Thriller writer Brian Freeman speaks up Thursday night
WORTHINGTON -- Brian Freeman, an International Thriller Writers award-winner and the best-selling author of 10 novels to date, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fine arts auditorium on the campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical Colle...
WORTHINGTON - Brian Freeman, an International Thriller Writers award-winner and the best-selling author of 10 novels to date, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fine arts auditorium on the campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington.
The event is free and open to the public.
Freeman, a Woodbury-based writer whose psychological suspense books are sold in 46 countries and available in 20 languages, released his most recent novel, “Season of Fear,” on March 3 and has been tirelessly promoting it in the past month.
“I’m really looking forward to being in Worthington,” assured Freeman, a former communications strategist and marketing/public relations professional who made the leap to full-time writing 10 years ago.
“Everyone who comes to these book events has a great time, and I’ll enjoy the chance to chat with a lot of Worthington book lovers, even though it’s always particularly busy around book launch time.”
Freeman’s Worthington appearance, which is made possible by the Friends of the Nobles County Library and a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, is one of about 30 he will make during his book promotional tour in March and April.
“I’ll talk about my new book, about how I got started and about some of the funny things that go on in the publishing business,” listed Freeman in a recent phone interview.
“And there’ll be plenty of time for questions and answers, which are always a lot of fun,” he continued. “I’m not there just to market my books, but also to entertain people.
“People don’t necessarily attend book events frequently so they don’t know what to expect, but audiences typically leave feeling happy, upbeat and excited after having had the chance to talk to an author about books and the publishing business.”
The Friends of the Nobles County Library agree that local book lovers are hungry for events like this, and group officers Kristi Dean, Cheryl Avenel-Navara, Roxanne Hayenga and Gretchen O’Donnell are delighted Freeman is willing to make a stop in Worthington.
Freeman’s appearance will mark the first time in many years that a fiction writer has appeared in town courtesy of the Friends, so organizers hope for a healthy turnout.
After the London-based Quercus Publishing picked up Freeman’s first Jonathan Stride book, “Immoral,” in 2005, its success (it was named an International Book of the Month by book clubs worldwide, and Freeman received three major “Best First Novel” awards) allowed Freeman to abandon his “day job” in favor of the writing career he had hoped to pursue since he was in sixth grade.
“I literally remember sitting in a sixth-grade classroom in California working on a mystery novel,” he shared.
“Writing is in my blood; it’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life, but publishing is an incredibly challenging business and it took a long time to break through.”
Freeman spent his early years in Chicago before his family moved to California when he was 10.
“I missed the Midwest,” Freeman said, explaining his decision to attend Carleton College in Northfield, where he was an English major and met his wife of nearly 31 years, Marcia.
The couple has made their home in Woodbury since 1986.
“Marcia works with me on all the business aspects of publishing and writing,” Freeman said. “For example, when we do events around the Midwest and around the country - for book stores, libraries, wherever we go - she manages the retail end.
“In smaller communities like Worthington, where there may not be bookstores, people really appreciate it when we bring books with us to sell.”
Although Freeman’s books are all psychological thrillers, Freeman’s personal life is a little more predictable than those of his main characters, Jonathan Stride and Cab Bolton.
“I still stick to the old Monday-through-Friday schedule,” said Freeman. “I was part of the traditional work force for so long that it just feels natural to me. My mornings tend to be more about the planning process or marketing aspects, and the afternoons are more about getting words on paper.”
Freeman’s books are often mentioned - or ordered - in the same breath with those of writers John Sandford, Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben, but his own biggest thrill came from following closely in the footsteps of an even more famous writer.
Keeping company with Stephen King
“One of the great moments of my life occurred a couple of years ago,” revealed Freeman. “My seventh book, ‘Spilled Blood,’ which is set in the Granite Falls/Montevideo area, won the annual award in 2013 for Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers.
“The guy who won it the year before was Stephen King (for ‘11/22/63’),” he said. “I figure that’s pretty good company to be keeping.”
Freeman is a two-time finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, and his novels have garnered him many other kudos from critics and readers alike.
“Before I got into this business, I thought I’d had some difficult and demanding jobs, but frankly, nothing compares to the challenges of what I do now,” acknowledged Freeman.
“It’s so demanding on many different levels, but the flip side is it offers immense satisfaction.”
Freeman particularly enjoys interacting with his reading audience, both at events like the one scheduled locally this Thursday evening as well as online; he personally commits to answering every email and letter fans send him.
“If a reader takes the time to get in touch with me to talk about one of my books, I want to get back to them and show my appreciation,” said the affable Freeman, who, unlike his novels, isn’t the least bit scary.
“Readers will say to me, ‘Gosh, you seem so nice - where do you come up with all these dark ideas?’” Freeman related.
“They come from a lot of places - some ideas come from true crimes with intriguing elements that I then play around with, change the circumstances and make my own, or I might have a set idea in my mind.
“I keep a file of interesting themes, characters and circumstances that might work their way into a story one day, and when I’m in the planning process for a book, I go back to those files to review them and consider how those threads might come together.”
At the end of the day, Freeman typically manages to sleep well, even if the violence and frightening situations his fictional characters encounter sometimes keep his readers up at night.
“My goal is to keep people turning the pages as fast as they can,” admitted Freeman. “One of my favorite emails from a reader said, ‘I’ve been reduced to taking illicit bathroom breaks at work to fit in another chapter,’” chuckled Freeman.
“That’s me, doing my job.”
International best-selling author Brian Freeman will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fine arts auditorium of Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington. He will be available to meet with attendees beginning at 6:30 p.m., and also after his presentation; copies of his novels will be available for purchase and autographing on site. The event is free and open to the public.