Thought you, the readers of my blog, would enjoy seeing this article on me published in our local newspaper of record here in Prescott, AZ: The Daily Courier.
12/24/2013 6:02:00 AM
Local man transitions from creating television shows to sci-fi, children’s books
The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT VALLEY – While working an 8-hour day may seem like an eternity for some people, working 12 to 14-hours at a time is normal for author Frederick Fichman.
“Sometimes it’s just not enough time. Time disappears when you’re sitting there banging away at the computer,” Fichman said. “All of a sudden you’re into a story. It’s like you go into an altered state because you are so into what you are doing.”
Fichman’s most popular work is “Seti”, which was published by Penguin Books in 1990. The novel originally began as a screenplay, according to Fichman.
“I was working with David Putnam, head of Columbia Pictures, to make ‘Seti’ into a movie. It was very close to the time when ‘Close Encounters’ came out,” Fichman said. “They paid me some money for it, had me do a couple of rewrites, and it was put on the fast track. But then Columbia got sold, so David Putnam was out and all the line of films he had slated to do were out.”
Not wanting to give up on “Seti”, Fichman pitched the book to Penguin Books. The company agreed to publish the novel. The book sold more than 12,000 copies in the U.S. and was picked up by publishers in England, Canada, and Australia. He is currently working on a third book to complete the trilogy.
In addition to writing science fiction and mystery novels, Fichman has penned a variety of non-fiction works.
His “Visit the Zoo” 12-book series educates children, teens and adults on 120 animals often seen in zoos across the country. The books include information such as the population status of each animal, if they are endangered or not, and descriptions of their natural habitat, diet and longevity. Fichman took all of the photographs contained in the series.
“The books are like a docent walking right with you” Fichman said.
Fichman’s zoo series recently caught the attention of Prince William of England. Fichman proudly shows off a letter he received from The Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary, Miguel Head, on Sept. 30, singing the book’s praises.
“His Royal Highness is certainly supportive of all and any efforts to encourage young people to appreciate the world around them,” the letter read.
Fichman credits much of his success to the development of new technology and e-books. He has published e-books through Nook, Kindle and Kobo. However, with that success comes a lot of work.
“You have to be constantly marketing and promoting your book until it takes off. There may be a million books up on Kindle, so you are competing with all those books,” Fichman said. “But you know what, even though it takes time and it takes work, there’s something satisfying about doing it yourself.”
While Fichman studied journalism and English at the University of Kansas, writing wasn’t his first career path.
Fichman worked as a television executive for ABC for nearly 30 years. He began his stint in the industry when he was just 21 years old, working for cartoon giants Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. The company produced a variety of popular cartoons such as The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and The Smurfs.
Fichman’s job at Hanna-Barbera was to check all of the background cells that would be photographed to create the cartoons.
“It was all hand-done back then, there was no animation like there is today,” Fichman said.
Fichman was promoted to a variety of jobs throughout his career in the television industry. From running ABC’s music department, juggling a $50 million budget, to writing scripts for shows like “The Odd Couple”, Fichman steadily climbed the corporate ladder in Hollywood.
Working in the television industry, offered Fichman the unique opportunity to mix and mingle with Hollywood A-listers and power brokers.
“I had so many experiences I could sit here all day and tell you stories about the people I met. It runs from presidents to celebrities,” Fichman said, laughing. “I could write a book.”
For more information about Fichman’s books, visit www.FrederickFichman.com.