Colette Freedman’s New Book A Charm

A reprinted Jewish Times article By Adam Stone
Colette Freedman’s New Book A Charm

Sarah Miller is 22 and works a dead-end job in London, living with her ungrateful widowed mother and brother. Her life is fairly gray until she saves an old woman from being attacked.

Suddenly, Sarah is launched into a thrilling, chaotic world of ancient treasures, mystery, magic and murder. And “The Thirteen Hallows” (Tor/ Macmillan) is off to the races.

Think “The DaVinci Code,” but at an even faster clip.

“It’s a horror-thriller-fantasy,” says Colette Freedman, a Baltimorean now living in Los Angeles. She co-authored the new book with Michael Scott, a best-selling Irish writer with more than 100 books under his belt.

Publishers Weekly praised Freedman and Scott for blending “magic, folklore, mystery and history in this zippy fantastical thriller. … Relentless pacing and a richly detailed story line replete with historical references and bombshell revel-ations give this fantasy tremendous mainstream crossover potential.”

The relentless pacing of “Hallows” proved a challenge for Freedman, who previously earned her keep as a writer of 15 sedate and thoughtful produced plays, as well as an actress.

“It’s outside my comfort zone, but I think everyone should go outside their comfort zone,” she says. “My plays are dialogue-heavy, so the story is important but the pacing isn’t as important. In a book like this, there is a ticking clock, so you have to make sure that clock is present in every single scene so no one can relax too much. I like that tension. I like that sense of action.”

The pounding pace of “Hallows” is a long way from Freedman’s best-known work, “Sister Cities.” The premise there was straightforward enough — four estranged sisters reunite after their mother’s death.

The play was exceptionally well-received. It has run in eight states, with productions now planned in New Mexico and Louisiana. It has played in Scotland, Italy and France, and now is being translated for
performances in Israel and Germany.

Freedman says she has big ambitions for that particular play. “My goal for it is to be in every state in the country and every city in the world,” she says.

Skype And Blogging

Freedman, who attended Pikesville High School before going on to Haverford College in Pennsylvania and eventually earning a graduate degree from Colgate University in New York, first met her co-author Scott through their mutual manager, and together they took about a year to write “Hallows.”

Developing Scott’s storyline required a long-distance collaboration, one that takes a bit of coordination. Freedman typically will write a chapter in L.A. and fire it off to Ireland, where Scott will read the text and send back the next chapter.

“Skype has been our best friend,” Freedman says, referring to the Internet-based voice and video service. With the help of technology, “we are just really great writing partners.”

Lately, Freedman has documented the work, along with all the other minutiae of her hectic life, through her passion for blogging. She has posted fresh commentaries every day at her blog at , where she has explored among other things her attachment to her Jewish identity.

In one blog installment, she recalls her experiences blowing the shofar as a little girl. In another, she describes how her passion for writing bloomed as she studied for her bat mitzvah at Reservoir Hill’s Beth Am Synagogue.

“Because I do identify with being Jewish, it will come out in the blog,” says Freedman, whose father, Dr. Robert O. Freedman, is a well-known Baltimore-based Middle East analyst.

It takes some discipline to blog every single day, but discipline comes easily to Freedman, a longtime devotee of lacrosse and field hockey who coached sports at Colgate.

“I love the discipline, the idea of rising to a challenge,” she says. “It works in sports, and it works in daily blogging. The subjects come just because there is that challenge.”

That kind of drive has taken her a long way, sometimes reaching into the realms of celebrity. Recently, for example, she co-authored the play “Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies” with that well-known author.

Freedman’s professional trajectory is, in many ways, the fulfillment of her longtime vision for herself, a vision born long ago in Charm City.

“I remember sitting around my physics class in high school, thinking all the women around me are going to be married and living down the street from their mothers soon and I am going to be living in L.A.,” Freedman says. “I knew it back then, and we all are probably equally as happy. We just chose different lives for ourselves.”

Not that L.A. is paradise, mind you, she says.

“This is a land of dysfunction,” Freedman says. “I am probably the most functional person, because I actually do love my parents and feel close to them. When it comes to that, it doesn’t really matter where you live.”

Adam Stone is a freelance writer in Annapolis.

Photo captions:
Colette Freedman calls her new book, “The Thirteen Hallows,” a “horror-thriller-fantasy.” (Provided)

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