>Bob Freeman Interview
Q. Hi Bob, how has the last year been for you?
Jim, 2010 has been one hell of a ride so far with all the accompanying peaks and valleys one comes to expect not only from life itself but from this crazy ass industry. It’s been, ultimately, a very rewarding year with the promise of even bigger and better things to come.
Q. Author, poet, and artist, do you find any one to be the most rewarding?
They each have their place, each tickling a different part of the brain. In the end, if cornered, I’d say the hat I prefer to wear is that of the author. I enjoy hammering out a long and involved tale, with twists and turns and reckless abandonment. For me, poetry and artwork just sort of pour out rather quickly, so it’s the role of author that is more fulfilling creatively because I have to really work at it.
Q. You have produced some damn fine covers over the years, is there any one you’re most proud of?
That’s a hard one. I think my favorite is probably the one I just completed for the re-release of Keepers of the Dead — a fiery redhead on a bloody altar in the heart of Roslyn Chapel. What’s not to love about something like that?
Q. Your new novel Descendant has just been released by Belfire Press, can you tells us about the story?
Agents Selina Wolfe and Martin Crowe investigate the paranormal for a clandestine division of the FBI. They get called out to rural Indiana to look into the bizarre murders of several high school students who had become involved in black magic rituals and sacrifice. The agents soon discover that it runs far deeper than that and they get caught up in a power struggle between monsters, ghosts, angels, and demons.
Q. How goes it with Nightstalkers of Indiana? Have you had any interesting experiences recently with them?
Unfortunately I’ve been too busy to devote as much time to the Nightstalkers as I’d like, but I’ve managed to sneak in an investigation here and there including return trips to a haunted Oddfellows Lodge that we’ve pored over for the past five years and a couple of private residences that were eventful.
On our most recent investigation, in which we teamed up with another group, we had absolutely no luck with our more modern equipment, but, kicking it old school, we got intriguing results with my dowsing rods.
In the end, a spirit attached itself to one of our investigators and we were able to remove it from the residence and utilizing a purification circle and a bit of ritual magic were able to send it on its way into the great hereafter.
Q. Being actively involved in ghost hunting, are the Crowe and Wolfe mysteries closer to your heart than say the Cairnwood saga?
A few months ago I would have definitely said yes, but here of late the Wolves of Cairnwood Manor have been howling and I’m compelled to answer their call. But in a real sense, it’s all the same. I mean, they take place in the same universe and we’ll be seeing more and more of a bleed over between the two soon enough.
Q. Talking of the Cairnwoods, can you reveal anything about the third book in the series?
Well, Jim, I left everyone sort of hanging with a nasty little cliffhanger at the end of Keepers of the Dead, so the third book, In Time’s Shadow, will address that, picking up a few months later. Where, and just as importantly, when Michael is will be the crux of the matter and the future of Cairnwood Manor, and its past, will be greatly changed by the events of this book. Time travel is a tricky bastard, but I think this will be very satisfying for the fans of the series.
Q. Can you tell us of any lessons you have learned since the publication of the first Cairnwood novel?
Oh, I’ve learned a lot since the publication of Shadows Over Somerset. I was as green as green gets. Most importantly for anyone out there thinking of delving into this as a profession, know how to format your manuscript and be meticulous when editing your work. And for Odin’s sake, you’d bloody well get more than your own eyes on it, because you will not have enough distance between yourself and the work to proof it properly. The hardest lesson to learn is patience. It’s not enough to be published. It’s about being published well. One misstep can set you back for years. Be cautious. Be steadfast. And pay attention to your peers. They know of what they speak, usually because they’ve already made the mistakes. Take that to heart.
Q. So how do you feel about these interesting publishing times?
It’s crazy, isn’t it? Publishers and booksellers are dropping like proverbial flies and everyone’s
treating ebooks like a boogeyman rising from the murky depths. Look, mass markets may be going the way of the dodo, but so what? The MMPB has always been a cheap tosser. I see no harm in ebooks supplanting them as the low rung on the publishing totem pole. Hardcovers and Trades are not going anywhere. Book lovers will still be fed. The ebooks are just another vehicle for getting our stories out there. As long as the money still flows to the writer, all is good.
Q. You are known to be big fan of the classics, such as Lovecraft and Howard. How important do you think it is for horror authors to be at least aware of their work?
There are a handful of authors who should be required reading for anyone interested in writing horror fiction. Lovecraft and Howard, to be sure, but also the likes of Shirley Jackson, Manly Wade Wellman, Dennis Wheatley, Karl Wagner, Ramsey Campbell, and so on and so forth. They are the foundation off which you build.
Q. How much research do you do for your novels?
Research is paramount to being a good writer. There’s the old maxim — “write what you know”. This is truth. Researching your subject matter is imperative, but not just from reading. Life is research. Pay attention to the world around you. If you want your readers to believe in the fantastic you have to submerge them into a world that’s both visceral and familiar. That’s where research comes in. The more you know as a writer, the more your readers will buy hook, line, and sinker whatever it is you’re selling.
Q. Do you have a dream story to write if you could guarantee its publication?
I like playing in my sandbox. I love the world I’ve created and the characters I’ve populated it with, but if I could play in someone else’s sandbox for a bit I wouldn’t mind tackling Robert E. Howard’s Steve Harrison.
And there’s still a part of me that would like to get my hands on an established comic book franchise, like Doctor Strange, Werewolf By Night, or the original Ghost Rider to name but a few.
Q. What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a lot of projects in the works. Belfire Press will be publishing Autumn Moon and the Book of Secrets next year, as well as the follow up novel to Descendant, Born Again. Black Death Books is re-releasing the first two Cairnwood Manor novels prior to the publication of In Time’s Shadow. I should have a graphic novel out from the Horror Collective by the end of next year, and there is a whole host of short stories that should be showing up in various anthologies in the very near future.
Also watch for ebook releases for all these works and more. It’s a brave new world, as they say. Anyone interested can keep up to date on what’s shaking in my little corner of the universe by checking out my websitehttp://occultdetective.com/ my twitter feed http://twitter.com/OccultDetective or my official forum at http://merchantskeep.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=72&start=0
As always, Jim, it was great chatting with you. Slainte mhor agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.