I would like to introduce Fred LeBaron
I had the honor of meeting Fred during an Auction I was doing for The Corn Family. After the auction was over, I continue to watch Fred, he is so devoted in helping any and every way. His love and support for Authors is astonishing. Then, I notice that there is now a Team Fred page on Facebook. Invented and hosted by the awesome, Addi Footit and Kelly Moorhouse.
So intrigue set in, and off I went.
Derinda: can you tell us, who Fred really is?
Fred: I am a guy who thought he was kind of a bohemian, and loved being all poet-y, “studying” in Paris and whatnot, until I had children and realized that I would find my greatest satisfaction in relationships with them. I’m a reader of wide and eclectic enthusiasms.
Fred's id card from his year at the Sorbonne
Derinda: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in in the literary world?
Fred: How approachable authors are, and how much they appreciate encouragement from regular old readers.
Derinda: What would you say is your most interesting aspect?
Fred: I think I’m a good conversationalist. I have pretty wide ranging interests, and I’m curious to learn about other people’s stories, experiences and expertise. I’m not judgmental, and love to make friends and share enthusiasms with them
Fred: Honestly, my first reaction was embarrassment! I don’t think I've done anything to merit this much affection and appreciation! I’m not really very talented or accomplished, and I am far from the abs-errific David Gandy types who are the usual subject of reader girl fan pages, lol. But I was touched too, because most of the Team Fred members are people I've come to know as cherished friends, through Facebook and author events.
Become a member of Team Fred's Facebook page here
Derinda: Do you have a message you would like to send out to all the members of Team Fred?
Fred: I guess it would be one of appreciation and affection. It has been enormously cheering to me to be the object of so much good natured attention.
Derinda: What books have most influenced your life most?
Fred: That is very hard to say. I mostly read and love fiction, and while I’ve read innumerable books that have had huge emotional impact (“The Name of The Rose,” by Umberto Eco, or “It” by Stephen King, leap to mind, although they are not the kind of thing I would read now), not a lot have altered my emotional landscape in a permanent way, or made me change course. As far as really influencing my behavior, I guess How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie was an eye-opener for me, and made me much less selfish in my relationships with others. I’m a person of faith, too, and while I’m certainly no angel, I guess it would be hard to underestimate the impact of the Bible on the way I think and express myself, too.
Derinda: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to Authors for encouragement from a devoted reader?
Fred: All of that time, all of that care, all of that emotion that you have poured into your books is so worth it! They awaken an equal emotional response in us, your readers, and make life richer, more meaningful and deeper. They make us cry and laugh, and love your characters and feel their struggles and accomplishments so vividly that we are encouraged and strengthened to face our own challenges and disappointments and find meaning in them.
Derinda: When did you start playing the guitar?
Fred: I was around 16 when I first picked up the guitar. I loved Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Cat Stevens. I played in country-rock bands (think Eagles, Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash) with my two brothers until I went away to college. I drifted away from the guitar during grad school/law school, only to start playing again a few years ago. I find enormous satisfaction in learning new songs and in playing the older ones I’ve loved for so long (like James Taylor, for example).
Fred: Well, being a dad is pretty much my number one thing I am proud of. I have four kids who are each really cool people in their own way, and I love spending time with them. I’m also proud of the kids I have taught in law school over the last ten years, where I teach legal research skills. It’s great to see them launch their careers, and lovely to hear from them that I helped them achieve their professional and personal goals. Being married for as long as we’ve managed is quite an accomplishment, too, lol. I also completed P90X, that was something I never thought I’d be able to do!
Derinda: How does it make you feel, when you hear how you have impacted someone's life?
Fred: Well, proud, I guess, and also kind of mystified, like “did I do that?” I honestly don’t feel I have any particularly fabulous talents beyond showing up, being kind and encouraging, and seeing the good in people. It makes me happy, basically, because I feel like I’ve been impacted and uplifted by so many of those who tell me I’ve done that for them!
Derinda: If you could pick one author (dead or alive) to have dinner with, who would it be? What would be the first thing you would say to them?
Fred: I think I would choose Agatha Christie, I loved her books and read them all (and re-read many) when I was a teenager/twenty-something. She’s just so English (yep, Anglophile here), so clever and yet so down to earth. I’d love to ask her something profound and witty, but would have to work up to that. I’d start by offering her a glass of wine, and then I think I’d like her to tell me what it was like being in Egypt as an archaeologist’s wife back in the day.
Derinda: When you’re not playing the guitar, what is your most favorite thing in the world to do?
Fred: My favorite thing to do is chill quietly on my deck on a summer evening, listening to music as it grows dark around me, sipping on a chilled glass of Moscato or Riesling, while munching on some chips and salsa.
Derinda: Can you share one secret about yourself, with all of us Fred Team members?
Fred: I won a Hopwood Award for poetry when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and I still write poetry occasionally. I’m attaching a recent poem called “Cents Worth.”
Found an old penny today,
Although maybe “found” isn’t quite the
Right word, since it was in my pocket all along.
But that seems to imply
Some noteworthy element of novelty – “noticias?”
And an old penny
Hardly qualifies for that.
So I’ll settle for “came across,” or perhaps even a grandiloquent
“My attention intersected the preexistence
Of an old penny today.”
It was from a time before you were born,
But after I was.
So here’s my question, then.
When things come into the world
Is there a hole where they belong?
Or do they have to push to make
A place for themselves?
I guess I’m talking about people, actually,
Now that I think of it.
Because sometimes when they go,
They sure leave a big hole behind them.
Big enough for lots of things to fall into.
But I guess now I have a penny for those.
Not too many though, okay?
• Color? Robin’s egg blue
• Food? Tough one, not a picky eater. Angel food cake, buffalo wings. Not at the same time!
• Song/Singer? Another tough one to narrow down! You’ve Got A Friend by Carole King, as performed by James Taylor would sure be high on my list of favorite songs. In My Life by The Beatles would be another favorite song. Jackson Browne would be very high on my list of favorite singer/songwriters. Among more contemporary types, I am very fond of A Rocket To The Moon, Owl City and He Is We. Other bands I love include Keane and The Fray. I am all about the mellow, lol. I do still love French cabaret music, and have a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorites from back in the day.
Where can you find Fred