Please join me today in welcoming Eric Landfried to the blog to chat about his new book Solitary Man (Ambassador International, March 15)
Eric Landfried was thirteen years old when he realized he was a writer. Once he had this realization, he grabbed a spiral notebook and began filling it with all the stories bumping around in his head. He was young and inexperienced, and therefore terrible, but the ideas kept coming and he kept improving as a writer. As a shy and withdrawn kid living in West Virginia, writing became the best outlet to express himself, and he exploited it as much as he could. As an adult, he wrote less frequently, usually due to his procrastinating nature, but the ideas never went away. Many of them are still with him, waiting to be introduced to the world. Solitary Man is Eric’s debut novel ready for introduction.
Eric now lives in New Hampshire with his wife Kristen and son Nathan. He is excited to begin a new chapter in his life that involves doing something he has always loved, and he is eternally grateful for this opportunity to share his thoughts and ideas with the world.
Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence. Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he’s grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become a liability in the end of the world. But when a particularly brutal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repair, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement.
Jonathan has been pastoring a small church of Christians in that same settlement, but when he meets Doyle he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle’s armored transport and weapons bring hope to his small band of followers. The two men strike up a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes that this journey will change them in ways they could never have imagined.
As they search for other believers, they must battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier. Doyle’s unbelief and Jonathan’s faith will collide in this action-packed wasteland.
Solitary Man is a gritty, action-packed post-apocalyptic story with a solid, Biblical worldview.
Hi Eric! Welcome to the blog!
Eric: I’d have to go with oranges since I have a mild allergy to apples related to my springtime hay fever. Raw apples (I can eat cooked ones just fine) make my mouth and throat itch. Chances are, too many could make it even worse, so while they are delicious, they ultimately aren’t good for me.
Carrie: I would be so sad if I couldn’t eat raw apples – I live on them, practically. Interestingly enough, I have a mild allergy to oranges…
Eric: I’m not a fan of bitter drinks, so I’ll always choose tea over coffee since it’s the least bitter. Of course, being from the South, that means I have “a little tea with my sugar.” I suppose I could make coffee palatable with cream and sugar, but I’d need so much, the effort just isn’t worth it when making tea is so much easier.
Carrie: I’m the same way – I try to avoid both if possible lol
Eric:I’ve had a love for music that goes back my entire life, and it really gained steam in the 90’s when I was drumming in punk and indie bands. I currently own around 500 CD’s (used to be around 700) and now save money by streaming all my tunes. I’ve never gotten into audiobooks, mainly due to a short attention span. I really have a hard time focusing on listening and end up missing things the narrator is saying. I’m much better at actually reading the words because my brain is more visually oriented.
Carrie: I’m definitely a visual reader too – my mind wanders too much with audiobooks.
Eric: I’m a sandwich guy, all the way. I don’t mind soup, but to me, it’s an appetizer, not a meal. If you can turn it into a nice, thick stew, then I’ll consider calling it a meal, but a bowl of beef or chicken flavored water is not my idea of a satisfying meal. Of course, you can have the best of both worlds with a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich and a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup to dunk it in. That’s heaven to my belly.
Carrie: Grilled cheese and soup is straight-up comfort food, yes!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Eric: Call me……Captain Snarky. I inherited a dry wit from my dad, and just have a very natural ability to amuse folks with it. Of course, I only use my power for good and tease folks I love, though it earns me the occasional smack from my wife and makes my teenage son roll his eyes pretty hard. (For the record, I have fully mastered the “dad joke,” much to my son’s chagrin.) Sometimes a joke falls flat, but for the most part I can get a smile or a chuckle, and I love bringing that tiny measure of joy and/or happiness to people.
Carrie: Ah the dad joke… my two favorite dads (my own dad and brother) have mastered this as well lol.
Q: Which books are currently ‘on your nightstand’ ?
Eric: I’m currently splitting my time between two books: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The Brothers Karamazov is a book I’d only recommend for advanced readers as it’s very dense and philosophical and its pacing is practically glacial. But Dostoevsky was a fantastic writer who was very skilled at creating pictures in the reader’s mind, even during long monologues by the characters. I don’t consider it the greatest novel ever written as some do, but it certainly deserves its mantle as a classic.
