Brian James Freeman is one of the publishers of Cemetery Dance as well as being half of the editorial team with Richard Chizmar on a number of projects. You can follow him on Twitter @BrianFreeman and check out his Facebook page here. He is also an accomplished author; check out his Amazon Author page for hours of great reading.
You were originally an author, how did you get into publishing?
In the mid-90s, I started designing very basic author websites while in high school. I also offered freelance web marketing services for authors, publishers, and bookstores, which is how I met a lot of the colleagues I still work with to this day.
Being a publisher, editor and a writer, do you find it difficult to switch hats if you want to sit down and write a story?
Mostly, there’s very little time for my own writing these days. Between managing Cemetery Dance and running Lonely Road Books and Books to Benefit, there isn’t a lot of free time in the day. I’m also editing a lot of anthologies. My new horror anthology series DARK SCREAMS, co-edited with Richard Chizmar, has been a fairly big hit from Random House/Hydra this year. My new hardcover anthology, DETOURS, is due out this winter and it features Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Kelley Armstrong, Michael Koryta, David Morrell, Michael Marshall Smith, Chet Williamson, Poppy Z. Brite, Stewart O¹Nan, and Owen King.
How important are the names you use in your stories and how do you decide on them?
I rarely select names that have thematic meaning simply because it’s a bit of a shortcut to creating depth and I like to be a little more subtle.
What work of yours gives you the biggest sense of accomplishment?
Either my novella, THE PAINTED DARKNESS, which I still hear from readers about all the time, or my new anthology DETOURS, which is generating considerable interest from publishers all over the world.
Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?
Off the top of my head, here are the authors I remember reading a lot of during my teenage years: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury, Robert McCammon, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Dan Simmons, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, William Peter Blatty, Richard Matheson, Bentley Little, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Crichton, Thomas Harris, Robert Louis Stevenson, Peter Benchley, Jack Ketchum, Daphne du Maurier, F. Paul Wilson, Anne Rivers Siddons, James Herbert, Al Sarrantonio, John Skipp, Ray Garton, Joe R. Lansdale, and dozens of authors of “paperback originals” from the 1980s whose names I can’t recall now.
If you could resurrect one author to write another book, who would it be?
Ray Bradbury, for sure. I wish we had another dozen Ray Bradbury books andanother one thousand Ray Bradbury short stories on the way.
What are the next three books you’re planning to read for fun?
My TO BE READ pile is threatening to avalanche at this point, but my next three will probably be The Girl on the Train, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and The Martian.
If you could dive into a book (and know you wouldn’t die) what book(s) would you like to participate in?
Probably THE DARK TOWER series, mostly because whenever I read those books, I’m fascinated by the remnants left from before the world moved on. Back when I had free time, I would spend hours on websites reading about the adventures of modern day urban explorers, looking at their photographs of abandoned buildings (and even towns), etc, so the idea of the forgotten and abandoned “old” world in THE DARK TOWER series has always appealed to me.
If you could claim one book as your own – think fame not fortune – what would it be?
That’s a hard one. Ask me again in a year!
How do you want the world to remember you?
I think it’s a fool’s folly to try to figure out how the world might remember yourself. Most of us will be forgotten within a few decades, even by family, unless we do something so amazing or terrible that someone actively works to keep the memory of your actions alive. That’s just the nature of life.