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Then Like The Blind Man / Orbie's Story grabs you fromthe very first page and carries you along, breathless and tense, until the very last, very satisfying sentence. Freddie Owens has created something special.
Excerpt From An Interview With Freddie Owens
Douglas R. Cobb: There are many memorable characters in your novel that Orbie encounters. like his odd but loving grandparents; the hunchback lady, Bird; and Neally Harlan. Have you ever met people like these, or did you create them from your own imagination? Which of these characters (or any others) would you say have the most influence on Orbie's life in Then Like the Blind Man?
Freddie Owens: These characters are mostly figments of my somewhat saucy imagination. People in my life loosely inspired some of them. My real grandparents loosely inspired Granny and Granpaw of the novel, though my real grandparents most probably would not have shared their enlightened view of race relations. Nor were they darkly mystical. Nor did they handle snakes. They were kind-hearted people though, and they liked to tease me (sometimes relentlessly), both features of which belonged to the Granny and Granpaw of the novel.
Moses Mashbone was a composite of coyote-like wise men I have had dealings with and/or have read about; one was a Shaman who lived in apparent squaller in Mexico who I went to for medical advice; another was a Hindu adept with a sweet disposition and steel-like spirit that would brook no compromise. I think of Don Juan in Castaneda's books and other magical beings in works by Tolkien and Stephen Donaldson. Bird may have come from one of these beings in combination with a crone-aunt of mine who used to grab me around by the neck with her knotted cane when I was a kid.
It's hard to say which of the characters in the book have the most influence on Orbie. All of them do, obviously but if I had to choose I'd say Moses Mashbone. Though he does not appear as often as some of the other characters, his influence is felt throughout. When present he overwhelms, exasperates and befriends. When absent he is the invisible hub of a wheel that powers the story forward toward its violent, semi-happy end.