Contemplations

RobbieWilliamsMy ‘career’ as a professional writer has only been in place for about ten years now and I’m still a relatively young man (just turned 40) but I can already see my place in the “New Pulp” field beginning to change. I think that there are other writers who are more “hot” at that moment (though that’s all so tenuous, given how sluggish sales are in this genre) and I’m not sure that New Pulp as a whole is sitting around in breathless anticipation of my next release. I do, however, feel that I’m starting to define my *own* fan-base that consists of not just the hardcore New Pulp crowd (the ones who lurk on All Pulp and affiliated sites) but who are fans of classic action/adventure and who have somehow stumbled onto my work through their own means. I hear from those fans via emails, Facebook messages, Twitter, etc. and not so much through the regular New Pulp sites and groups. I’m not sure where I’m going with this but it is something that I’ve noticed.

I’ve also had people suggest to me that I should drop the New Pulp label entirely — those same folks have encouraged me to cast off the New Pulp publishers, as well, and go solo. The downside to that is I really don’t want to handle the whole package on my own. While I think I have a lot more control over my books than some writers do, I really don’t want to have to handle every single detail. I like that Pro Se does some of that for me, even if it means that I’m sharing the profits with them. That’s not to say that I’ll never go my own way but for now, I appreciate the publishers that I’m working with.

This month’s Previews catalog contains a listing for the next Avenger book from Moonstone, which will feature a story by me. This will be my second time handling Richard Benson and the crew of Justice, Inc. The Avenger and The Shadow are my favorite pulp heroes so any chance I get to write The Avenger is both a blessing and a dream come true. To be honest, I didn’t feel the same degree of awe the second time around — the pressure had been lessened by the fact that I had already done it once and by the face that I’ve been writing my own Avenger-inspired character (Lazarus Gray) for quite awhile now. In fact, when I was writing this second Avenger story, there were a few times I wished I was using Assistance Unlimited instead because I think those characters would have handled things in a more interesting way. I think that’s a sign that I’m quite comfortable with Lazarus and his crew now.

The only other big pulp dream I have left is The Shadow, which is something that’s very unlikely. Conde Nast hasn’t commissioned or approved a new Shadow novel since the 1960s and I haven’t heard any solid rumblings that they’re changing that stance any time soon. Have I thought about what I would do if given the chance? Sure! But a lot would depend on length — would I have a novel to work with or would I be doing a short story, like with The Avenger? Over the course of a novel, I’d love to use as many of the aides as I could.

Still, even if The Shadow never happens, I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished in the pulp field and I’m excited to see what comes next.

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