I got a Kindle for Christmas and thanks to my Prime account, a ton of classic novels are free for download. I’d never read Uncle Tom’s Cabin before, so it was one of my first choices. What a stunning, heart wrenching novel. It should be required reading in any English or history curriculum. Imagine being a slave woman who wakes up and finds that your child has been taken from your arms and sold, and you will likely never see them again. What horrible atrocities man has committed! It makes me so thankful for God’s grace and mercy that made our redemption possible.
On the non-fiction side, I also have Bruce Shelley’s Church History in Plain Language going, but I haven’t touched it in a while because I’ve been too engrossed in the other two. I should pick it up again soon as it’s a fascinating look at where the Christian church has come from and how its various denominations (some true, some heretical) came about.
Carrie: I totally agree with you about making Uncle Tom’s Cabin required reading. Only those who are aware of history can recognize the signs of it beginning to repeat and intervene.
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Eric: “He’s fantastic! Give him a Pulitzer!”
Okay, not really. I’d like to think that my characters know that I love them, but need to put them through the wringer so they can develop. (Me, in a booming, powerful voice: “I am the God of imaginary people!”) Sometimes I get really attached to them. At the risk of dropping a mild spoiler, there’s a death in Solitary Man that I agonized over, but ultimately I realized it was necessary for the development of other characters, so I wrote what was best for the story, though it made my heart hurt. Just as I understand that God puts me through trials in order to sanctify me, I think my characters would understand I do something similar for them (but not in a holy, perfect way as God does, of course.)
Carrie: Well, I mean, if you can’t be the God of imaginary people, then why write? 😉
Q: Which of the main characters in Solitary Man is most like you?
Eric: When my wife read a draft of Solitary Man, she commented that she sees me in both Jonathan and Doyle. I think she’s right. Jonathan is earnest and Christ-loving, able to succinctly and simply explain and proclaim the Gospel. Doyle is gruff and cynical, tending to take a darker view of the world. Writing in his voice came very easy to me. Slap the two of them together, and you’ve got me in a nutshell.
Carrie: Oh that’s interesting – you’re not most like one or the other but a combination of both.
Q: If Hollywood wanted to produce your book as a movie, who would you want to be cast as the lead roles?
Eric: When I first started writing Solitary Man, I had it in mind for a screenplay. But as the story grew, evolved, and developed, I realized there was much more here than one movie could hold, so I switched it over to a novel. Doyle was modeled after aging action heroes like Stallone or Schwarzenegger, but both of those guys are probably ten years too old for the part now. I think Bruce Willis could pull it off, or maybe Kiefer Sutherland after his turn as Jack Bauer on 24. I also think Viggo Mortensen or Nicolas Cage could play him. I wouldn’t mind Denzel Washington either, since race isn’t an integral part of the character.
For Jonathan, I always pictured someone like Christian Bale or Leonardo DiCaprio. I also wouldn’t say no to Matt Damon or Ben Affleck and would also consider Paul Rudd or Jason Bateman, even though those two are known more for comedic roles. There’s also a lesser known character actor, Corey Stoll (The Strain, House of Cards) who could easily play Jonathan. So many choices!
Carrie: All of these are excellent options!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Solitary Man?
Eric: I would hope that every reader gets a sense of the importance of proclaiming and sharing the Gospel. I actually wrote Jonathan as bolder in his preaching than I am, because he is certainly what I believe every Christian should aspire to when it comes to the Gospel. He rejoices when someone repents and turns to Christ, and he grieves when someone who has heard the Gospel rejects it and dies in their sins. The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor, but we can’t possibly be loving them if we withhold the Gospel from them for any reason (fear of rejection, possible damage to relationship, assumption of rejection, etc.). Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told us to GO, MAKE disciples, BAPTIZE them, and TEACH them. Obedience to the latter three commands can’t happen until we obey the first. The Gospel is paramount, and I hope my readers recognize that fact and respond to Christ’s commands with obedience (if they’re not already, that is).
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Eric: Since Solitary Man ends somewhat ambiguously, I’m hard at work banging out a sequel that I expect will be in high demand among my readers. It should provide answers to all the burning questions folks will have. Juggling this, my day job (as a field technician for an arcade company), my family, and my church eats up all my time, but once that’s written, I expect I’ll turn to other ideas I have in the hopper. Maybe a sci-fi comedy/satire, maybe a marital drama, maybe team up with my best friend for an allegorical picture book. I definitely have more ideas than time right now.
Carrie: The mark of a true writer – more ideas than time 🙂
Eric Landfried is offering a signed copy of Solitary Man to one of my readers! Open internationally except where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about this book?