Hello all! On this last day of the Bob Freeman Blog Tour, I will be offering a review of his latest novel, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, published by Seventh Star Press, as well as an interview with the author himself.
First off, a little bit about the book:
From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe,this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.
First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…
This book was provided for an honest review, and Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters has received no compensation for doing so.
On a personal level, I am fascinated by occult-based material. Not only do I enjoy studying the myths and rituals and histories behind the many beliefs that exist, I am also intrigued by the way occult references and symbolism influence and find their way into pop culture. Books and films centered on these themes are among some of my favorite works, when they are done well. Sometimes, you find work where it’s obvious the creator tried too hard without the proper knowledge. Fortunately, that is NOT the case with First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum.
Bob Freeman delivers a well-written, well-informed collection of occult-based horror and dark fantasy tales that will leave any fan of the genre wanting more. Mysterious, chilling creatures and entities lurk among the shadows of this atmospheric anthology, keeping you on the edge, waiting for the next eerie occurrence to be brought to the light–if there is any! Without giving too much away, I would simply say that, as a fan of this genre and style of work, I really enjoyed First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum and would highly recommend it to not only fans of the occult, but also to horror and dark fantasy readers, because you are sure to be creeped out and entertained all at once. It is quite apparent Mr. Freeman is vastly educated on the topics that find their way into his tales, because it shines through, alongside his ability to weave a top-notch story.
To purchase this book, check these links below:
Barnes and Noble Link for First Born:
Now, about the man himself.
Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose previous novels include Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead.
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.
Mr. Freeman can be found online at OccultDetective.com.
Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters is glad to be included on this fine tour. Here is my interview with the author.
Q1) Start off by telling us about your latest novel, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum.
First Born is a collection of occult detective stories that paint a dark picture of the world leading up to the events in the novel Descendant, a book that will be published by Seventh Star Press later this year. The first story in the collection takes place in the early twentieth century and features Aleister Crowley as its protagonist. Patient and observant readers will be rewarded later as to how “Mourn Not the Sleepless Children” ties into the Liber Monstrorum mythos. The same can be said of the second story in the collection which takes place shortly after World War II. Again, everything is connected…eventually.
Q2) The occult is something you have great knowledge about. Where did your interest begin and where has that journey taken you?
My family is all from Arkansas and when they migrated to Indiana, they brought with them the folklore and ghost stories from the Ozarks. Couple that with the urban legends that surrounded the rural part of Indiana I was raised in, it was the perfect melting pot for my interests.
What really catapulted me though was a pamphlet I found in my grandparents’ house when I was eight years old. I used to spend a lot of time there and in the spare bedroom upstairs was this old trunk full of my Great-Grandma Arnold’s things. Buried beneath old quilts, jewelry, and bric-a-brac were books on herbalism and astrology, as well as astrological charts, some handwritten, mapping the seasons to plant various things in conjunction with the sun, moon, and stars. It was all quite fascinating.
There were also a number of books and pamphlets written by Manly Palmer Hall. The one that captured my imagination, and that I still carry with me today, was Unseen Forces. It was a collection of lectures about Nature Spirits, Thought Forms, Ghosts and Spectres, and what Hall called the Dweller on the Threshold.
Q3) How much has the occult influenced your literary work?
Greatly. While there is certainly a fantasy element to my work, its foundation lies in the magic of the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and other occult orders, as well as medieval ceremonial magic, witchcraft, and tribal sorceries. There is also a healthy dose of European and Early American folklore sprinkled about.
Q4) Do you participate in paranormal investigations or occult rituals? If so, what are some of the creepiest and most unexplainable things you have seen?
Yes to both. I had a “ghost hunting club” in the mid-seventies and formed my first paranormal group in 1983. I have seen and experienced countless “unexplainable things” in the forty plus years I’ve been at this.
Sometimes it’s the subtle things that are the most unnerving. I was in a local building, notoriously haunted, but my purpose there was more mundane. While speaking with the building caretaker, we heard footsteps on the second floor. Knowing we were alone in the building, we decided to investigate. We walked down the second floor hallway and found it completely empty. We stepped into one of the side rooms, where I was sure the sounds had come from, and I called out to whatever spirit might be present, inviting it to communicate with us. We were met by silence. However, as we sought to leave the room, we opened the door to discover a chair blocking our path. Obviously there had been no chair in front of that doorway when we entered, nor had there been a chair in the hallway. It had come from another room across the hall.
Q5) I understand you are also a game designer. What are some of the games you have designed?
My son and I have partnered to create a number of games. Blood and Honour is a turn-based sword fighting game that seeks to emulate actual longsword combat. There is also The Occult Detective Roleplaying Game which we’ve been playtesting for a couple of years. We’ve also been developing content for Dungeons & Dragons.
Q6) Do certain games ever inspire your writing, or vice versa?
I’ve been playing RPGs since 1978, game mastering Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Super Heroes, Boot Hill, Traveller, Star Wars, and a host of others. Being a storyteller from behind a DM Screen is a natural place for me and all those years of improvisational yarn spinning have certainly had an impact on how I write.
Q7) Among being an author, paranormal detective, and game designer, you are also an artist. Tell us a little about that.
I enjoy graphic design and pushing a pencil. A lot of my ideas start in a drawing tablet. I spent a number of years honing those skills in small press comic book publishing.
The first commercial cover work I did was a commissioned piece for a non-fiction memoir about the creation of the Edsel. It sort of snowballed from there.
I work fast, am reliable, and my prices are competitive. Unfortunately a lot of publishers have turned to in-house production and public domain images. For me, quality cover art is an integral part of the process.
Q8) Being such an eclectic creative, who are some of the people that have inspired your work the most, whether as an artist, author, occultist, designer, or all of it?
There’s a laundry list of people that I look to for inspiration but the two at the top of the list are Robert E. Howard and Frank Frazetta. It’s that fiery passion that they both expressed through their art that I am drawn to. You see the same thing in the works of Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune, two occultists who also penned supernatural tales quite effectively. I try to bring that same fervor to all of my projects, regardless of the medium.
Q9) No doubt you have explored many strange and unusual places. What is the one place you would love to visit that you have yet to see?
In the US, I would love to tackle the Winchester House. That place has fascinated me since I was a wee lad. Globally, I have my eye on Oak Island and would love to do an investigation there.
Q10) A man with so many interests and talents has to have some other projects in the works. What can we expect to see next from Bob Freeman?
The follow-up to First Born, Descendant, will be released later this year and I collaborated with author Greg Mitchell on a novella that we hope to release in time for Hallowe’en. Other than that, the thing that’s weighing most on my mind is a non-fiction piece of the occult and paranormal. I think that might be something special.
Thanks for having me and I wish you continued success. We really need to hunt together soon.
I think that would be quite the experience, Mr. Freeman. It seems we may be of the same night breed–you like the ghosts and monsters, too! I’m sure I could no doubt learn some interesting things from a man with your experience in the field!
You can follow Bob Freeman at the sites listed below:
I’d like to thank Mr. Freeman for taking time to answer some questions for Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters, and I’d like to thank Seventh Star Press for including me on this adventure!