I do a lot with early occult detectives and ghost hunters here at The Merry Ghost Hunter. I want to make space for new authors, too. Along with reviews of recently published adventures, I plan to include interviews. These interviews will pose the same four questions, which leads to the ingenious title for the series: 4-Question Interview.
It makes perfect sense to start with Bob Freeman. His excellent website, after all, is Bob Freeman: The Occult Detective. There, one can find not only original occult detective fiction, but also a good deal of information about the cross-genre in general. Bob also posts many of his impressive illustrations. And, each year, he gives virtual awards for novels, short stories, comics, television shows, meritorious service, and more. Though he’s created several fictional characters and worlds — including those found in the realm of federal agents, Wolfe & Crowe — I asked Bob to focus on his other occult detective character, Landon Connors.
#1 – Using three similes—and as many sentences as you like—describe your occult detective character.
Smokes like a chimney? Sharp as a tack? High as a kite?
Landon Connors comes from a long line of occultists. I guess you would say magic is in his blood. He was schooled in the esoteric arts from a young age, but the loss of his mother in his teens coupled with an emotionally distant father led him into drug addiction and dabbling in black magic.
Oddly enough, it was a demon masquerading in human flesh who mentored the young man, pulling Connors out of the dark place he was in and setting him on the path toward becoming an occult detective.
It’s true, Connors smokes too much. He also enjoys a good Scotch and finds hallucinogenics a valuable tool in solving cases. He is loyal to a fault and has a vast network of allies, from government sanctioned paranormal investigators to backwoods monster hunters.
He has Doctorates in Anthropology and Biology from Oak Hill University and, in addition to being an occult expert, is a world renowned mycologist and folklorist.
He hangs his shingle in the city of his birth, a small, rural community along the Wabash River in northern Indiana. Caliburn House was built in 1910 by Connors’ great-great grandfather. A once magnificent Second Empire, Caliburn is home to Connors, his assistants, Alethea Hill and Brooks Autry, and his familiar, a black cat named Boo.
#2 – While reading about a fictional world where a vampire travels to, say, a city that is recognizably Victorian London or small-town Maine, a reader might look up suddenly and wonder what was that noise? However, while reading about a fictional world where a vampire enters a tavern that’s frequented by zombies, werewolves, and ghosts, a reader escapes to far-flung fantasy-land and probably ignores that noise altogether. How close is your fictional world to the world of reader?
While it’s true my fictional world is populated by all manner of preternatural beasties, god-forms, and magic-wielding ne’er-do-wells, I like to think it’s grounded in reality. It’s certainly not too far removed from mine, but then I live a wee bit more on the fringe than most.
#3 – I see occult detective fiction as a cross-genre of mystery and supernatural fiction. Do you agree with this, and if so, do you lean more into one genre than the other? If you don’t agree, what’s your problem?
Well, it can certainly be said that I have more than my fair share of problems, but disagreeing with your assessment of occult detective fiction is not one of them. As for my leanings, I try to strike a healthy balance. As Connors’ tales tend to be short stories to novella length fare, I sort of swing back and forth between the two hoping to keep my readers not only entertained, but guessing.
#4 – What are your plans?
For the character? I’ll probably keep doling out free fiction serials for a while, mainly because I like writing about him. In a perfect world some publisher would fall in love with him, and Agents Wolfe and Crowe, and I could spend the rest of my days telling his and their stories. What the hell, a guy can dream, can’t he?
As it stands, I write the occasional published tale, in this anthology or that, and I’ve a few novels and short story collections still out there. I continue to investigate claims of the paranormal whenever a new case comes my way. I’ve been dabbling in roleplaying games of late and I’ve a novel brewing that’s an occult detective/sword & sorcery mash-up I’m sort of keen on.
My most important job continues to be that of husband and father.
My thanks to Bob Freeman. Click here to explore his author page at Amazon.com.