BILL FREEMAN'S NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
Both Amazon and BookBud have space for short author's biographies. This is my effort to sound interesting and not appear to be too self-serving. Bill
April 13, 2021
Bill Freeman, an award-winning author of books, plays and film scripts, is the creator of the eight police procedurals in the Mariner’s Story series.
Every book has a complicated and long lineage, and that is certainly true of this series. As a young man Bill worked as a probation officer. This experience helped him understand the world of police officers, the courts and those who have fallen afoul of the law, from young adults to professional criminals.
Another major influence that shaped the series has been the daily reports on crime that appear in the media. Several of the books in Mariner’s Story were inspired by news stories, including those dealing with police corruption, street gangs, organized crime and the tragic increase in drug addiction that has claimed the lives of so many.
The books in Mariner’s Story are not organized into chapters. Rather, the action moves from scene to scene—some short, others longer—much the way a feature film is structured. It is not how we experience our lives, but this is story-telling, and pacing the story is one of the things that Freeman has mastered.
The books have a gritty sense of reality. These are not like the fantasies of Agatha Christie novels set in the upper-class English social environment. They explore the real world of police, criminals and victims. Sometimes there is an ugly side to police operations: criminals have little regard for their victims; drug addicts suffer; and the politicians, police officers and the public are disturbed, even overwhelmed by the consequences.
It is no accident that Freeman writes about these types of things. In all of his work he sets out to describe the real world, not some fantasy. Often it is unsettling to read about people and events like this, but he believes it is important to face the truth of the human experience.
Bill started his career as an author writing historical fiction for young people. He is best known in Canada as the writer of the Bains Series set in the 1870s. These books also have a realistic quality about them. The major characters are children who have to go out to work at a young age. They face hardship, danger and conflict, but they learn to survive. These books have become classics of Canadian fiction for young adults and have won critical success and many awards.
For descriptions of Bill’s novels, nonfiction books, documentary films, educational videos and plays, visit his website: www.billfreeman.ca.
March 11, 2021
A friend of mine recently asked me about the process of writing a book. It set me back a bit to think about it. Books don’t just emerge. They take a lot of thought, planning, dreams, imagination and hard work.
Do I have a process that I go through when I write my books? I guess the answer is yes, but every book is different. The other thing to say is that every writer has a different approach to their writing. I can talk about how I go about writing a book but talk to another writer and they will give you a totally different answer.
The only thing that writers agree on is that it is hard work to write and yet deeply satisfying. One trite answer I give is: “I have done a lot of different types of work, but writing is the most challenging thing I do and that’s why I like to do it.”
I used to be invited to elementary schools to talk to kids from grades 6 to 8 about writing and my own books. I write novels for young adults and teachers love to invite writers to talk in the hope it might inspire their students.
I remember a kid asking me, “How you get good at writing?” I turned it back to him saying, “Do any of you play hockey?” Scores of hands flew up. “Well, how do you get better at playing hockey?” “Practice,” a big rangy kid who looked like he would be a good hockey player replied. “That’s how you get better at writing,” I replied. “Practice.”
I confess it is a little more than practice but that is a key element. I also make a point of telling kids, that when I was in elementary school, I wasn’t much good at anything, but at some point in my life I decided writing was important. I practiced, I worked at it, and in time I got better, and I became a writer.
I believe writing is largely self-taught because that’s how I learned to be a writer, and I believe most people can be good writers. That doesn’t mean everyone is the same. Some writers have incredible talent—a deep reservoir of stories, characters, and a unique way of expressing themselves. I am envious because I view myself as a writer that must work at my craft.
My writing will never be perfect, but as I work at the text, it can get better. When the words conjure up the feelings that I want to express, I feel I have achieved something worthwhile.
There are literally hundreds of books on writing, and if you are interested in writing stories, or just interested in improving your writing, you should explore some of them. One of the best was written by Stephen King, the master storyteller of our time. The book is called, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.”
This has me interested. More on writing later. And remember to subscribe to my newsletter. It is free and there will be goodies to find.
March 7, 2021
This is the first posting on my newsletter, Hurray!
They said it was going to be easy to set up a newsletter on Mailchimp. Yeah, sure—easy for the cyber-wizards of Silicon Valley but the rest of us?—not so much. Thanks to Jan Belzile I am now up and running and you—you lucky person—are a subscriber.
I am sure many of you know that Mariner’s Story is a series of eight books in the police procedural genre. I have been talking about it for the last three years. It has been a huge project even for an experienced book writer like myself.
For the moment Mariner’s Story will only be available online at Amazon. I will begin listing the books in late April or early May and bring them out one a month until the series is all online. I know for some of you that may be a problem, but today Amazon sells 50% of all print books in North America and 70% of all e-books—monopoly, no, but market domination, yes.
After a year or more it is likely that I will list the books on other online book sellers like Kobo, Apple, and Google Books. I have no plan to market the books via bookstores. That’s the marketing plan but who knows what the future may bring.
That is a brief overview of my marketing plans. In the future there will be lots of time to write about things like why I thought it was important to spend three years of my life writing this series, how I developed the characters, the criminal justice system, drug addiction and so on, but let me briefly tell you what I am going to post on this newsletter.
Subscribers will get an inside look at how I go about writing books, the development of characters, plot and all that. I expect I will talk about the problems of self-publishing. I plan to publish freebees—side stories about the characters. You will get notices of new listings and promotions. There will be a lot of promotions as the series rolls out. I even plan to do some videos where I talk about the books.
The newsletter will also be the way to get in touch we me. I will post my e-mail address and I will get back to you. I like to keep in touch with readers. I will publish my address in the next posting. At the moment I am racing to get everything done before the first book is published and I haven’t got around to setting up a new e-mail address yet.
I hope you stay subscribed. It will be an adventure, for me at least.