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Authors > Brian Freeman Q & A August 5th

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message 1: by Sean, Moderator (new)

Sean Peters | 9344 comments Mod
Add your questions for Brian Freeman here, as here early next week.

As many are reading or have read The Bone House, should be a few questions.

message 2: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Love Brian Freeman!

message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Looking forward to chatting with everyone! Post lots of questions! :-)

message 4: by Lavada (new)

Lavada (kraftyvada) | 502 comments Loved the book Bone House! Can't wait to read the 2nd in the series. I loved Cab! I was blindsighted by the ending. How did you come up with his character, earring and all?

message 5: by Perri (new)

Perri I don't often give thrillers five stars, but The Bone House received them for me. I loved the fast pace and complex characters. One of the few I was thinking about afterwards, trying to figure things out.
As the author, do you know what Mark Bradley is guilty of,if anything?
As a writer, what's your favorite part of the process?
As a reader, what the last five star book you can recommend? Thanks!

Tim The Enchanter | 511 comments Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions. I haven't had the opportunity to read Bone House yet but I do have questions that relate the Jonathan Stride series and in particular the first two books. I will post questions as they come to me.

1) In Immoral you created the most unlikeable victim I can recall. Where did you come up with the idea of Rachael Deese?

message 7: by Sean, Moderator (new)

Sean Peters | 9344 comments Mod
Brian, my question is.

When you wrote The Bone House, did you decide in advance that Cat Bolton would be a returning character, before you started the book, or do you decide while writing.

Have you decided who the villain is at the start of writing or again decide while writing.

Any intention of bringing our husband and wife team back from The Bone House for another book.

message 8: by Sean, Moderator (last edited Aug 05, 2014 05:52AM) (new)

Sean Peters | 9344 comments Mod
Reading Immoral now, and yes what a nasty character Rachel was.

message 9: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Oh, thanks so much, Deborah. I really appreciate it.

message 10: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments I'm here! Not sure if I'm doing this right...can't seem to make comments on individual posts. So I will take them one at a time as we go!

message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Lavada, so glad you enjoyed The Bone House. Yes, Cab returns next spring in the US (April 7) with SEASON OF FEAR. I think you'll love the new one.

In creating Cab, I wanted a character who took the world seriously and himself not at all. And I confess, I wanted to poke some fun at all of the haunted angst-ridden detectives we writers have created! (Which includes my own Duluth character Jonathan Stride.) Cab doesn't much care what the world thinks of him. His spiky hair. His earring. His expensive suits. That's Cab being Cab. He doesn't play well with others, because he just can't fit the mold.

In the new book, by the way, you'll actually get to MEET his mother, who was mostly an off-stage character in The Bone House. And she's a hoot.

message 12: by Gerard (new)

Gerard Oconnell | 33 comments hi brian, just got your book, the bone house. looking forward to it.

message 13: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Perri, that means a lot to me -- thanks. I try to write thrillers where you have to keep turning the pages, but also where the characters will linger in your mind when you're done.

I always resolve the mysteries...but I do tend to leave shades of gray about certain things. What really happened on the beach with Mark Bradley and Glory? I don't know. Only Mark knows. Which is the struggle for Hilary...to decide if she believes her husband when she ultimately can't know the truth. One of my favorite passages from my books is at the end: "You live your life. You trust. You have faith."

My favorite part of the process? Probably the editing...because at that point the draft is finally done! Actually, I enjoy all the facets...creating the concept, developing the characters, getting the words on the page, editing until I'm (finally) satisfied. But it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Ever read Peter Robinson's IN A DRY SEASON? If not, you should. Definitely five stars.

message 14: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Hi Tim,

Ah, Rachel. Yes, she is a piece of work, isn't she? When the French edition of IMMORAL was released, they decided to use a feminine title IMMORALE, because they concluded that Rachel -- the victim -- was the most immoral character in the book.

I thought it would be fascinating to create a teenage girl who recognized the extraordinary power she could wield over adults if she didn't bother with moral conventions. Ironically, a lot of teenage girls have written to me about the book...and what an empowering character Rachel is (for as bad as she is as a person). Hmm, a little scary? But it's true...Rachel calls the tune in the book, and the adults dance.

message 15: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Sean,

Thanks to you and your readers for having me here!

No, I envisioned THE BONE HOUSE as a stand-alone originally. You'll note that Cab is really a supporting character in this book...the real heroes at the center of the story are Mark and Hilary. However, I heard a lot from readers and publishers alike about how much they liked Cab and wanted to see him return. So I decided to give Cab a platform of his own as a series character, like Stride.

