Author Interview: Paul Freeman


For those of you that may not know him, I’d like to introduce Paul Freeman, author of the epic fantasy novel Tribesman. Paul is from Dublin, Ireland, where he works, plays and writes. In the past he has lived in Germany and America but is now content to keep his roaming to the worlds he creates and writes about.
Q: As your bio says, you've lived a lot of places. Have you incorporated your travels into your writing?

 There haven’t been that many places, but they have been pretty far apart, and very different. So yeah, I think everything you experience in life is reflected in your writing. Living in different places and experiencing other cultures is something I’m really glad I did, I wish I’d done more. It has not only helped me in writing, but in life in general. It’s a real eye-opener to see how differently things are done everywhere, and how attitudes can be so different. 

Q: I love the blend of myth and lore in Tribesman. Can you tell us a bit about the world that you have created and the characters that inhabit that world?

 A lot of my characters are based on Celtic Myth, and history. Culainn is a warrior from the Northern Clans, a land of lush forests and snow-peaked mountains. I think he would feel quite at home in ancient Ireland or Gaul, or any northern European country. I wanted a Celtic feel to the story, I grew up on the myths of Tír na nÓg, and Fionn MacChumahill and Na Fianna, Cú Chulainn and Queen Maedbh. My world is full of druids and dark gods. But the story is set to the south, in a land very different to his own. He has been banished from his homeland, from his clan, and finds himself in a dry, dusty country. I remember reading about a band of Viking mercenaries who were employed as elite bodyguards in Constantinople, and thought, they must have felt like they were on a different planet. I tried to capture a little of that in Tribesman, with Culainn feeling like a fish out of water.
Q: Is Tribesman part of a series? And if so, what are you plans for it?

 I am currently writing a second book. I think it is something that could go on further if it is well received. Culainn has some unfinished business from the first book. After that I haven’t planned anything, but like I said if there is a call for it, and I’m enjoying it I’ll keep going. 

Q: I've talked to a lot of writers about when they knew they wanted to write. Most of them will say there was never a time when they didn't want to be a writer. What is the very first thing that you wrote? What is it about?

 The very first thing I remember writing of any worth, although I’ve lost it now, was about a soldier, a warrior. He was paraded through the streets of his city as a hero, rewarded by his king with titles and riches, all the while the cheering crowd were oblivious to his insecurities and unhappiness. In the end he fell on his sword under a cloud of loneliness.  

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  

 I could never make up my mind. My problem was that no one told me you could work at something you loved, so I spent my time searching for the wrong things. 

Q: What inspires you to write?


Q: Who is your favorite character that you have written.  Why?

 Oh that’s so difficult to answer. I wrote a short story about an Irish pirate reminiscing on his life, and the very poor and abusive background he came from. As a boy he was press-ganged into the Royal Navy. He felt the sting of the lash on his first day on-board ship, cowered in the corner during his first battle, but eventually led a mutiny and became captain of the ship. He was certainly an interesting character. I’ll pick him, if there can be only one.  
Q: Thinking of all the books you have read, who is your favorite character and why?

 The questions don’t get any easier, I should have studied for this. The character that has stuck with me even twenty years after reading the book is Thomas Covenant, from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever. I like my heroes flawed, even tainted. Thomas Covenant is deeply flawed, both physically and mentally, he is a reluctant hero. A sufferer of leprosy, he is transported to a fantasy world he does not believe exists. Which is sort of unfortunate as he is the only one who can save it, it’s a great story examining the darker side of a hero. 

Q: Is there a particular topic or genre that you want to tackle but haven’t yet?

I’ve tried my hand at a lot of genres while writing short stories, in books I’ve written fantasy, horror, and general fiction. It’s enough to be getting on with, for the moment anyway. 

Q: I’ve read several of your short stories. You seem to have a gift for encapsulating all the elements that pull a reader in. What are some of your favorite short stories? Have you considered making any of them full length novels?

 The aging pirate I discussed earlier I think would be well worth examining in more depth. I have already expanded a couple of short flash pieces into longer short stories, though none have made it to novel or even novella length yet. It is definitely something I would like to do. I enjoy writing short stories, there is something rewarding in sitting down and finishing an entire story in one sitting. 

Q: What are you currently working on?

 I’m over halfway through the sequel to Tribesman, and am in the planning stages of the second Season of the Dead book.

Q: Tribesman is your first published work. Do you have any other works that have been published or are about to be?

Yes I have a short story in the recently published steampunk anthology from Kristell Ink. And a zombie apocalypse book I wrote with three other really talented writers will be published by Spore Press in spring 2013, it’s called Season of the Dead… you may have heard of it…
Q: Woody Allen once said that “80% of life is just showing up”. Writing is a bit like that, the more you do it, the better you become. What one piece of advice would you give a writer who has yet to put pen to paper?

Just do it for fun, and choose wisely who you listen to.

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