Tuesday, March 8, 2016

FAMILY AFFAIR: The Author's Life and the Author's Wife: Marcia Freeman

Today I'm starting a new feature on Mystery Fanfare: The Author's Spouse. First up is Marcia Freeman, wife of Thriller writer Brian Freeman. Love this duo!

Marcia Freeman (aka The Author’s Wife) is married to Brian Freeman and “mom” to cats Heathrow, Gatwick and Baltic. In addition to everything listed above, she’s also responsible for locking Brian away at the beginning of the day to write (and letting him out in the evening). Before her book marketing responsibilities, she spent almost twenty years in professional fundraising. 

Brian Freeman is a bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride and Cab Bolton series. He won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the International Thriller Writers Awards, and his books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages. His debut, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. GOODBYE TO THE DEAD is the newest in his Jonathan Stride series and launches today.

Marcia Freeman:
FAMILY AFFAIR: The Author’s Life and The Author’s Wife 

Back in the 1960s (yes, I’m dating myself!), I grew up watching a TV show called “Family Affair.” That’s now the phrase that Brian and I use to describe our partnership in the book business. Obviously, we’re married — but we also have a unique joint approach to Brian’s career as an author. Brian writes the books, but we work very closely—as a team—on every phase of the business, and we each have our own roles throughout the entire process. As a guest blogger, I wanted to give you an inside look at how we share our duties.

When you read Brian’s newest book, GOODBYE TO THE DEAD, you’ll see that Brian likes to give his readers a “you are there” feeling in his settings. In order to do that, he carefully maps out his scenes, much the same way a film director does for a movie. Then, off we go together to scout out actual locations. Glamorous? Well, not so much. Perhaps you’ve heard about some of the research trips we’ve taken? Duluth in January…? Tampa in August…? (Yes, we need to work on our timing.)

We’ve spent many hours tromping around deserted buildings or driving up and down streets and across bridges. Brian’s usually at the wheel, and I’m hanging out the window—snapping pictures and videos all the way.

Once the research is done, Brian gets down to the nitty gritty of drafting the actual manuscript. During this writing phase, we adopt a “mysterious” philosophy—Brian doesn’t tell me anything about the plot. Why? Because when the manuscript is completed, I’m his first advance reader and it’s crucial that I not know anything about the plot before I begin. It’s his job to tell the story in way that builds suspense for the reader from the beginning to the ending…it’s my job to tell him whether he’s succeeded in doing that. And if I already know details of the plot, then I can’t give him an accurate and objective critique.

I’m the first to admit…my critique is brutally honest. Of course, I look at the overall plot, as well as descriptive details, but I also look for typographical errors. That’s because we want the readers to have the best reading experience possible. Nothing stops a reader faster than a plot detail that doesn’t fit—or a misspelled word…!

Once I’ve been through the manuscript and given Brian my feedback, it goes to several other advance readers for their thoughts. Brian compiles all of these into the book, and then it goes to his publishers for review and publication.

However, the process doesn’t end there. When the book is released, we often travel together to bookstores, libraries and book clubs—talking about Brian and his books. As you might guess, there’s a lot that goes into these arrangements and keeping it all straight—so I’m the primary liaison with librarians, booksellers, publishers, media outlets, and bloggers to set up events and maintain our calendars and travel arrangements. Thank goodness for a nicely integrated computer/phone set-up!

Brian also maintain his website (www.bfreemanbooks.com) and Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/bfreemanfans), and he sends out periodic emails to readers—telling them about upcoming book releases and local events in their areas. The internet and social media have given readers around the world a wonderful way to keep in touch with their favorite authors—and Brian responds to all of his fan mail and messages personally.

Several years ago, it became apparent that readers also wanted to talk to me! Brian writes dark stories, but he’s such a nice guy—they want the “inside scoop” about what he’s really like. We decided to broaden that opportunity, so I created a Facebook page called “The Author’s Wife” (www.facebook.com/theauthorswife). I can’t believe that title hadn’t already been taken…! This is a place where I can share stories about our lives at home and out on the road. Readers can write to me and ask questions or share pictures—and just like Brian, I write my own posts and respond to the messages and emails personally. It’s a great way to stay in touch with readers throughout the year.

So, you can see that when it comes to the book business, it really is a “family affair” in the Freeman household. But now I’ll let you in on a little secret. There is one area that most definitely is NOT a partnership…scooping the litter boxes for our three cats is entirely Brian’s job…!


Edie said...

Loved it. You guys are so down to earth, just like a next door neighbor. I thinks that's what makes you guys so special.

ktford said...

Loved it..

Noreen Ayres said...

What a great idea, this revealing of the partnership of author and spouse. If the spouse of an author can have the time to help in all the ways you describe--meaning he or she doesn't have a regular job--it seems to me that spouse almost should get "co-author" status. A female retired author I know used to say she deeply longed for a wife, in the traditional sense of having someone take care of all the other things that interfere with manuscript devising and delivering. I am happy for you both! (By the way, I'm teaching my dear husband to write, but I still clean eight litter boxes each day. ::grin:: )