Whether he be writing novels and short stories, crafting book covers with his dynamic artwork, engineering new role playing game systems or investigating a haunting, Bob Freeman stays busy. He’s authored numerous horror novels including Cairnwood Manor: Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead and the forthcoming Descendant from Seventh Star Press as well as his short story collection First Born. His artwork has been featured in magazines such as Occult Detective Quarterly and has adorned book covers for the likes of Willie Meikle, Steven Shrewsbury, and Michael West to name a few. Throw in his work as a game designer and occult investigator and it’s plain to see he leads a tremendously productive and interesting life. Today we have the opportunity to get some insight from him about these endeavors.
H.D.: Your new novel Descendant comes out on All Hallow’s Eve. Tell us about it.
B.F.: Descendant is the second in my Liber Monstrorum series which is, at its core, an occult detective thriller that explores my interests in folklore, urban legends, magic, and religion.
I lean heavily on actual paranormal investigations I’ve taken part in, but have taken creative license to enhance and exaggerate those events to create an explosive occult procedural.
H.D.: Can you tell us about the world those stories inhabit?
B.F.: The Liber Monstrorum tales take place in the world outside your window. Magic is real. Monsters are real. But, just like our “real world”, the majority of the public view such things as make-believe, hoaxes, and the like.
These stories revolve around Occult Detective Landon Connors and his allies as they attempt to hold back the tide of evil forces that as continuously attempting to gain a foothold in their world.
H.D.: Do they have any connection with your Cairnwood Manor series?
B.F.: Absolutely. You will recognize several familiar faces and places throughout Descendant and you can fully expect these two series to collide in the very near future.
H.D.: What is your process for writing a short story or novel?
B.F.: It’s the same for both which is to sit down and type. I seldom have the foggiest idea what I’m going to write about. Everything is by the seat of my pants. Ideas flitter about my skull all day long. I never write them down. So whatever comes out on the page is whatever my subconscious decides it wants to unload.
H.D.: Who are some of your all-time favorite horror writers?
B.F.: Well, off the top of my head, I guess the Weird Tales authors really hit home for me, guys like Lovecraft, Howard, Cave, and Wellman, plus I have a real thing for the Golden Dawn crowd. I’m talking Machen, Blackwood, Crowley, Fortune.
When I first started writing, those were the people I wanted to emulate and who I keep coming back to.
Of course, like everyone my age, I have loved Stephen King since I first cracked open The Stand back in the late 70s. While I’ve always had an issue with the way he wrapped his stories up, no one writes better characters than him.
H.D.: Like myself, you’re a fan of role playing games. What’s your favorite system to run?
B.F.: I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1978 and more than 40 years later it’s still the engine I prefer. We made the shift from 2nd edition to 5th when it came out and I find it very clean and neat. I tweak it quite a bit, but all in all, it’s simple and easy to get new players up to speed with the least amount of effort.
H.D.: How do you feel role playing games have influenced your writing?
B.F.: Immeasurably. I write the same way I DM: very little preparation and a whole lot of improvisation. Running games taught me how to tell stories, how to captivate an audience and keep the narrative flowing.
H.D.: Speaking of role playing games, can you tell us about the Occult Detective Roleplaying Game you’re developing?
B.F.: The Occult Detective RPG has been a pet project of mine for years and I hope that 2020 will finally see it released out into the world. It has some interesting character creation mechanics utilizing astrology, tarot, and runes and players have a terrific set of options that allow them to play any type of occult detective they can imagine.
H.D.: You are also an outstanding artist. How did you discover that talent?
B.F.: My grandfather used to work in a paper factory and would bring home reams of miscast paper, so me and my brother would draw incessantly on a seemingly never ending supply of white space.
I’ve always considered myself a storyteller first and foremost, regardless of the medium. Drawing is just an extension of that.
H.D.: You’ve spent time investigating real life paranormal occurrences. Can you tell me about some of the things you’ve experienced during them?
B.F.: I’ve been blessed to experience all kinds of strange and wondrous phenomena, from Full Body Apparitions to Audible Voice Phenomena. I’ve been doing this since I was 8 years old and sneaking out of the house to see ghosts in the tiny rural cemetery near my childhood home.
Unlike most paranormal investigators, I have zero interest in “proving the existence” of otherworldly beings. It’s enough that I know the truth of it, and that frees me to immerse myself in the experience, in the moment, and, hopefully, commune with preternatural entities.
There’s a story there, and that’s what I’m chasing.
H.D.: Do you have any annual Halloween traditions?
B.F.: October’s a big month for the Freeman family. We pack a lot in. The most consistent thing is our annual trip out to an abandoned Victorian farmhouse on the outskirts of our little town. It’s a beautiful old house on the verge of complete and utter ruin. We’ve gone out there every year for more than a decade. It’s always a highlight of the season, mainly because I get to share it with my wife and son.
H.D.: Which horror element or creature in literature or films consistently gives you the chills (example: for me it’s faceless creatures/specters)?
B.F.: Hands down, it’s children. Whether it’s creepy kids or children in peril, it always gets my attention.
H.D.: What future projects do you have planned?
B.F.: Well, I’m working on a tabletop game for an established IP, plus the Occult Detective RPG. I have the followup to both Keepers of the Dead and Descendant, a novel called Born Again, that will drop next year. At some point I hope to get a non-fiction book on the occult out there, a sort of handbook for people who do what I do. We’ll see…
Bob’s Website: occultdetective.com
Bob’s Twitter: twitter.com/OccultDetective
Bob’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/authorbobfreeman
Amazon Link to Descendant: https://www.amazon.com/Descendant-Novel-Monstrorum-Bob-Freeman-ebook/dp/B07XNSLQBW/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20G7PFZM24L8S&keywords=bob+freeman+descendant&qid=1570282996&sprefix=Bob+fre%2Caps%2C162&sr=8-1
Bob Freeman is an author, artist, game designer, and occult detective whose previous novels include Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, and the short story collection, First Born. His next novel, Descendant, will be released October 31.
A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.
He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.