Interview with Ethan Frechette, Author of A Civil War Within
20 May 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, A Civil War Within?
The book is about three young men in high school who are taken on a camping trip. The purpose of the camping trip is to help these young men find their “name, their identity in life. Through the power of storytelling these boys are able to find peace within their own identity and are able to understand the reality of being an adult in this world. A Civil War Within is meant to help, but also push, people take responsibility for themselves, their lives, and their identities. This coming of age tale ends with the three boys being ushered into manhood through a ceremony with their fathers.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I have always enjoyed writing, even as a child. The first book I wrote was in Middle School and I haven’t stopped telling stories since. A Civil War Within was motivate by my now four year old son. The idea and motivation to write this book started before he was born. I was working a very boring nine-to-five desk job with plenty of time to reflect on life. By doing so, I was about to work through many of the same issues you find in this book. I wanted to write something for my son that would explain what I had learned from life. I wanted him to learn from my mistakes, from my story, so that he wouldn’t have to repeat them.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
- A Gentlemen in Moscow
- The Pale Blue Eye
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Autobiography of a Yogi
- One, None, and One Hundred Thousand
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
My first guest would be Amor Towles, the author of A Gentlemen in Moscow. My question to him would be “when writing historical fiction what do you believe is your obligation to the events that actually happened? Your main character, Count Rostov, has a very influential role in the novel with many important historical figures. What is your obligation to those historical figures and the accuracy of events while portraying a historical fiction novel?”
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is being able to convey complex emotions that we face in life, like identity, through the art of storytelling. A Civil War Within is a fictional story yet the ideas and concepts behind the story are real. They are raw emotions that penetrate the intellectual mind and help the reader empathize with the characters. Writing helps readers draw parallels with their own life, their own story, and overcome those obstacles in their life.
What is a typical day like for you?
I am a nurse working with Parkinson’s and Movement Disorder patients. So my typical day is working and desperately trying to bring love and comfort to patients with these chronic diseases. After work, I go home and spend time with my beautiful wife and child. Often riding the bike with my son for several hours and ending the day on the porch of my apartment with my wife, listening to bird songs.
What scene in A Civil War Within was your favorite to write?
There is a scene where the character, Saul Treeborn, is forced to face his father during the Battle of Bull Run. The emotions in this scene are quite intense and was a very exciting scene to write and work through.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
“Be afraid but do it anyway”. I don’t remember where I heard this quote but I have held onto the majority of my life making it my life motto. Fear is something that has the potential to cripple you, to bring stagnation into your life. This motto reminds me that life is scary but it is our duty to wake up every morning and “do it anyways”.
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