Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

I sometimes get asked about which of my characters are my favorites. To some degree, I love all my creations — they’re my “babies,” as it were. But there are definitely ones that have a spot closer to my heart:

The Rook — Obviously, Max Davies would be near the top. I’ve written six books about him and he’s my most well-known creation. But I do have a love/hate relationship with him, in that when I do other projects, people always want to come back around to talk about The Rook. I’ve “finished” his series multiple times and always get sucked back in. Still, Max and his family are the backbone of the fictional pulp universe I’ve created and all the other characters exist in his shadow.

Lazarus Gray — For years, I tried to create a viable second “series” to The Rook. I did some good projects along the way but nothing that really felt like I could do this series for years — until Lazarus Gray and his friends in Assistance Unlimited came along. Taking all the things I loved about The Avenger and mixing them up with my own supernatural-tinged style, Lazarus has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Three books in the series have seen print and I’ve already written a fourth. The second book in the series swept the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards, winning Best Novel, Best Cover and Best Interior Art.

Fiona Chapman — The star of my controversial novel Rabbit Heart, Fiona is the fictional outlet for my most visceral desires. Beautiful, intelligent and deadly, she’s the epitome of the “hot bad-ass girl with a sword” archetype. Though I may never do a sequel to the story, she’ll always be close to my heart. With a new edition of this novel coming soon from Pro Se, I hope the character will receive a new burst of popularity.

Ascott Keane — Not my original creation but I feel connected to him because he’s appeared in multiple Rook stories and co-starred in Rabbit Heart. Though the original character fought Doctor Satan in the Golden Age of the Pulps, I think I’ve tweaked Ascott enough that I can feel a sense of ownership over him.

Violet Cambridge — Violet starred in The Damned Thing and had a cameo in The Rook Volume Six. A tough-as-nails lady P.I. in the late Thirties, Violet is a well-rounded character in my opinion. Her quasi-romance with Rook supporting character Will McKenzie was quite charming, in my opinion. Her novel was one of my most tightly-written works and I think it holds together very, very well. As with Rabbit Heart, The Damned Thing will be getting a spiffy new edition soon.

Gravedigger — The newest character on this list, Gravedigger’s first appearance was released just a few months ago and has received rave reviews. I finished writing the sequel earlier this week. Charity Grace is in many ways the spiritual sister of Fiona, as they both fulfill the same archetypal requirements. But Gravedigger comes with a very strong back-story and premise — a young woman whose life has been filled with sin is killed, only to be revived by the mysterious Voice, who offers her a deal: serve as its champion for three years and at the end of that period, her soul will be judged once more. If she’s found redemption, she will be free to live with a second chance at life. Fail… and a lifetime of damnation awaits. While Lazarus Gray took its inspiration from The Avenger, Gravedigger is a heady mix of The Shadow and a lot of my more esoteric interests. I’ve kicked around an idea that would actually bring nearly all my characters together in one huge, time-spanning adventure. If I did, there’s no way I could resist having Gravedigger and Fiona clash swords.

I’ll have to do one of these lists for all my favorite villainous creations, too!

3 thoughts on “My Favorite Heroic Creations

  1. Being a fan of Fiona Chapman ever since I read Rabbit Heart a few years back, it does sadden me that she may not get a sequel. I can understand not wanting to go back to a character like that, though—I’ve had similar issues with one of my own characters.

  2. I always think “Will this story I’m thinking about add to the memory of Fiona that fans of RH have? Or will it take away from it?” So far, I haven’t found an idea that I think would be a postive answer to those questions.

    1. I can definitely relate to that. As much as I want to see a sequel to RH, more than anything I want it to be something that will prove to be a worthy successor to that book.

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