I usually know the ending -- and therefore the villain(s) -- before I start. My plots are very complex, with lots of threads, so I like to know how the different strands come together. However, there are two levels to a mystery/thriller. The first level is the back story -- the secrets behind the novel -- and that usually doesn't change as I write the book. The second level is HOW I reveal the back story in the most dramatic and suspenseful way possible. That can change quite a bit as the character and story take shape on the page. It may not change the identity of the villain, but the novel itself can go in some new directions as I write.

I don't expect Mark and Hilary to return the way Cab did. I think their story is done. Same with the Hawk family in my stand-alone SPILLED BLOOD. (Which won the Best Hardcover Novel award in the 2013 Thriller Awards.) These are characters with one dramatic story to tell -- as opposed to detectives like Cab and Stride, who deal with new mysteries all the time.

message 16: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Gerard, thanks...enjoy THE BONE HOUSE!

message 17: by Sean, Moderator (new)

Sean Peters | 9344 comments Mod
Brian, hopefully there will be more online throughout the day, I know it is still earlier in America, here now 2.00 p.m.

I am reading Immmoral now with 2-3 others already to read.

Other question from me.

Can you name your favourite authors you like to read.

Plus have you read (some of my favourites) Simon Kernick, Tom Bale, and the new book by Roger Hobbs The Ghostman.

message 18: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Thanks, Sean.

You know, one of the only downsides of being a writer is that it's hard to read in my own genre now. We've got great authors in this area, but when you spend all day writing suspense, it's hard to curl up with someone else's thriller at the end of the day!

I mentioned Peter Robinson...one of my long-time faves. You may not know an American author of legal thrillers named William J. Coughlin, because he passed away with only a few books under his belt -- but he was terrific. Worth making an effort to find some of his novels.

Stephen Hunter is terrific...POINT OF IMPACT, one of the best books I've ever read. Same with the always-original thrillers from David Morrell.

Tim The Enchanter | 511 comments 1) I am always interested to know if authors listen to the audio versions of their books. I was wondering if you do and if you have any input in the who the narrator is?

2) Setting is important and especially in crime thriller where the sheriff / detective / PI uses their insight into their community to help solve crime. I was wonder what your thought process was to the change of locale for Stripped?

3) I note that in at least the first few books of the Jonathan Stride series (I haven't been able to read them all yet) you have a focus on the power that sex and lust has over people. What are your thoughts on the use of sex in these novels?

Hopefully I will have a chance to get back and ask a few more questions!

message 20: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Good questions, Tim.

1) I get great feedback on the narrator of my audio editions, Joe Barrett -- but I confess, I can't listen to them myself! There's a music to prose, and I hear it in my head in a certain way. So it doesn't work to listen to someone else read my work.

2) Yes, setting is vital. I really like a "you are there" feel to my books, where the reader feels as if he/she has been dropped down in the middle of the action and can feel/touch/taste/hear/smell it happening all around them. Hopefully, that's as much true in Vegas in STRIPPED as in Minnesota in my other novels. I loved the idea of a Vegas novel, and I liked the idea of this northern Midwesterner, Stride, finding himself a fish out of water in such a very different place. But inevitably, Stride was going to go back to Duluth -- as he did in my third book, STALKED.

3) Agreed, the early books are more explicit. I write psychological thrillers, which means the drama emerges out of the emotions, backgrounds, and secrets of the characters. Sex is a powerful driver, it would seem false not to make it a key part of the character motivations. It's not gratuitous...it's vital to understanding them. (See the first scene in IMMORAL between Stride and Andrea...essential scene to what works -- and doesn't work -- in their relationship.)


message 21: by Perri (new)

Perri Brian wrote: "Perri, that means a lot to me -- thanks. I try to write thrillers where you have to keep turning the pages, but also where the characters will linger in your mind when you're done.

I always resol..."

"Only Mark knows", I like that.Could be applied to a lot of situations, I guess. In A Dry Season (Inspector Banks, #10) by Peter Robinson -added, thanks. Gotta say, you come across as such a genuine, generous guy, in addition to being a good writer. I think I have a new favorite author. Thanks for taking the time to do this! :)

message 22: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I don't really have any questions now, couple I would have asked but you have answered.

I love the Stride novels, fantastic. Have read lots of reviews on The Bone House, and ordered it yesterday, I'm reading a Lisa Gardner novel for my August book pal, but we both decided yesterday to read The Bone House together as it's on both out TBR shelves, so hopefully this time next week I'll be reading it. Having only reading the reviews I'm already hoping this is the start of another good series.

