Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Shadows Over Somerset"--An Interview with Bob Freeman

Hey, everybody. Today we've got none other than Bob Freeman stopping over at the blog to talk about his new Gothic Horror novel Shadows Over Somerset. Bob's a good pal and colleague and has, over the years, contributed the covers to my ebooks Flowers for Shelly and The Coming Evil: Lengthening Shadows. Most recently, he also did art duties on my newest release HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder. Now that I've shamelessly plugged my own stuff, I'm gonna turn the spotlight on Bob and his new book! Behold this beautiful cover, yo!

Greg Mitchell: Bob! Congratulations on the new book. Or should I say the reprint, as this isn’t the first time Shadows Over Somerset has been unleashed on the world. How does this version differ from the previous incarnation?

Bob Freeman: Thanks, Greg. First and foremost, this new edition is properly formatted. There were some serious problems with the original. There were several instances where scene breaks were overlooked by the design team, and I was green enough to not catch it in the galleys. The result was a chaotic mess, to be honest. It feels good to have those wrongs righted at long last. Seventh Star has done a superb job of presenting Shadows Over Somerset in the manner I always felt it deserved.

GM: The last time we had you over at the blog, you were considering an exciting new venture as your own publisher to release the Cairnwood Manor saga, but now you’ve been picked up by Seventh Star Press. How did this change come about?

BF: I have a tendency to overreach. There's just so much I want to do, but I work long hours and I place a high value on the time I spend with my family. There aren't enough hours in a day... It was just a bit overwhelming, but I was soldiering on. But, as luck would have it, I ran into my friend Stephen Zimmer at a convention and he expressed interest in my bringing something to his Press. I admired and respected the work he'd done, plus some close close friends of mine were already being published there. It really seemed like a perfect fit, and freed me up to delve into some of my other obsessions.

GM: Let’s go back to the beginning a bit: What was the original inspiration behind Shadows Over Somerset? How did this series start for you?

BF: The idea for a pack of werewolves making the Mississinewa their home was sparked by a real event. My brother, two of our close friends, and I were hiking along an abandoned stretch of road that once crossed Goose Creek. It was near dark. Along the bank, from the woods, we heard low, menacing growls and spied the reflective glow of several sets of predatory eyes. The beasties came for us, sprinting through the trees and we high-tailed it out of there, with these hellhounds snipping at our heels. It was terrifying and exhilarating and... ultimately, inspiring. So, years later, due largely to my wife's encouragement, when I sat down to put pen to paper on my first novel, it was that story that welled up inside me and demanded to be told.

GM: Because I know you and your love of Marvel Comics and the idea of a connected mythology (I can relate :p) how does Cairnwood Manor fit into your uber-mythos?

BF: All my characters are pretty much playing in the same backyard. Cairnwood Manor is a thirteen minute drive from Landon Connor's Caliburn House, and roughly 12 minutes from the Sinclair Mansion in the first Wolfe and Crowe novel, Descendant. It's just a matter of time before they bump into each other.

GM: Not only do you have the exciting news that the Cairnwood Manor trilogy will be released in its entirety, I understand that Seventh Star has already picked up the rights to publish your Wolfe & Crowe series, as well?

BF: Quite true. And as events unfold, you can certainly expect the two series to become intertwined in such a way that the whole of it all might better be thought of as a sextet.

GM: I seriously hope that my cameo in Descendent (a previously published volume of the Wolfe & Crowe adventures) is intact? :p Still horribly mangled by a gargoyle, am I?

BF: Indeed. And given the nature of this preternatural playground of mine, mangled and disemboweled does not necessarily mean Greg Mitchell's story has ended. In many ways, his adventures have just begun.

GM: Nice! With no less than six books coming out, I expect you to be pretty busy. How’s your workload these days?

BF: It's a full plate, to be sure, but I enjoy the challenge, and I'm always finding new and exciting ways to express myself creatively. In the end, it's all about time management and doing the absolute most you can with the time you have.

GM: When you do rest, what sort of things inspire you to keep creating? When the well runs dry, where do you go for more water?

BF: I have a ten-year-old son at home and his wheels are always turning. He's constantly coming to me with story ideas, plot devices, and new takes on familiar monsters. So between him and my own fertile imagination, all my bases are pretty well covered.

I also have decades of real-world experience with the supernatural and paranormal investigation. Almost all of my stories have elements from the various cases of worked on and the research I've dedicated the better part of my life toward.

Interior illustration from Enggar Adirasa
from Shadows Over Somerset
GM: My next question is to Bob: The Artist. Usually you handle the art duties for your projects (and a few side jobs like my newly released HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder, Ithankyou), but for Shadows Over Somerset, Seventh Star has brought in (the wonderfully talented, I must say) Enggar Adirasa for cover and interior art. Was that difficult for you to hand over the responsibility to another artist? How did it feel getting back those first renderings?

BF: I was actually really looking forward to tackling the art on the Cairnwood Manor series. I was never very happy with the original cover art on Shadows and Keepers, but when Stephen Zimmer introduced me to Enggar, I was blown away by the talent of this young man. Turning over the reins to him was a no-brainer. I knew he was capable, and, again, it freed me up to check-off some nagging deadlines that were weighing heavily on my soul.

It was brilliant move on my part. Enggar's cover for Shadows Over Somerset is a thing of beauty. I couldn't be happier.

GM: So what’s next for you, and where can folks find the new edition of Shadows Over Somerset?

BF: I'm currently writing the third volumes in both the Cairnwood Manor series and the Wolfe & Crowe series, plus working on the artwork for the release of the first Wolfe & Crowe/Landon Connors. I've also got a few short stories on the fire, an intro and story for an upcoming Occult Detective anthology being edited by my friend Josh Reynolds, and a million and one other things to boot.

Shadows Over Somerset is available now in ebook and trade paperback. You can order from Amazon through this handy little link or stop by my website for further details.

One project I'm neck-deep into and crazy excited about is an Occult Detective board game. I've always had a passion for tabletiop role-playing games and I think this will present an interesting compromise between traditional board game play and collaborative storytelling.

GM: As always, I love having you over to the blog, Bob. Thanks for stopping by and best to you and your new book! Now if everyone will excuse me, I'm off to go order my copy right now!

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