Thursday, December 18, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: S. M. Freedman, Author

S.M. Freedman, Author
THE FAITHFUL
Reviewers praise THE FAITHFUL from S. M. Freedman as anengrossing and original bit of fiction” and a “very unordinary book. Good unordinary.” It involves an agent and his search for missing children with psychic abilities. An Amazon best-seller in the U.S. and U.K., it was also a quarter finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

A former private investigator and business owner, S. M. Freedman now lives in Vancouver with her husband, two children, and a large yellow cat. (I have one of those, too!) She also studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, but she says writing is her true love. She is currently working on the sequel to THE FAITHFUL and plans to release it in the first half of 2015.



Q: Reviewers of THE FAITHFUL tout the vastness of your imagination and even wonder “How far was she going to push the limits of her imagination?” How did you envision your “supernatural/suspense/thriller/mystery,” which has been described as “something for everyone… mystery… SciFi…romance… heartbreak… thrills?” What inspired your story?

S. M. Freedman: The initial inspiration for THE FAITHFUL came from the meteorite that exploded above Russia in February 2013. I started to research NASA’s Spaceguard program, which is charged with finding Near Earth Objects (or NEO’s) before they impact the earth. My main character became a meteorite hunter, working for Spaceguard at their facility on the White Sands Missile Range. From there it grew to encompass an FBI agent obsessed with the kidnapping of hundreds of psychic children, and a twisted organization bent on Armageddon. How it actually ended up there is strange magic I just can’t explain.

Q: Reviewers also appreciated your characters as “vivid” and “real people with deep emotions, foibles, and unexpected humor.” What makes a “real” character?

S. M. Freedman: Flaws, and lots of them. Each of my characters began as an extension of me, whether it was my sass and love of junk food (Ryanne), my determination and ethics (Josh), or my totally inappropriate sense of humor (Sumner). But at some point, each of them took on a life of their own, much to my horror and delight. I think that’s when they became real.

Q: How helpful is humor to engaging readers and telling your story?

S. M. Freedman: If characters are the meat of your word stew, action and pacing the vegetables, and vivid imagery the broth that melds it all together, you’re still missing something without humor. Humor is the salt that enhances all the other flavors. Without it, the story is pretty bland.  

Q: How relevant is the concept of villains-versus-heroes to telling your story? What are the characteristics of an effective villain? Do you need a villain to produce a hero?

S. M. Freedman: Without a doubt, THE FAITHFUL is a classic good versus evil tale. But the truth is so much muddier than that. The best villains have redeeming qualities; the best heroes have major flaws. In any given circumstance, a hero can become a villain, and the worst villain can become a hero. It’s what makes them human, and relatable.

Q: Several reviewers were impressed with your technical knowledge claiming it “makes it look very realistic and believable.” How relevant is back-story to creating credibility? Is credibility important to engaging readers? How else did you deliver believability?

S. M. Freedman: I’m an obsessive researcher. The settings in THE FAITHFUL are real, right down to the gas stations, hotels and restaurants. For me, it helped to ground the fantastical parts of the story in that kind of reality. Even the locals don’t seem to know that the Spaceguard facility actually exists on the White Sands Missile Range (although I took some creative license and put it closer to Las Cruces, it’s actually near Socorro). To be fair, it is hard to find, and men with big guns will try to stop you if you try. Trust me on this one.  

Q: Why did you choose to write the story from various points-of-view? How helpful was this approach to telling the story?

S. M. Freedman: I honestly couldn’t tell this big a story if I’d stayed in one person’s head. And it’s fun to let readers in on secrets that other characters don’t know.

Q: Reviewers say THE FAITHFUL is “thought-provoking.” Did you write it to tell an entertaining story? To deliver a message? To educate? To make readers think?

S. M. Freedman: I wish I could pretend I was intellectual enough to have a message, but honestly, I just wanted to write a good story.

Q:  What’s next?

S. M. Freedman: I’m working on the sequel to THE FAITHFUL. If all goes well it should be available sometime in the first half of 2015.

Q: Tell us about S.M. Freedman. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

S. M. Freedman: I’m a former private investigator turned author. Mom of two, wife of one, and ruled by one giant orange cat. Seriously, don’t anger the cat.

When I’m not writing, I’m cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, helping with homework, chauffeuring, and appeasing the cat.

About S. M. Freedman

S.M. Freedman is a top-ranked Amazon author in the Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
categories, and a member of the WorldWiseWriters group. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, two children and a giant orange cat.

She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and spent years as a private investigator and business owner.

Inspired by authors of many different genres (favorites include Sue Grafton, Diana
Gabaldon, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Justin Cronin, Suzanne Collins and Lawrence Hill, to name a few) she eventually turned back to her first love: writing.

THE FAITHFUL, a paperback and kindle Amazon Bestseller in both the US and the UK, and a Quarter Finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, is her debut novel. She's currently working on the sequel.


For Agent Josh Metcalf, memories are ghosts. They are blood-soaked backpacks and the smell of strawberry Chap Stick. Josh is haunted by a little girl who went missing his first summer on the force. Decades later his search has become an obsession, and he's pinned the photos of hundreds of missing children to his wall of tears. All the children had psychic abilities. All the cases went cold -- with no witnesses, no useful tips, and no children ever recovered. Until a woman gets injured trying to stop an abduction, and Josh comes face to face with his personal ghost.

For Rowan Wilson, a meteorite hunter for NASA's Spaceguard program, memories are lies. The childhood she thought she knew has been erased, leaving a black hole in its place. New recollections are flaring to life: men dressed like priests, a ranch in the mountains, mind control, and rape. Each new memory draws her closer to one of the other missing children, Sumner Macey; and to I Fidele, the underground organization for whom kidnapping is just the beginning.

For Sumner, memories have become weapons. He's sharpened each of his with surgical precision: the ranch, the doctrine, the mind-wash, and the murders. He's eager to slice at the black sludge pumping through I Fidele's heart, desperate to cripple those who stole his childhood.

To I Fidele, non-psychics are cockroaches in need of extermination, an inferior species destroying the earth. They're ready to enforce eugenics on a global scale. If they succeed, only those faithful to their doctrine will survive. Crossing several genres, THE FAITHFUL will appeal to anyone who enjoys supernatural mysteries; high-tech, edge-of-your-seat suspense flavored with paranormal elements; thrillers involving psychics, occult and high stakes action/adventure; tied up with a depth and humor usually reserved for works of literary fiction.

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