Interview with Fred W. Apelquist III

What is your writing process?
First, I consider and analyze the matter about I wish to write. Research is always my first step. After researching and reflecting on the issue or story, I think through what I believe would be the most clear and logical way to address the topic. Second and last (I'm giving a 30,000-foot-level summary here), I re-read and re-write, and re-read and re-write, and.. well, I guess you get the point.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a rather dark tale about a baseball pitcher who had lost his touch and his job in the "Bigs" - the Major League. I never tried to publish it, although I believe it had some literary merit, because the final outcome, which was consistent with this ailing hero's character, was neither uplifting nor instructive.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." It was also initially not the most fun of times to read "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. My high school teacher emphasized that Dickens was paid by the word insinuating that he was unnecessarily wordy. But after re-reading this work years later, I realize that he was not particularly verbose in any given sentence or paragraph. Rather, he was very complete, comprehensive, and responsible in his telling of the tale. Would that readers of my work so regard me!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Limiting my answers to only five books is very challenging, but I'll do my best.

1. The Holy Bible -- It is my very favorite because it provides daily insights to understanding God, honoring and glorifying Him, and exhorting me how to live my life.

2. The Birth of Christ Recalculated by Ernest L. Martin. This is a very compelling read as it marries faith and reason and science to pinpoint the year of Jesus Christ's birth (September 3 B.C.).

3. A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin -- A marvelous analysis of the disastrous and unforeseen (at that time) effects of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I.

4. The New Americans by Michael Barone - An thought-provoking narrative explaining the circumstances surrounding the assimilation of America's old immigrants (Jews, Italians, Irish) and new immigrants (Asians, Hispanics, Black Americans), which puts into clear perspective the challenges faced -- or being faced -- by immigrant groups trying to live the American Dream and prosper from it.

5. Most any history or religion book. There are frankly too many good books to include in a list of 5. So, I'm giving you 4 - PLUS. But one quick read worthy of citation is Gerald R. McDermott's World Religions which summarizes in 130 pages the world's seven largest religions. Dr. McDermott, a professor of Religion at Roanoke College (VA), is a particular worthy author, as he also co-penned the tome The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (728 pages). This book is so replete with theological terms and concepts that I was running to a dictionary every minute or two.
What do you read for pleasure?
The newspaper, mostly, but I also read at times the novels in the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. I enjoy imaging the world she describes in 12th century England. I've been known to read some W.E.B. Griffin, too.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'll let you know when I write my next -- and 2nd -- e-book. Hopefully, I'll learn a lot from my first publication: "Your Jesus GPS".

However, at this point, as you can imagine, I know nothing. I realize that sounds like Sergeant Schultz from the TV Series "Hogan's Heroes" but that's the way it is!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born in New England (Connecticut) and raised outside Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), I was exposed to a diversity of people and ethnicities before I matriculated at the University of Maryland, located close to Washington, D.C.

After graduating and beginning to work in the federal government in D.C., I was faced with the excitement and frustration of working in a large government bureaucracy and trying to contribute to the commonweal.

This background affected my writing by reminding me to question and evaluate all viewpoints, and to respect all people. Having said that, I don't believe all views are equally wise or desirable. I believe each opinion or position should be subject to rigorous analysis to determine its truth and viability.
When did you first start writing?
I remember it well. It was January, 1989. John Thompson, Georgetown University men's basketball coach, complained that the NCAA's Proposition 48 calling for stricter academic requirements for incoming college athletes was discriminatory and should be deferred. It was introduced 5 years earlier. Everyone knew it was coming! I found his argument weak and implicitly racist, as if black children were not able to meet higher academic standards. Besides, he and the college sports world had been warned for many years. What did he - and they -- do to prepare for this moment? Demanding and expecting higher academic achievement from all people is a sound, principled, and necessary Proposition, excuse the pun. The Washington Post published my article in the center of its op-ed page and even added an illustration showing a basketball player in action. After that, I figured "You're Entitled To My Opinion" - YETMO. My YETMO writing days are over, or are at least in hiatus, but that's a story for another day.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I had stopped attending church by the time I entered college – became “unchurched” as the term of art goes – and remained on the outside for about a quarter of a century until I first met this woman who would become my wife. As we courted and got to know each other, she was clear: this relationship will not go very far if I was not a “church-going man”.

That was my motivation for getting back into church. First, I thought, I should re-familiarize myself with the Bible’s main character: Jesus. The more I delved into the Bible and what Jesus said, I realized that I should 'write this down'. After realizing I considered myself somewhat of a writer, I figured "Why not?" write a book about what Jesus said so that others besides me could benefit from it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After I first wrote this book -- about 20 years ago (1995) -- some publishers were interested and asked for sample chapters. As close as I came, I never got published. This work languished. Over the years I toyed with updating it and attempting to publish again. Well, this time I discovered I could publish as an indie author -- and I did!
Published 2014-07-30.
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Books by This Author

Your Jesus GPS - Find Direction, Personal Growth, Inner Peace and Joy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,370. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Ancient, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christianity
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Even if you have never heard about Jesus, “Your Jesus GPS” will acquaint you with His messages and miracles, and more. This Guidebook and personal testimony catalogs all of Jesus’ major works and words so the reader can pursue the matter further. It also intends to provide information, prompt introspection, and encourage action. May you find here direction, personal growth, inner peace and joy.