San Antonio might seem like an unusual place for André Frieden (B.S. ’91) to choose to attend college. After all, he had lived in Africa, Switzerland, and India and all over the East coast of the United States. He’d seen more during his childhood than most people see in a lifetime. But in some ways, San Antonio was a logical choice for André. “I wanted a town and a school with history to it,” he said, and San Antonio and St. Mary’s University fit the bill.
As a novelist, André is very familiar with the importance of history. His most recent book, Tranquility Denied, grappled with the effects of the Cold War. After studying biology at St. Mary’s, he pursued a doctorate in molecular biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. That’s where his fiction career began.
“I would go to a park while I waited for experiments to finish,” André said. “I’d write poems and short stories, and after three years, I realized I had enough material for a book. Those writings eventually became my first book, Canvas Sunsets Never Fade. After getting his law degree from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 1997, André jumped into the legal world, focusing on biotechnical law. As senior counsel at Follett Corp. in Chicago – and a writer- he doesn’t have a lot of free time.
“I keep vampire hours,” André said, “and I’m a caffeine junkie. I write three nights a week until 3 a.m., and I spend Sundays doing research. I have to make the time to write. I use my vacations to research my novels.”
When he wrote Canvas Sunsets Never Fade, André had never taken a writing class. After publication of his first book, he took some classes at Columbia College in Chicago and joined a local writing group. The group recently published a book of short stories, SIN: A Deadly Anthology, and it has plans to publish a second book. As much as he enjoys writing, he doesn’t plan to make it a full-time job. For now, it’s an extremely rewarding hobby.
“The law grounds me into reality,” André said. “My job gives me insight into other people and worlds. I can blend my profession into my fiction and it enriches the characters.” André recently traveled to Chile and New Jersey to research his upcoming novel. He hopes to make a stop at his alma mater on his next book tour.
“I loved my time at St. Mary’s,” he said. “I’m always curious to experience new places, and I’m glad St. Mary’s was one of them.”