Today I'd like welcome Steve Freeman , author of "Nefarious" to the Thursday interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Thriller/mystery author Steve Freeman is a former member of the US Army's Signal Corps, a twenty-six year employee of a large American technology company, and an avid traveler who has visited five continents. The novels of The Blackwell Files draw from his firsthand knowledge of military service, the tech industry, and the diverse cultures of our world. He currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
Given the right circumstances, yes. Most laws represent society’s attempt to codify our sense of justice into a set of rules to ensure all are treated fairly. No set of rules, however, can anticipate the myriad combination of circumstances that drive daily moral choices. If I understood the underlying reason for a law but felt a higher moral authority called me to take an action inconsistent with the law, I’d feel compelled to break the law. For instance, if I had to choose between stealing food and letting my children starve, I’d choose to steal the food. Would I feel thrilled about stealing the bread? No. But, of course, I’d feel much worse letting my kids die.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Being alive involves a biological state: what a creature does between birth and death. Truly living is defined by “self-actualizing,” as some have called it. Truly living means acting in a way that’s consistent with your beliefs and priorities and in such a way that a person minimalizes end-of-life regrets. I hold this “regret avoidance” principal strongly and have therefore incorporated it a little into my writing.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
I am motivated to write by the idea that I can carry a reader into the shadowy world of my imagination so far that the book elicits an emotional reaction from them. I enjoy the emotional impact of a great book and want more than anything for a person to finish my book and say “Wow—I’m spent!” Now, I have to add that I also enjoy the act of writing itself—a lot. I spend weekends and holidays doing it ‘cause it’s just plain fun.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
I don’t feel qualified to speak on behalf of mankind in answering this question, but as for myself, I like having kids for two reasons.
First, I derive immense pleasure from the time I spend with my kids. Just yesterday, my daughter wrote me a note saying, “family time is an important part of our family, and I’m thankful it is.” From one-on-ones to dinners to school activities, spending time with my children is satisfying and helps me as a adult engage in life a little more than I might otherwise.
The second reason I like having kids is the legacy I hope to leave to my eventual progeny. I’ve tried to keep the good traditions of my parents while embarking on a few new ones of my own. My hope is that my children and future descendants will reflect the kind of life I’ve tried to lead. I’m not perfect, of course, but it’s amazing how knowing small eyes are watching will keep a person on the straight and narrow.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Nefarious" ?
The biggest challenge of writing Nefarious was creating a narrative that delivers a fast, page-turning thriller while at the same time developing characters for whom the reader feels deeply invested. Nefarious is a character-driven story but takes the reader for a wild ride. A secondary challenge was using the right level of detail when depicting locations and occupations with which I’m familiar. It was important to find the proper balance between authentic detail/terminology and maintaining clarity of dialog and action for the reader.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is living in a manner consistent with the “regret avoidance” principal I mentioned under question #2. And part of avoiding future regrets is not letting a setback define you. It also means being willing to take calculated risks; my wife is a hospice nurse, and she tells me more often than not, her patients regret the things they DIDN’T pursue rather than the things they did.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Nefarious" ?
The title reflects the fact that there are bad people in the world. As you would expect in a thriller, the trajectories of good and bad people intersect in my narrative. When the protagonist of the book encounters evil, he is faced with a stark choice: confront the evil or do nothing. The binary nature of this choice is reflected in the stark quality of the word Nefarious (“evil”).
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Criticism of one’s work is a little like exercise: it may hurt in the short term, but it’s so good for you in the long term (assuming that the criticism has at least some merit). Actively seeking and internalizing constructive feedback has been the single most important activity for improving the quality of my craft. Do my feeling still get a little hurt when I receive criticism? Yes, of course. But I’m getting better about quickly moving past that stage and using the feedback to make improvements.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
Nefarious is a thriller/mystery with a side of romance and strong character development, with my two main characters racing to investigate a mystery while forging a strong personal bond. The positive reader feedback/reviews and 4.5 rating on Amazon and Goodreads bear out these qualities in Nefarious. Readers who enjoy this type of tale in a contemporary setting that references events pulled from today’s headlines will enjoy my book. Also, Nefarious is the first book in a series entitled The Blackwell Files. People who enjoy reading a series of books which are each self-contained but which feature the same main characters would also enjoy Nefarious and the subsequent novels of The Blackwell Files.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
“Something” is required for matter to exist and for us to be in a position to raise and answer this question. If there were nothing, there would be no means of raising the question in the first place. As to why: it’s a bit like the Buddhist koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The universe is here, but if I’m not qualified to fully answer question #4, I’m even less qualified to address this question!
Thanks Steve for taking the time to answer my questions & the best of luck with your new book!
Check out his new book "Nefarious" on
When Army Communications Captain Alton Blackwell takes a hit to the leg while on active duty in Afghanistan, his self-confidence and leg are shattered in the explosion. Unable to fully heal, he resigns himself to the abrupt end of his military career as well as any hope to win the affections of the beautiful and intelligent Lieutenant Mallory Wilson.
Upon returning state-side, the quiet civilian life is quickly left far behind when a colleague calls Blackwell from a weekend camping trip in the throes of a devastating illness with forbidding implications. In a story out of today’s headlines, Blackwell and now-FBI Agent Wilson explore the possible diversion of a biotech’s project to develop an improved vaccine, scouring leads at the CDC and biotec company, putting their Army and professional skills to the test, and narrowly escaping agents with a murderous agenda at every turn. The closer they come to the truth, the quicker the bodies pile up, along with the suspects. To get to the bottom of the sinister scheme, can Blackwell use wits when his body has failed him? And will he survive long enough to tell his colleague of the feelings for her he has long kept secret?