Interview with Don Defreeze, Author of Climb Beyond the Crest

Apr. 26, 2018

I was privileged to invite Mr. Defreeze for an interview with BooKecCenTric to discuss his latest bookClimb Beyond the Crest. Enjoy!


Thank you @DonDefreeze for your time today. Let’s talk about Climb Beyond the Crest. What’s it about, and what inspired you to write it?
@DonDefreeze: Life is a journey. Whether it’s a day or a series of years combined, the winding road we weave is solely our own, even if we are surrounded by minions. No other can walk in the shoes of another. As an individual creature, what is the essence of the existence you find yourself? We may be comforted by others now, but where will you be in the end? 

As a youth, I had been inspired by Thoreau and his ideas expressed in Walden. Those ideas attuned my thoughts to the natural flow of everything around me and compelled me to seek the connection Thoreau sought. 

In some ways, Climb Beyond the Crest is a modern update to Walden. I’d like to know how he would have reacted to the discovery of black holes, nuclear fusion or quantum mechanics. We live in spectacular time for speculation. With consideration of contemporary science, the thoughts embedded in this story attempt to explain my conclusions about the essence of nature and the consequences we might expect. To get to that clear vision, you’ll have to take this Appalachian hike into solitude. That’s the inevitable state of every individual, and maybe it’s a fruitful idea to contemplate it before the fate our end is fulfilled.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
@DonDefreeze: I’m asked about a target audience. I hate to think of anyone as targeted these days though every reader is not equal. Some are satisfied with consuming what human culture has to offer while others thirst for a deeper meaning, a more personal connection to reality. 

These seekers can be anyone, from a seamstress to a CEO, peering out a window wondering what it’s all about. The important thing is that they want to know what takes shape once the walls and distractions of mankind are stripped away.   

I believe this book appeals in 2 different ways: First, a walk into the Appalachians is awesome by itself. The adventure of diving farther into the recesses of quintessential wilderness revitalizes a mind clogged with the monotony of our ordered lives. Second, being able to shed every aspect of our social and modern lifestyle is a scenario which most are unable to experience. What would that be like? How would I perceive my surroundings without anything I’ve grown accustomed to?

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
@DonDefreeze: I hope every reader wakes up! One at a time. It’s an amazing feat that inert molecules have arranged to make you and consciousness. It is a priceless chance to understand the universal soup that concocted one’s existence and an opportunity to create a connection to it. This is not an armchair curiosity, all will relinquish their lot and lose their minds, thought and reason. Find your heartfelt link before it’s too late to do so.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
@DonDefreeze: The hardest thing about writing is language. Words are imperfect and using them to convey an idea, precisely, is sometimes elusive.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
@DonDefreeze: I learned what my limitations are. I had thought I could write well and still devote the required time to the rest of my endeavors and life. Well, this outlook was severely tested. The book consumed more time as it expanded, and certain thoughts and actions being written became an obsession to get them right. This resulted in some arguments with neglected friends and lost revenue. I think Clint Eastwood said it best in Magnum Force.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  
@DonDefreeze: I used to read physical books but rely on a screen more now. Due to time limitations, most of my reading is spent on research.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
@DonDefreeze: Defining a genre for this book has proven to be slippery. I equate it to choosing a genre for Thoreau’s Walden, if you search for one online, you come up with a bunch of convoluted terms. Part of my book is true adventure, yet it contains pieces of self-reliance, philosophy, inspiration and science with considerations of spirituality, theology and moralism. 

I disagree, vehemently, with Amazon’s placement of this book under Religious & Spirituality, simply because not one religion is mentioned. I try to stick to facts and any conjecture is based on them and as limited as they allow. I guess Thoreau could have been listed under Religion?

What books and authors have most influenced you?
@DonDefreeze: Obviously Thoreau, but for escape i used to read King but have turned from fiction since it does not expand my understanding of the real world.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
@DonDefreeze: I’d like everyone to know that I’ve devoted the rest of my life to opening the eyes of as many as I can to the riches of the natural world and helping them understand the miraculous circumstances that have allowed them to open their eyes at all in a hostile universe. 

Whether it’s leading a guided tour into the depths of Appalachian bliss or a stirring story, I will feel fulfilled if I can even get one person to fully understand. Could that be you?

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
@DonDefreeze: Yes, I've had several including a scathing one. I brush this off as inexperience while producing the first book in the series.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
@DonDefreeze: It's easiest to follow me on twitter @D_Dfreeze or through the excihiking website. I also have a business page on facebook listed under hikemtn or Excihiking.

Any additional comments you would like to add?
@DonDefreeze: I have become a bit bewildered in the course that literature has taken in my lifetime. It seems more people want to be fed illusions, fiction, with little interpretive thought defining any relevance to reality or usefulness. I agree with some that say it's the "dumbing-down of society." I've always agreed that truth is stranger than fiction anyway.

Born 1959 Long Island, N.Y. Graduated Locust Valley H.S. with honors. Attended SUNY Oneonta earning a BS in meteorology, 1981. Relocated to Roanoke, VA. in 1989 and furthered his studies at VA Western Comm. College & Roanoke College. 

Currently, Don is the owner of Excihiking Treks. He has established a coordinated guide service helping others explore the wonders of the Appalachian Mountains near Roanoke. His book trilogy titled Please Read depicts a 2-day hiking trek along the Appalachian Trail which runs through the region.

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