>The Bob Freeman Interview
When did you start writing, and do you think you have reached a stage where you are comfortable in calling yourself a writer?
I’d say that I’ve hit that comfort zone, I mean, it’s what I do… it’s who I am… there’s no denying that. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a writer. It certainly always seemed natural to me. I just had to accept it.
My problem was always a lack of focus, especially once I got to college. At that time I was convinced that I was going to be a kind of Hunter S. Thompson-like occult journalist and I spent a lot of time doing drugs and chasing ghosts…
My writing career didn’t start until 2000 though. I had lost my job and got married in the same week and I was having trouble finding work. Eventually my wife suggested that I use the time to write a novel, something I was always threatening to do but had never seriously attempted. Hell, I’d never even completed a short story at that point.
So, as my lovely wife would head off to work, I would sit down at the keyboard and write for 8 hrs. When she got home, she’d read what I had written while she was gone and we’d discuss it… it was great feedback, and it kept me going.
I finished the book, Shadows Over Somerset, in three months and then the hard part, the part that drives a writer absolutely crazy, began.
Has there been one author more than any other that has been a major influence on your writing?
There have been so many… Robert E. Howard, Umberto Eco, Robert Anton Wilson, Dennis Wheatley… but if I had to look at my fiction objectively and pinpoint a single author, I think it would be Katherine Kurtz.
I was never a fan of her Deryni series, but The Adept, Lammas Night, The Templar series… these really captured my imagination and there’s certainly a lot of influence there, especially in the way that she would history and mold it into her fiction seamlessly.
Do you have any rituals you go through when writing?
Not like in the early days. Any more, I’m so desperate to squeeze in writing time that ritual had to fly out the window. It used to be about candles and mood music, like Paganini or Clannad… now, it’s just about getting my ass in front of the keyboard.
How much of you goes into your work?
More than I should probably admit
Have we seen the last of the the Cairnwood saga?
Not at all. “In Time’s Shadow”, the third book in the series, will show up… just don’t hold me to ‘when’.
How does it make you feel when I still get creeped out when walking through Roslyn woods at dusk.
Oh, that delights me to the very core of my being. That’s the best compliment that a writer can be paid. It means we did our job and I hope that that feeling never goes away, Jim.
When did your love for Scotland begin?
When I was in the second grade I read a book called Famous Warriors. In it was a chapter on Robert the Bruce and I was captivated.
I was playing with some plastic knights at my grandparents’ house one afternoon and my grandpa asked me what I was up to. I explained that I was reenacting the Battle of Bannockburn and chewed his ear telling him all about the book I’d read…
He informed me that Robert the Bruce was our distant relative, that we had Stewart blood in us, along with a host of others (we are mutts of the first order).
That’s all it took really. It’s been a lifelong obsession ever since
Can you tell us about the Nightstalkers?
Sure. I formed the Nightstalkers of Indiana in 1983 following an event in the woods along the banks of the Mississinewa Reservoir. To make a long story short, a youthful misadventure led us to become keenly aware of the presence of paranormal phenomena and, what had already been a hobby and area of interest for me — ever since I was a little boy sneaking out of the house and prowling graveyards by moonlight– became a way of life.
We experimented with the occult sciences, researched local folk lore and urban legends, investigated claims of the paranormal — including hauntings, UFO sightings, and even, on one occasion, a crop circle. In the late 80s, during the media-fueled “Satanic Panic” we aided local law enforcement and the Department of Natural Resources in examining and identifying ritual sites that were popping up all over the place, in secluded clearings and abandoned houses.
Even after a lifetime of hunting ghosts I still get the same thrill I did when I was a kid whenever I come into contact with the preternatural…
If you could use any character from any other author in one of your novels who would it be and who would you pit them up against?
You might find this odd, but I’ve thought for a while that Willie Meikle’s Derek Adams would fit nicely into my universe… I’d go old school Marvel Comics-style with it and have Adams and Wolfe & Crowe at odds before eventually joining forces to take on the Order of the Spire on the grounds of Cairwood Manor.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
There are so many things that go into the craft of becoming a good writer, but for me the most important of them all is cultivating your talent as a storyteller. Anyone can master the mechanics, but to tell a captivating story is an undefinable skill and that, to me, is intuitive. Trusting your inner voice and putting it all out there, that’s what serves a storyteller well.
is there any part of he writing process you find difficult.
Editing. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. A necessary evil, to be sure, but poring over a manuscript for typographical errors is a tedious horror that makes me cringe just thinking about it.
How do you go about writing, do you have a plot rundown, character synopsis all developed first or do you go with the flow?
Completely and unashamedly without a net. No notes. No outlines. Usually nothing but the smallest germ of an idea. I just sit down in front of that blank page and let it out, all the stuff that’s up there rattling around inside my head. There’s no greater feeling in the world than when you’re in that zone. It’s a kind of magic…
Have you ever based a character who die a horrible death, or who is just a total jerk, on someone you really didn’t like? if so did they ever figure it out?
No, but I’ve been rather brutal to people I like on occasion.
Being a horror author, do your family and friends ever wonder about you? What has their reaction been after reading your work?
Well, let’s just say that my parents don’t read my work
My wife’s a fan and my biggest cheerleader, and I have a lot of supportive friends who waited for years for me to finally settle down and do this…
And that was the last question… Thanks Jim, and to everyone else here at BHN… If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.