By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You’ve heard the name: Jason Bourne. The spy-thriller novels were made into blockbuster hits on the big screen. Now, a Minnesotan has been tapped to pick up the legendary book series to give readers more Bourne.

Author Brian Freeman talked about the opportunity and why he enjoys creating books set in the Midwest.

Most weekdays, you’ll find Freeman in Woodbury, at his computer, creating.

“I treat it like a 9-to-5 job,” Freeman said.

This has been a milestone year for the author, releasing four books. One of them is “Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution”, a legacy project.

“There have been so many iterations of Jason Bourne over the decades,” Freeman said.

The original was written in 1980, several more were written by another author, the novels were made into films, and, now, the estate selected Freeman to take on the future.

“Everybody sort of their vision of who Jason Bourne is, and it can be intimidating if you let that get inside your head. You’re trying to step inside the shoes of, you know, this iconic hero and this sort of giant of the thriller genre,” Freeman said. “I just kind of had to put all that aside. In fact, the first two words I put on my white board as I was starting in on the book were ‘have fun.'”

He brought his version of Jason Bourne to life on the pages of The Bourne Evolution.

“I think what makes Bourne such an appealing character is he is human, he’s fractured, he’s broken,” Freeman said.

Freeman has been creating characters most of his life. He wrote his first book in eighth grade.

“I’ve always seen the world through the lens of storytelling,” Freeman said.

He says it took decades to complete a novel that broke through. That was 15 years and 22 books ago.

“The ideas themselves come from a lot of different places. Sometimes it’s true crimes. I mean, I might be reading something in the newspaper and just an interesting case looks like something that I might be able to sort of play with and twist around and turn into one of my stories,” Freeman said.

This year’s release “The Deep, Deep Snow,” begins with a boy going missing on a bike, reminiscent of the Wetterling case. And he likes to draw readers in, making his characters three dimensional, flawed and relatable.

“I really want the story and the characters to also tug at your heart. So, there’s going to be that drama and that excitement and that puzzle that you have to figure out, but they also should be, you know, a real depth of feeling in these characters as well,” Freeman said.

He scouts locations, like Duluth, where his popular Jonathan Stride series is set.

“I love to give readers a you-are-there feel in my books. I just think there’s a great drama to the Midwestern settings, particularly the weather. I love writing weather, there’s always a terrible storm or a blizzard rolling in,” Freeman said.

And he says he couldn’t do it without his wife and business partner, Marcia. Every book is for her.

“Her input is essential in every manuscript. Marcia gets the first two words in every single book,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s next stand-alone book will be available in March. The next Bourne novel, “The Bourne Treachery”, is expected in the summer.

Jennifer Mayerle