gary and Tera, and they froze. It was the white Crown Victoria. The passenger
side window was down, and Gary found the barrel of a large handgun pointed at
him. Beyond that was the scowling face of Gray Hair himself.
“Get in the car,” he growled at them. “In the back. Now.
Or I’ll shoot you both where you stand.”
Thanks, Frederick! We'll be sure to check out this thriller!
H. Crook was born in Chicago and lives in Villa Park, Illinois with his wife,
Rae and their three dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through
high school and began self-publishing his dystopian sci-fi works in 2010. In
2014, Solstice Publishing took on the novel Campanelli:
Sentinel, and several other titles followed. Meanwhile, he continues
self-publishing other works, including the 2017 novella The Interceptor’s Song and this year’s contemporary thriller, Wraithworks.