Friday, February 11, 2011

Pulp Ark 2011 Spotlight - Percival Constantine

Percy received a 2011 Pulp Ark Award Nomination for "Best New Writer"

Percy, Share a bit of background about yourself if you would.  Gladly. I'm Percival Constantine, Perry to my friends (Percy's my dad, so I always wonder if he's standing behind me when people call me that). I'm a born and bred Chicagoan, although in the summer of 2008, I moved to southern Japan to teach English and I've been here ever since. I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a BA in literature and a minor in mass media. Film pretty much dominates most of my life and it's where I draw most of my influence from. In addition to my novels, I've also worked in comics as an editor, writer and letterer.

You're nominated as Best New Writer of 2010.  What title or titles have you written and can you share a bit about them?  In 2007, I self-published my first novel, Fallen, a post-apocalyptic novel drawing on Christian and even a bit of Native American mythos. And to be honest, it was a bit of a mess. There were a lot of ideas in there that I didn't explore as well as I could have. That was followed in 2008 with Chasing The Dragon, a shorter, more straightforward book that was a mix of horror and crime. 

Also as a result of my lettering work for AC Comics, I was offered the opportunity to do some writing for them. I wrote two stories featuring the character of Threeta in the pages of Femforce and I contributed a story to Black Glass Press' Kagemono: Tooth and Claw horror anthology.

2010 was my first real foray into pulp with Love & Bullets through Pulpwork Press and that's the book that led to this nomination. It's a project that's been in development for a long time, starting out as a film then a comic and finally ending up as a novel. Love & Bullets focuses on Angela Lockhart, a former government operative who goes rogue after the death of her husband. To try and find his killer, she ends up joining up with the mysterious Dante and his network of assassins called Infernum. But another government agent named Christian Pierce is interested in using Angela to get to Dante, and in the process they end up falling for each other.

What appeals to you about the pulp field?  Is it lucrative money wise or is there something appealing about the storytelling within this particular genre?  It's definitely not lucrative, at least not at the stage I'm at. I've always said that if you get into writing because of the money, you're an idiot. It's a lot of long hours, a lot of stressful hours, and the financial rewards may not come for a long time, if ever. You write because it's something you have to do. If you want to make a lot of money, go to Wall Street. If you have stories that you feel will burst out of you if you don't tell them, then become a writer.

The interesting thing about pulp and me is that for the longest time, if you asked me what pulp fiction was, my response would have been, "it's a film by Quentin Tarantino." Then when I met guys like Derrick Ferguson and Barry Reese, they cleared up the definition for me. To which I responded with, "wait a second... you mean James Bond, Indiana Jones, the Rocketeer... all this stuff I grew up loving... that's pulp?" Once I figured that out, I realized that I've basically been a pulp fan all my life, I just never knew it.

As for what appeals to me personally about pulp, there are two major things. The first is the pace. Pulp is quick, it's snappy -- in short, it doesn't waste your time. I learned to write by watching movies and reading comics, so I'm not a fan of long, drawn-out prose. Sure, I can sit there and read a massive tome of long, drawn-out prose, but I'd rather read something that's quick, that keeps me entertained, and then leaves me saying, "that was awesome." 

The other thing I like about pulp is that it's got a lot of variety. Just look at some of the pulp characters -- Doc Savage, the Shadow, the Lone Ranger, Conan, Buck Rogers -- pretty much the only thing these guys have in common (other than being total badasses) is that they're pulp characters. You want to write a superhero tale? Swords and sorcery? Western? Horror? Espionage? Crime? Adventure? Sci-fi? Some combination of any or all of the above? Pulp stories take ALL these forms. Now c'mon, how can you NOT love a field as diverse as that?

 Is there room for more new writers in the genre?  What's the need for new blood in pulp? There's definitely room for more. In fact, there's not only room for more pulp writers, but we need more. That's the only way this pulp revival we're in the midst of can be something more than just a fad. 

In fact, one of the things I think is really cool is that not only are we seeing guys who were strongly influenced by the pulps in their youths, but we're seeing the more recent generations taking it up as well. I was born in 1983, so I'm definitely not a product of the pulp generation. I found out about it pretty much by accident but then quickly grew to love it. And I think this younger generation of pulp fans is going to be instrumental to the field's longevity. Maybe they won't be as familiar with the older pulp characters, but they might be brought in through some of the great new characters that are coming out of this revival.. And I think that's wonderful and I look forward to guys younger than me joining the ranks.

What might be coming up that could you get back on the Pulp Ark Award list for 2011?  I've got a few things in the pipeline. 

The Myth Hunter is my second novel through Pulpwork Press and that's due for a May/June release. It focuses on Elisa Hill, one of many adventurers known as myth hunters who travel the world seeking out the truth behind the various legends of the world, either for knowledge or profit. Elisa is tracking down the lost continent of Lemuria and the secrets contained within, and she's also in a race to get there with a sinister organization called The Order.

Following The Myth Hunter will be Outlaw Blues. This is the second book in the Infernum series and it's a follow-up to Love & Bullets. In Outlaw Blues, a former Infernum assassin named Carl Flint is called out of retirement by Dante for one last job, but it may be the last job he ever does. No release date is set for that, it might come out at the end of 2011 but beginning of 2012 may be more likely, so it probably won't be eligible.

Outside of novels, I'm also contributing a Domino Lady story for Airship 27's All-Star Pulp Comics anthology, although not sure when that will come out. I'm also working with Tommy Hancock on The Adventures of Nicholas Saint from Pro Se Productions, which will be an anthology of stories hopefully coming out just in time for Christmas. 

Check out more of Percival Constantine at

No comments:

Post a Comment