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Vincent Freda heard voices in his head that would not cease, this story he’d been carrying for decades begged to be penned. Mr. Freda grew up during the depression era in New Rochelle, NY. His mother passed when he was only 2 years old and his father had difficulty finding steady employment to support the family. His love and respect for the Jewish community grew from this difficult time in his upbringing. Mr. Freda had Jewish neighbors that showed kindness to his family by helping his father secure steady work at a synagogue and then offering him work at their family deli when Mr. Freda became a teenager. As he grew older, he learned about war and the Nazi regime and all the atrocities that happened during this time and he couldn’t stop thinking of all the torment the Jewish community endured at the hands of this dictator.
The book, A New Beginning, tells the story of a young soldier during WW2 and his struggle to keep a secret that could end his life if discovered. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with Mr. Freda and asking him about his process as a writer and his beginnings in New Rochelle. I also got to meet his wife, Toni, and ask her about Mr. Freda’s journey into the world of writing. They both reside at Waterford Terrace in La Mesa, where A Better Solution has a Wellness Center to support residents. His fascinating story of becoming a writer will inspire you and make you want to buy his book!
ABS: What inspired you to write this book? Why this story?
VF: I couldn’t get over the way the Nazi’s treated the Jews during WW2 and so I was constantly thinking about this. And that’s when I thought of this story.
ABS: When did you start writing?
VF: I didn’t start writing until after I retired. See, I never went to college or graduated high school. While I was still working I enrolled in night school to get my GED, then I started to think about writing, but I never wrote. It was always in my head this story that I wanted to write, my children had all left and it was just my wife and me at home and I told my wife about these ideas in my head and she encouraged me to write them down and keep them. So I started to do that, but it wasn’t enough and that’s when I went to night school again and started taking creative writing classes and that helped me quite a bit. Then one day I sat down and started writing by hand, the whole book. I know it wasn’t good so I went out and bought a typewriter and typed it all out. From then on I didn’t do anything with it until I moved to California and met a woman named Lillian here at Waterford Terrace who reads a book a day, I understand. I asked her if she’d read the book and she said she’d love to. When she was done reading it she came to me and said it was one of the best books she had ever read. In fact, she wrote me a letter. After that letter, I was so excited, I decided I would have the book published.
ABS: Was there a specific person in your past you thought of to help you develop this character?
VF: I associated a lot with the Jewish community growing up. I owed them a lot. Growing up during the depression was tough. My father couldn’t find work and my mother had passed away when I was 2 years old. There was a Jewish delicatessen on the corner from where we lived in New Rochelle, NY and the owners of this deli were so good to my father and mother, when she was alive, then they were good to my father once she died. They got him a job at a synagogue as a janitor that he loved because they were good to him and they fed him every day, he got a free lunch. Then, when I was 13 years old, they gave me a job working at the deli making $5 a week. I owed them a lot you see, I will never talk bad about a Jewish person, never. In my story, they hid the fact that he was half Jewish, they were lucky they could hide it. There was one SS officer that knew it but he couldn’t prove it. This young man became so popular in the Nazi army the SS officer couldn’t say anything because this kid was in high standing and very close to one of the generals.
ABS: When did you realize you were a writer?
VF: I was thinking of this first book every day, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It’s the story of a young man, his mother is Jewish and his father is German and it takes place in Berlin. It has nothing to do with the war or with concentration camps. The story is strictly about this young man and what he does and didn’t do and should have done. It was in my mind because I couldn’t get over how the Germans treated the Jews during the war, I was constantly thinking of that and that’s when this story appeared.
ABS: Will you keep writing?
VF: I’ve started to get other ideas since I’ve moved here [to Waterford Terrace]. I’m working on a second book called “Life is Good”. The story is about 2 detectives, male and female, and the story of how they met and how they become close-knit. He has a son, she has nobody. From there on its all love, then there’s tragedy. He dies, he gets shot, and she disappears in a state of depression. She’s finally found and falls in love with someone else. Life is Good. I gotta tell you though, it gets the best of you after a while, you go to bed and lay down then the minute your head hits the pillow you’re thinking of your story, and it’s a pain in the neck! I have an idea, I’ve written one paragraph, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue it. I have the main character in my head, but I just don’t know if I’ll be able to continue.
ABS: Do you treat writing like a job?
VF: Whenever something hits me I’ll write it down, put it down on the computer, then go to dinner.
Mr. Freda’s book, A New Beginning, is available for purchase on amazon.com. Mr. Freda’s story is an example that passion never retires or gets old. Stay tuned for his latest book, Life is Good, coming soon.