Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monsters and Bullets: Getting to Know Perry Constantine

A Chicagoan now displaced to southern Japan, Percival (Perry) Constantine has a knack for combining the typical action hero or heroine with a mythic world of monsters and otherworldly creatures. He's also penned the adventures of everyone's favorite, all-female superhero team, Fem Force!

So we thought him exactly the kind of writer you should get to know.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My latest work is OUTLAW BLUES. It's the second novella in the Infernum series and a sequel of sorts to another work of mine, LOVE & BULLETS. Carl Flint is a retired hitman, wasting his life away and he's offered one last chance to redeem himself by taking on a job for the Infernum organization. Of course, nothing is ever that simple in the world of fiction, and Flint ends up getting himself in even deeper trouble with a government agent and a Colombian drug cartel.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I do a lot of work with characters who have shades of gray to them or checkered pasts. In all my works, my characters have something they're running from or actions they're trying to make amends for. I also like working with mythology of all different types.

What would be your dream project?

Man, that's a tough one, and it probably changes depending on what day of the week it is. I'm a comic geek, so I think getting a chance to write the Avengers or the X-Men comics would be awesome, as those are two of my favorite properties.

I've done some work on student films and really enjoyed that, so one thing I would love to do as well would be directing an adaptation of any of my properties.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Funny you should mention that, I've actually been toying with this idea for one of my self-published books, CHASING THE DRAGON. I really enjoyed the characters and the story, but looking back I think I pushed the envelope with the style. And while I think it's good to try experiments like that, sometimes the result isn't as good as it could have been. So there's a part of me that thinks I'd like to revisit the story and try to redo it in a more natural style.

What inspires you to write?

For me, it's not so much a matter of inspiration -- more like an urge. It's just something I have to do. Guess you could say it's a drug for me.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Elmore Leonard is a massive influence on my work. His dialogue and his prose style are top-notch and I subscribe a lot to his techniques. I've even got a copy of his Ten Rules of Writing posted up on my wall.

There are other writers who have influenced me a lot in terms of themes and elements, but if we're talking strictly style and technique, then it's Leonard all the way. Although the others tend to meld together in a mixture of influence, Leonard just stands apart from the rest.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

If by science, you mean that writing is more of a construction of different elements to construct a product and by art you mean it should be more than that, then I guess it depends what you want to write.

Personally, I don't put too much thought into whether or not what I do is art. Some people might say it is, others might say it's not. I'm not out to reinvent the wheel or make any statements on society (although some of that will undoubtedly seep in since no one writes in a vacuum and your beliefs have an influence on your work). I like making stuff up and I like writing the kind of stories I'd enjoy reading.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Two, as a matter of fact. This summer, I've got a story coming out in Pro Se's TALES OF THE ROOK anthology, which will feature a number of New Pulp creators tackling Barry Reese's immensely popular character, the Rook. My story is a bit unique from the others in that it doesn't focus on Max Davies, the Rook everyone's familiar with, but on Ian Morris. Barry's written two tales about him to date and he's the successor to the Rook identity in the twenty-first century. Barry was awesome not only in honoring me with an invitation to join the project, but also by being very open to just about everything I wanted to do. That's something I had a lot of fun writing and I'm looking forward to the response.

The second project is DRAGON KINGS OF THE ORIENT. This is a novella which is a sequel to last year's Pulp Ark Award-nominated THE MYTH HUNTER. It features Elisa Hill once again and two of her associates from the first book, her mentor Max Finch and Asami, a Japanese changeling. They've been tasked with stopping Sun Wukong, the Monkey King whose just escaped after centuries of imprisonment, from killing the mythical Dragon Kings. If the Dragon Kings are killed, the result will be oceanic chaos in Asia. Right now, the book is currently going through editing, but it's my hope it'll be ready to go by the time the summer rolls around.

For more information about Perry and his work, visit