Good Luck and thank you for sharing

message 23: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments That's so kind of you, Perri -- thanks! When I do events, I have to laugh, because so many readers say: Gee, you seem like such a nice guy, how can you write these dark stories?? I even had one book club that loved my books but didn't invite me to their discussion because (and I quote): "We took a look at your photo on your web site, and we thought you looked kinda scary!" Hahaha!

Thanks, Deborah. Lisa is such a gem. She was very kind about how much she loved my stand-alone SPILLED BLOOD. I hope you become a Cab fan soon in addition to Stride!

Tim The Enchanter | 511 comments Brian wrote: "Hi Tim,

Ah, Rachel. Yes, she is a piece of work, isn't she? When the French edition of IMMORAL was released, they decided to use a feminine title IMMORALE, because they concluded that Rachel -- ..."

That is kind of scary. Rachael was not the kind of character I would hope my daughters would emulate. Regardless, she stands of one of my favorite "victims" in any book I have read. Which means I have to ask

1) Did you have an inspiration for Rachael or was she a culmination of the all the "mean girls" you came across in life.

2) I am interested in your thoughts on your own writing. Is one of your books a "favorite" and is one a "problem child".

3) Have you modeled your writing after other author or have some authors that have inspired your writing?

4) Recently, it seems that many of my favorite authors have started branching out and writing books in different genres. If you were going to write a book that wasn't a crime thriller, what would you write and why?

message 25: by Christine (new)

Christine (clt04) | 5608 comments Hi Brian! Thank you for being here today. I am a fellow Minnesotan having moved to Duluth from Tennessee in 1973 to attend the new medical school at UMD. I was lucky enough to spend my career at Mayo and have been in Rochester since 1980. I loved my few years in Duluth. I must say there is an 8th Wonder of the World in that dramatic view of Lake Superior that suddenly appears as you drive into town from the south. As beautiful as anything I have ever seen.

I have just been reading for pleasure for a year, since I retired last October. I asked my friends about good mystery/thriller writers and your name came up. I read Immoral and absolutely loved it. You now have another big fan!

Brian, many of my questions have been asked already, but I do have another. I saw your beautiful cats on Facebook. I too have cats and have a real problem with them and the computer! How do you handle the problem of little furry beings volunteering to help you write when you are bellied up to the computer????


message 26: by Gerard (new)

Gerard Oconnell | 33 comments have you read any of stuart macbride books, ged

message 27: by Denise (new)

Denise Cowling | 28 comments Hi Brian,
Looking forward to reading the Bone House. Its my next book to read.


message 28: by Jean (last edited Aug 05, 2014 11:12AM) (new)

Jean | 2004 comments Hi, Brian,
Thanks for taking time to answer questions today. I have to say that I enjoy your Duluth-based Stride books very much, perhaps because I grew up in that area, but also because I really enjoy the characters so much. (Sorry, I was not a big fan of Cab like so many of your other readers, but perhaps he will grow on me.) Are the characters you create based on people you have met? Also - I have one of my seven cats sitting here as I type this - do your cats assist you at all in your writing? Oh, darn, Chris asked you that already, sort of!


message 29: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments A pleasure to be here with all of you!

Tim: I confess I did run across some "mean girls" as a kid. Yes, there's probably a bit of them in Rachel! :-)

Favorite books? Usually it's the one I'm working on at the time. I know readers will have their own personal favorites, but I try to raise the bar with each book.

My inspirations weren't necessarily from the thriller genre. I grew up reading big dramatic writers (Michener, Uris, Wallace), which may be why I write more emotional thrillers than may be typical in the genre.

As for branching out: I did! I actually wrote a book called THE AGENCY under the pseudonym Ally O'Brien. It's sort of Sex and the City meets The Devil Wears Prada. It's a hoot!

message 30: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Chris and Jean,

Thanks...nice to hear from readers with Duluth ties! I agree about the amazing views up there. It's a hidden gem. Of course, my own perspective on Duluth is a little warped now. I drive into town and look up at the Enger tower and think, "Yep, killed someone there."

As for our three furry friends...oh yes, they do make it interesting to work sometimes. Heathrow is the intrepid orange one, and he has to be at the center of everything...including my keyboard. He usually "helps" best when he's sleeping in front of the monitor. At least then I can work!

Are the characters based on real people? Well, typically they're a melange of characteristics...usually not complete replicas of people I know. Although Mark and Hilary in The Bone House are based pretty closely on some dear friends of ours.

message 31: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Gerard...haven't read Stuart but have heard great things about him.

Denise...thanks! Enjoy The Bone House.

