Hello! I'm Matt Freeborn, dad and husband, son and brother. I've worked in corporate America for fourteen years, have a bachelor's degree in Political Science, and an MBA.
For the last few years I have spent my free time working on a story. I say "story" at this point because I initially completed it as a screenplay. I have read dozens of books, taken classes, and learned the Robert McKee art of Story. I finished several screenplays and received good feedback from producers. But the movie business is just not that easy to break into. It doesn't follow the same paradigms and current social trends that allow the self-publishing industry to evolve into what it is today. The New York Times list is full of best selling authors that started out writing e-books.
So, I recently decided to pivot and reform my story into a book. In the course of my research, I have read dozens of books on Templar history, the crusades, and the armies of Islam. I have discussed my book concepts with renown professors and best selling authors. I am very excited because the art of crafting a story for the big screen translates easily to the book form. Story is story, and I think I have found a great one. Now I'm raising money to hire a professional editor and publish the
book in a range of formats.
The Templar is the story of Armand, the last surviving member of a holy order of knights. The story begins in the late twelve hundreds, towards the end of the time of the crusades yet while Christianity still held important cities in the Holy Land. Armand is a brash young nobleman who falls in love with Estelle. But his father arranges for Estelle to marry Armand's older brother.
Fate finds Armand swearing the holy vows of the Templar Order and traveling to the Holy Land to defend Christendom against the armies of Islam. But, years later, Armand faces a crisis of conscience when he rescues a small band of pilgrims and finds among them, Estelle, the love of his life, newly widowed and alone in the world. Soon after, the last Christian city in the east, the great walled city of Acre, home of the Templar headquarters, falls under siege by the great Mameluk slave armies of the Egyptian Sultan.
The Templar is full of real life characters and actual events. The mysterious nature of the secret order of the Templars as well as the gruesome reality of war are the back drop for a story about the unfortunate conflicts that can arise between honor and love.
As I mentioned, the "story" is completed, but the novel version is still in work. I have almost a dozen chapters written and I am very happy with the work so far. Here is a writing sample:
...“The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want.” Ludolph made the sign of the cross and backed against the flank of his mule.
Dressed like his cohorts the new stranger drew two curved Saracen blades and stepped towards Ludolph.
In a whirl of wind and white steel a dagger flew from the valley summit and into the third attacker, burying itself in his neck. The man gasped and fell to the ground in a heap as his artery pumped blood onto the parched desert sand. His last breath was consumed in a wheezing cry.
Ludolph was stunned. His remaining attackers were equally horrified at the sudden loss of their companion. The axe brigand readied his own weapon as the archer drew a scimitar from his belt.
Quietly along the cliff a shape moved from shadow to shadow in the fading light. Ludolph tried to catch a glimpse of his savior. A dark figure moved deftly down the mountainside towards the fallen brigand. The man moved with strength and confidence. He was a warrior clad in black garments from head to toe. The man quickly retrieved his dagger from the brigand’s throat replacing it in his belt and picked up one of the dead man’s swords in his left hand. The black cloaked figure was Armand de Roaix.
Armand nodded an introduction to the priest and drew his own blade with his right hand, a long sword. Wielding both swords and moving them in a well practiced dance, Armand advanced towards the Mameluks. There was no fear in his step and the movement of his swords betrayed the eagerness of his conviction.
The two brigands shared quick fearful glances at one another and at the newcomer who continued his unwavering walk towards them. Their weapons grew heavy in their grasp, their hands flexed instinctively trying to squeeze the sudden tingling sensation out of them. They had killed many unarmed seekers of the holy sites but never a skilled warrior which they now faced. If they had wanted to fight soldiers then they would have stayed in the Sultans pay. There had been a time when being a Mameluk meant they were one of the most highly trained warriors in the world, it was an honor. Times had changed in the last few decades.
The axe wielder raised his weapon as if he planned to fell a tree. He continued to speak in Egyptian. “Hamilk cut him down with your bow.”
Hamilk looked towards his friend and back to Armand before he reached for the bow slung across his back.
“You will not slay me with that line of cat’s gut still wound around the staff of your bow,” Armand replied in fluent Egyptian still striding forward. The setting sun glinted off his two swords. He halted their dance to point them at Hamilk’s bow.
“You know our tongue?” Abhir replied. His partner had quit his attempt to arm his unstrung bow.
“I also know the penalties for deserting your Sultan and the efforts to which he will have you hunted down.” Armand smiled. He turned back to see the curious look upon the face of the priest.
“Fear not brother, I will determine whether these two are worthy of the Lord’s grace,” he spoke in Latin to Ludolph.
Ludolph nodded in acknowledgement. He was a learned historian and chronicler of the region and had witnessed much. But this westerner was a most interesting figure. Only God could have sent such a rescuer...
Where the Funds Will Go
backing helps me do two things: it helps me make the book better, and
it helps me get the book into the hands of the readers. I don't
have the resources of a big publisher, but that's not a bad thing. It
just means that I am relying on the quality of the story to speak for itself. It also means
your support is crucial to making The Templar a success. Not only your funding, but your word of mouth support.
More specifically, your backing helps me with the following:
bulk printing to bring down the per-book costs ($10/$25)
obtaining ISBN numbers, paying registration fees, etc.
envelopes, packing materials, postage
Why Kickstarter, why not just do an e-book?
Several reasons. First, I believe the Kickstarter model allows me to connect with you, the readers and supporters.
The ability to physically print the book itself is another reason. To me, this genre just demands paper. It calls for paper. The ability to quickly check one of the maps in the book or dog ear a page is part of the overall reading experience. The reference section will be full of things that you'll want to flip back to while you read the book.
I think back to all of the great books I have read, both on my Kindle and in print form and I personally would want this book to be a hardcover if I were reading it for the first time. I have read dozens of action and mystery novels in e-book form and they are perfect in that medium. But any story that is epic in scope or dramatic impact demands to be a book, a physical book. One that you can keep on your shelf and glance over at from time to time remembering the story and emotions it evoked.
That is my goal with The Templar. To create a story that will always be a part of you.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge is in marketing this project and getting the word out. I don't believe there is much risk at all in getting this book to press.
I finish what I start. I finished Grad School the start of this year which gave me the additional free time to start the rewrite from screenplay to novel. I have finished several screenplays and short stories over the last few years. I have a solid support network around me (my wife has a Master's in English which makes her my biggest fan and biggest critic). I estimate another month of rewriting and then a month of editing with printing in 1Q 2013.
Thank you for your time and your support. Please share this project with your friends and fellow book enthusiasts via facebook, twitter, etc.
Yes there is a Digital Trilogy bundle which includes The Templar and future books in e-book format. And the $50 and higher tiers all include the next two books in the Trilogy in various formats depending on the bundle you support.
Supporter Bundle-- All of the benefits of the previous Hardcover bundle in addition your name will appear in the acknowledgement section of the book. You will also receive Books #2 and #3 in Digital and Paperback editions. Free Shipping.
Master Bundle-- Including all previous bundles the Master will also receive limited edition copies of the original artwork, cover, maps and hardcover editions of the final two books in the trilogy upon completion. Free Shipping.
The Partner Bundle-- These supporters will receive all of the above bundles. In addition they will get copies of all of my notes, sketches, character bios, etc. Lastly all partners will be granted exclusive access to me and receive my personal analysis and report on the lost Templar Treasure. Free Shipping.