Thursday, July 9, 2015

WRITER 2 WRITER: An interview with author Jim Beard

One of the fun things about writing for me is the people I've met and become friendly with. Strangely enough, in this crowded little corner of the publishing business, there is plenty of competition, but also a great feeling of camaraderie. People are always cheering each other on, even as they're competing for the same slots. Reputations are well known, and after a while you find yourself working with one publisher while another is considering you for a special project. 

That's kind of how I met Jim Beard, when he and publisher James Palmer of newly formed Mechanoid Press tapped me for the first MONSTER EARTH anthology. Jim and I have worked together since, on MONSTER ACES 2 for Pro Se Press, and we'll likely do it again somewhere else. Jim is a very good writer, he's easy to work with, and a guy with big ideas and the determination to see them through. I think you'll find from reading the following interview, he can also be a lot of fun. You definitely want to check out his books and author page in either the links below, or the clickable captions on the pictures.



An Interview with author, editor, & publisher, 

Jim Beard

Click Here for Jim's Author page.

  • Jim, please tell our audience a little bit about you and your writing.

I say I’m a “writer of adventure fiction in a classic pulp style,” and that’s as good a descriptor as any. It’s enough to intrigue someone, but perhaps not quite enough to scare them off. I’ve written prose in the form of short tales and novels, as well as some comic book scripts. I like collaborating with other writers and I absolutely love creating anthology concepts. I work with several publishers, but I recently set up my own little enterprise, Flinch Books.

  • How did you get involved in this self-imposed insanity we call writing?

I wanted to be a visual artist since I was a wee little one, but somewhere along the way I took a detour and it ended up being the road I was supposed to have been on all along. I’ve loved creative writing my whole life, but never took it seriously as a profession until I decided I wanted to be a comic book writer after having a story published with DC Comics in 2002. Then, as these things happen, that never gelled so I meandered a bit until I found I could write pulp and not too horribly. The rest is the stuff of legend!

  • Now, I know you are a reader. Any favorite authors? Any particular genre or formats you enjoy? Anything you just can't stand?

My all-time favorite author is Robert Heinlein, but I’m also a huge fan of James P. Blaylock, Alan Dean Foster, John Varley, Rex Stout, Sax Rohmer, and, of course, Lester Dent, the guy who really inspired me to become a pulp writer. I used to read purely just science fiction and high fantasy back in my school days, but I found I liked some traditional mysteries and urban fantasy, too. These days I’ll read just about any fiction, because every and all genres are fodder for me to convert to pulp.

  • If you could have any position in the writing/publishing industry, and money was no object, what would your dream job be and why?

Wow. I guess it would be my own publishing house, or imprint. A position to be able to create concepts and bring in great writers to run with them, while at the same time being able to write myself. As much as I love crafting sandboxes for others to play in, I would never want to give up the actual art of writing. I believe the best editors are also writers, people who know what writing is and feels like, not just taskmasters and overseers. They need to know what it is to be on the other side to empathize and sympathize and understand the passion of a writer.

  • I also know you've done some editing, so you've sat on both sides of the desk when it comes to getting a project ready for publication. How does that affect you with your own writing? Do you take any of your own advice?

Almost never! Okay, to be serious about 
it, I’m probably an editor’s worst nightmare in my stubbornness and my sloppiness. I’m a sloppy writer. There, is said it. I hate proofing my own stuff and I hate saying “draft.” I just write the durn things! Now, that said, I do have some pride in what I do and I would never consciously hand in something that was loosely strung together, but I do like to get it out of my head and into a Word file and send it on its merry way…everything I’d hate as an editor to receive!

I wonder if anybody will ever want to work with me after this? Ha!

  • Jim is there anything you do for hobbies or creative pursuits outside of writing? Do you draw upon any of that energy or knowledge when you write?

I love comic books and toys, so I collect both of those…and lots of books. I have a room at home that I jokingly refer to as my “Ray Bradbury room” – you know, like at the beginning of the old Ray Bradbury Theatre TV show where he’s in that room choked with cool stuff and he looks around at it all for inspiration for a story. I try to surround myself with stuff I love and that makes me happy to look at so it’s always a creative atmosphere.

And no, I’m not comparing myself to Ray Bradbury. The man’s a god of writing, so far as I’m concerned.

  • Let's talk specifics, because I know you are a guy with a lot of ideas and many irons in more than one fire. What have you got that's new out there right now? Any future projects you can share with us?

Like all of us, I’m always trying to find that one great idea, that cool concept that sparks and jumps and leaps like a live wire. I have a few things right now that are good examples of lines of thought I’m surfing: a GI Joe Adventure Team novella for Kindle Worlds; AIRSHIP HUNTERS, a kind of “1897 X-Files;” SOMETHING STRANGE IS GOING ON!, the first Flinch Books publication; and THE LEMON HERBERTS, the pulpy adventures of a 1960s pop band in the style of the Beatles and the Monkees.

That’s the kind of projects I love: thinking out of the box and seeing how far we can expand the definition of pulp.

  • Just where do we find all these marvelous projects of yours?


THE LEMON HERBERTS, from Pro Se Press, can be found at Amazon:

AIRSHIP HUNTERS can be found at Meteor House’s site:

Flinch Books’ first foray into fun, SOMETHING STRANGE IS GOING ON!:

And all my crazy works can be found at my Amazon Author Page:

Thanks for chatting with me Jim!

Thank you, Nancy!

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