Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pulp Ark 2011 Spotlight - Joel Jenkins

 Joel Jenkins was nominated in the category of "Best Author" at this year's Pulp Ark Awards.

Joel, Share a bit of background about yourself if you would. Like most of the current crop of pulp fans I wasn't actually around for the heyday of pulps.  Instead I discovered the pulps during the 1970's resurgence when Robert E Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Lester Dent were having a lot of their work reprinted.  There was a sense of wonder, excitement and action in those books that I never outgrew.  Though 'purple prose' gets a bad rap I actually enjoy colorful and descriptive prose and find that other styles of writing tend toward blandness and forego a sense of location in the name of economy.

As long as I've been able to read I've had a desire to tell stories.  My first story I submitted at age eight to Highlights Magazine.  Though it was rejected (via a very kind and thoughtful letter) I was persistent and kept writing and honing my craft.  Finally, in my mid-twenties, my work started to see publication in various magazines and anthologies.

You have been nominated for Best Author for the Pulp Ark Awards.  Can you tell us briefly about some of your work in 2010? Last year I saw the publication of two novels (The Sea Witch and Through the Groaning Earth) and a children's book (The Pirates of Mirror Land) as well as three Lone Crow short stories in Dark Worlds magazine, Six Guns Straight from Hell, and in How the West was Weird.  Additionally, a Barclay Salvage space opera novella came out in Startling Adventures Magazine.

The Sea Witch is my homage to Doc Savage and involves Max Damage and his associates getting caught up in the machinations of a self-styled dictator of a splinter Russian State.  This all came about when I asked myself, 'What if Doc Savage had a flaw that counterbalanced each one of his outstanding abilities?'  Max Damage is my answer to that question,  and I mix  in cloning and  a giant crab-like construct that roams the sea bottom just to keep things interesting.

Through the Groaning Earth is a sequel to my dark fantasy novel Escape from Devil's Head.  They aren't novels in the traditional sense, but a grouping of stories of the desperate denizens of the City of Bathos.  The perspective shifts from story to story and you get to see things unfold from different viewpoints and see how one action can set a chain of events in motion, like toppling dominoes.  Not all of these characters are nice people and you wouldn't want to meet any of them in a dark alley--and probably not in the full light of day, either.

The Pirates of Mirror Land was inspired by my children and their myriad of stuffed animals and pets.  Throw in a mirror to another universe, a band of greedy pirates, and a frenetic hamster and you've got yourself a story that's fun for all ages.

My Lone Crow stories are based off the infamous Native American gunfighter, but set in a sort of alternate time line where the supernatural and the weird co-exist with the history we know.  And the Barclay Salvage stories are unadulterated Space Opera occasionally seasoned with a dash of strangeness.

How do you feel about your nomination and what do you think a voter should look for in a best author?  I was pleasantly surprised to find my name in such wonderful company, and I think a voter should look for an author with an alliteration in his name.  Preferably a J sound.

You have a reputation for being able to work in multiple genres.  Is genre a consideration for you when you write pulp or is it more of a tool you use for writing?  I view pulp as more of a style of writing than a genre so I enjoy bringing that fast and furious action and sense of wonder to whatever genre I choose to play in--or mix and mash.

What might be coming up that could you get back on the Pulp Ark Award list for 2011?  Next month my fourth book in the Dire Planet sword and science fiction series, Strange Gods of the Dire Planet, will be released.  Later on this year I'll be revisiting the guns and guitars of the Gantlet Brothers with a collection of short stories and novellas entitled The Gantlet Brothers Greatest Hits.  It also looks as though I might have a Lone Crow story in How the West Was Weird Two, a Barclay Salvage novella in an anthology from Rage Machine called The Big Black, a story about Edgar Rice Burroughs and Amelia Earheart in the Amazing Alternity anthology, and a previously unpublished tale from the city of Bathos story in the next issue of Dark Worlds.

Whether I win any awards remains to be seen.  In the meantime I'm just doing my duty to provide fresh pulp prose for the twenty-first century...

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