Karrie...yes, there's always interesting research for each book, whether it's locations, characters, or plots. I scout real locales the way a film director would, and I write background sketches on all the characters before I start. I get a lot of research help from readers, too, including police and county attorneys.

message 32: by Nicki (last edited Aug 05, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

Nicki (goodreadscomnickirichards) | 159 comments Hi Brian,
If your Jonathan Stride books were ever made into a tv series,who would you want or like to play Jonathan Stride,Maggie Bei and Serena Dial?.

I loved The Cold Nowhere,one of the best books that i have read in a long time.

message 33: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Oh, great question, Nicki. So glad you loved The Cold Nowhere! (Did you read the e-prequel TURN TO STONE. Don't miss it...one of my favorite Stride stories.)

TV....hmmm. I know Angie is tied up with Rizzoli & Isles, but I've always thought she'd make a great Serena. There are so few Asian actresses in Hollywood that readers always talk about Lucy Liu as Maggie...but I'm not sure it's a great fit. What do you think?

As for Stride...tough call...Kyle Maclachlan? Billy Campbell?

message 34: by Nicki (last edited Aug 05, 2014 01:03PM) (new)

Nicki (goodreadscomnickirichards) | 159 comments No,i have'nt read Turned to Stone,i don't have a Kindle yet because i prefer books that are made of paper although i have been thinking about getting a e-reader because so many of my favorite authors are releasing books that you can only get as e-books.

I think Lucy Liu would be a good choice to play Maggie but there is also Michelle Rodriguez from the Fast and Furious films.

How about Noah Wyle as Stride?,i don't remember reading how old Stride is but then i have only read a couple of the books so far.

message 35: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Noah Wyle...interesting. Yes, that could work. :-)

message 36: by Perri (new)

Perri I was thinking The Bone House would make a pretty exciting movie. Has anyone approached you about it or any of your books?

message 37: by Sue (new)

Sue | 0 comments Hi Brian I don't have any questions, however, your book Immoral was a 5 star book for me. I am planning on reading more of your books I the near future. Thanks for taking your time to visit with us today!

message 38: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Thanks so much, Sue. That's great. You can find out more about all of the books at my web site, www.bfreemanbooks.com. I'm also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bfreemanfans and Twitter at @bfreemanbooks. By the way, since you loved IMMORAL, don't miss the special bonus scenes for that book on my web site!

Perri, we came really close on a movie deal with my pseudonymous book THE AGENCY. Had a big-name exec producer who loved it and wanted to do the film. The timing was just wrong...right at the pit of the recession, on the heels of a writer's strike in Hollywood. Big disappointment.

We keep knocking on the door with the suspense novels. I actually think TV might work better than film, because the complex nature of my plots seems to fit for the longer story arcs you're seeing now in projects like Broadchurch. So we'll see...fingers crossed!

message 39: by Lavada (new)

Lavada (kraftyvada) | 502 comments Brian Thanks so much for answering questions! I can't wait to read more!

message 40: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I would personally love to see the Stride novels as a TV series and think Kyle Maclachlan would be fantastic in his role - even sexier than in his twin peaks days ;-)

message 41: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Ha ha, like Kyle, I like to think I'm getting distinguished as I get older. Same with Stride. :-)

message 42: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1 comments Hi Brian. Love your books, been a fan since I first read Immoral years ago. Always recommend them when anyone is looking for a good read. Can't wait till your new one is released in Canada!

message 43: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Thanks so much, Carol. SEASON OF FEAR should be out in Canada in the spring!

And thanks to all of you for sharing the day with me! I really enjoyed chatting with you. I hope you'll help me spread the word to other readers.

You can always reach me by e-mail at brian@bfreemanbooks.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bfreemanfans or Twitter @bfreemanbooks.

Happy reading!

message 44: by Sean, Moderator (new)

Sean Peters | 9344 comments Mod

Thanks for your time, and we will spread the word, as many fans on here.

I hope you will stay a members and read reviews.

kind regards


message 45: by Brian (new)

Brian Freeman (brianfreeman) | 20 comments Definitely -- thanks, Sean. :-)

message 46: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I didn't realise I hadn't read all the stride books! Really excited to get reading them this month. Have you ever toured UK to promote any of your novels? I know a great bookstore in Belfast 'No Alibis' would love to have you :)

message 47: by Joy (new)

Joy (jlangt) | 3 comments Thanks so much Brian for your feedback. I was sorry to have missed the question portion, but I do want to say that you have rapidly become one of my favourite authors. I vacation in Duluth every chance I have, and I love seeking out the locations you speak of in your books, and often can be found Google Streetviewing locations.

Thanks very much for sharing your creativity. I imagine it must be kind of a cool feeling to realize how much you impact on others in this way.

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