Today, I’m pleased to have as my guest author Bryce Beattie, whose work includes the self-published zombie-pulp thriller Oasis, and its sequel (on his blog for now), The Journey of St. Laurent.
Bryce, you’re too young a man to be familiar with the pulp-era style, so how did your love of pulp come about?
Well, It kind of stemmed from my love of the era itself. There was this one Christmas where my parents gave my brother and me some tape sets of The Shadow, Cape Cod Mystery Theater, and some hard boiled detectives, I can’t remember which ones. So I started to like some of the popular genres of the time. Over the years, I liked other stuff about the era as well. In high school, I got into Big Band jazz, and then swing dancing. I kept doing that for a long time. I even ran the swing club at the University of Utah for a while. Dancing is how I met me wife.
What was I supposed to be talking talking about?
Right, The pulps.
Somewhere along the high school portion of the timeline I picked up this collection of shorts called Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames. It was my first real exposure to pulp literature. I loved reading that brick of pages until just about disintegrated. A couple of years later, I was pouring over the shelves of my local used bookstore when I came across a shelf of Doc Savage paperback reprints. They were cheap, and the covers looked pretty sweet, so I picked up a handful. I wish now that I’d bought the whole lot, because Doc Savage is quite possibly the awesomest man to ever (fictionally) live. I’ve written about him a few times on my blog.
Back when Blackmask online was still Blackmask online (and not munsey’s), I got into more hardboiled detectives, then Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. That is where my love of pulp novels exploded. I soaked up tons of it. The work that stood out the most for me was that of Robert E. Howard. First I read all the original Conan stories, then the Solomon Kane yarns, and then his horror work, then lots of his other stuff. Recently I read a bunch of his Sailor Steve Costigan boxing stories. Those are kind of like watching Rocky except without all the sissy parts.
What are the most powerful influences on your writing? Is there any one writer you try to emulate most?
I would like very much to have the energy of Robert E. Howard in my work. I doubt very much I’ll ever get there, but I’ll keep trying. As far as current authors go, I’m working hard on my writing voice, and I’d like to work into my narrative the kind of conversational personality that Jim Butcher uses in the Dresden Files series.
Of course, if I could cram in some subtext like Jane Austin, that’d be good too.
How does your writing process work? Are you an outliner or a “pantser” (writing without any structure)?
For both Oasis and The Journey of St. Laurent, I wrote a high level outline, and then worked into it mentions of a few scenes that I absolutely had to have. Then my outlining process totally broke down. Most of the time I do write down the major hits in a scene before writing it. I’ve noticed that the writing itself is way easier the better of an outline I use. You’d think then that I would outline the heck out of everything I write. Nope. At least not yet.
I’ve already got outlines going for several more books, though. At least one of those I’m going to outline thoroughly.
Do you have a particular genre you favor more than others? A particular style?
Oh, as far as my reading goes, I am as variable as the wind when it comes to genre. I go through “classics” periods where it’s all Dickens and Austin and such. Then it’s all detective novels. Then it’s urban fantasy. Then it’s espionage. Then it’s NYT bestselling thriller time. Then it’s cowboy fantasy time (wink, wink). My imagination must be like a pretty dry pile of pine needles, because it doesn’t take much to light it on fire. I read out loud to my kids pretty much every night, too, so I’m always in to Children’s literature.
I do often return to Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers, and Adventure novels, though. I’ll call those my favorites.
How much time do you spend reading about the craft of writing?
This is just another one of my phases. I’ll read nothing but writing theory for a month or two and then not touch it for a year or more. I’ve read “Techniques of the Selling Writer” a couple of times, and I consider it probably the best book on writing that I’ve ever read. I used to read several writing blogs almost religiously, but that’s tapered way off recently. I’m convinced what my writing needs now more than anything is just more butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard time.
Your last two projects were zombies and aliens. What’s next on the horizon for you?
Let’s see. I have a batch of short stories (including one that will appear here on your blog shortly), a hard boiled detective novelette, three Children’s fairy tale type books, a couple of mainstream thrillers sketched out, and at least two sci-fi series I’d like to someday write. That’s my “to write” pile anyway. Immediately will be a detective short and novelette, then one of the Children’s books.
You can find Bryce all over the Internet, on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, which is where you should go for all the other connections. And of course, check out his novel, OASIS, on Amazon and other retailers.