Uncaged welcomes Freddy Cruz
Welcome to Uncaged! Your latest release is called They Canceled the DJ, can you tell readers more about this book? What are you working on now that you can tell us about?
They Canceled the DJ is inspired by actual events and follows the story of a radio personality’s not-so-stellar moments. An incident with a listener goes viral, then he ends up scoring a date with said listener, THEN…they hit it off. But just when things start to go right, she ditches him on-stage at a concert for a world famous pop star. And his quest for revenge ensues.
As for current projects, I’m polishing up my 2022 release. A psychological thriller of sorts. It centers around two unsavory individuals, one of whom is a failed radio personality turned podcaster having an affair with the other’s mom. That’s all I can say for now.
You are also a radio host and host a podcast, can you tell us more about that?
I left pop radio after more than twenty years. Needed a change. My new podcast is called Freddy’s Huge ASK Podcast. Twice a week, I’ll speak with some of the coolest people in the world. Former Delta Force veteran turned author Brad Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winner and author Stephen Hunter, CEOs, entrepreneurs, life coaches, and more. Think of this as TED meets AV Club meets Masterclass meets Book Club.
What is the most difficult scene for you to write? What is the easiest?
The final chapter went through several iterations before getting the proverbial chef’s kiss. The concert scene in chapter 20 was the easiest and required very little editing.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Has there been a character that’s been hard to write about?
I really enjoyed creating AC’s character because he’s so REAL. Perfectly imperfect. He’s not necessarily good or bad. He’s just a regular guy who, like all of us, is capable of making terrible decisions.
The character I had the most trouble with was Bobbi. But she eventually came to life.
Read the rest of the interview below in the issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Freddy Cruz is a Houston area media personality, last heard on the Marconi Award winning 104.1 KRBE. He is also an author, philanthropist, lover of new music and old books, and the host of the Book This with Freddy Cruz podcast. Fueled by coffee, laughter, a shared delight in his community, and love for his family,
Freddy often marvels at his luck in being able to spend his days filling the buckets of all the things he values most in life.
When a hotheaded DJ is caught in a viral web of vengeance, it’s unlikely he’ll find the wisdom to quiet his inner critic.
Radio jock Aubrey Cortes cares way too much about what others think. After he humiliates himself in front of a listener-turned-love interest, he’s horrified when the explosive episode goes viral. But, after the disaster turns into a first date, he celebrates with a barrage of search-and-destroy tweets aimed at torpedoing his online critics.
Thrilled when his newfound viral fame lands him a nationally syndicated show, he uses his connections to arrange a backstage pass to meet his new squeeze’s legendary musical idol.
Aubrey’s heart is cruelly betrayed on centerstage, and blows up big time. Again.
And now he wants payback.
Can Aubrey eat humble pie and take a Zen lesson or three, or will he go down in a fiery fit of revenge?
Since the turn of the century, fans have taken the meaning of “fanatic” to a whole new level. Gone are the days of a simple band shirt and tour poster. Those are for beginners. Artists who only go gold. And coffee mugs, tumblers, and smartphone cases? Those are for no-name SoundCloud artists who scored a two-hundred-dollar check in exchange for permission to use a clip of their song in a commercial for some dude’s used car lot, starring the Used Car Lot Dude’s daughter with that annoying kid lisp. Real fans showcase their diehard support with canvas paintings using blood and sculptures using the ashes of a dead loved one.
And nobody rocks the merch game stronger than River Bronswell, the highest-selling artist of all time. Shirts, hoodies, jackets? He’s got the best designs. But those are for fake fans, the ones who can only name his radio hits. Any real River Bronswell fan has all the apparel, plus his complete line of talking dolls that sing and speak twenty different languages, including Aborigine. They have also bought his virtual reality games, augmented reality games, and vinyl dipped in twenty-four-karat gold, even though they have no idea what a record player is. They drink River-brand vodka, tequila, and River Tickler whisky gets his fans drunk enough at shows to pay two hundred dollars for a limited edition, three-dimensional photo book.
Bobbi opens the door and ushers me into her townhome. She has everything. She waves a hand in the direction of framed magazine covers and articles featuring her home—in more languages than I can count. Fan art, created by her, lines an entire wall. Large pieces, small pieces. Art on canvas. Sketches in black and white. When guys show up to a love interest’s home for the first time, they show up with a gift. Flowers, something. Anything. What I have seen in Bobbi’s home makes me glad I have opted for something less tangible. It may cement my place in her heart.
Giant text covers an entire side of the hallway that leads to her apartment. It reads, “Mr. Bronswell makes my heart swell.” The “Bronswell” and “heart” are red, the other words are black. The letters resemble what a serial killer would use in a note to a future victim.
“This is…interesting,” I say with my mouth gaped open, pondering the fact that the authorities would consider her a person of interest if River ever turned up missing. For a split second, I consider rescinding my surprise. What she won’t know won’t hurt her. Or in this case, River.
Across the hall hangs a stained-glass image of River as a saint. Next to it, a Renaissance-inspired painting depicting River as a Roman emperor. I clear my throat and raise my chin, embracing the role of museum curator. “And here we have, the Marcus Aurelius of Pop Music, benevolent ruler of hearts across the Rivertopian Empire,” I say with a horrible accent.
“Not much, but it makes me happy,” says Bobbi, fluffing the River pillows and throw blankets on her couch. “Some might say I have an obsession.”