Monday, March 5, 2012

Prose and Bullets with Tommy Hancock!

Perhaps better known as the stalwart publisher behind the big desk at Pro Se Productions, or even as the always-embattled promoter and organizer of the Pulp Ark convention, Tommy Hancock is a man of many talents... And among those, the scribing of hard-knuckled prose tales where good guys beat the crap out of bad guys and make the world safe for hard-working citizens everywhere.

Finding a few moments in his busy schedule, we encouraged him to take off his editor hat and put on his writing hat instead, then tell us a bit about what's going on in the world of Tommy Hancock at for the foreseeable future.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Well, latest work is hard to categorize.  I have several things in the hands of publishers that are due to come out this year, but due to all the other things I’ve been doing in pulp, there’s not been a major amount of work from me published in the last few months.

I did debut a new character who was nominated for a Best New Character Award for the Pulp Ark Awards.  December, 2012, my take on Santa Claus re-imagined through the lens of Doc Savage debuted in Pro Se Presents, a monthly magazine from Pro Se Productions.  Nicholas Saint is Father Christmas meets The Man of Bronze, my homage to two of my favorite characters that really ought to be real.

YesterYear is probably the one work I’m most known for writing wise currently. My first novel, it’s sort of a fanboy mash up bringing the roots of pulp heroes into play with a story of modern super heroes. Great fun to write, even more fun to hear that people really like it.

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

I’m an old fashioned good versus evil kind of guy.   The struggle between the two, the similarities each have with one another, and the way both justice and wrongdoing have a way of manipulating those dedicated to them. I don’t mind my heroes with shades of gray and love my villains to have just enough likability about them for you to hate them even more, but my stories have clearly defined concepts of right and wrong. What isn’t always so clearly defined is what those involved do to make sure the concept they support wins.

What would be your dream project?

To have the chance to write even an 8,000 word short story featuring Robert B. Parker’s Spenser character (with Hawk at his side of course) and/or to write the Further Adventures of Rick Blaine.

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

There’s a story I did for a volume entitled "Vampires Vs Werewolves" from Age of Adventure.  The story entitled ‘A Balance, Bloody and Beastly” featured a pair of rather famous brothers, one a werewolf and the other a vampire, who essentially are at war with each other eternally and have certain rules that have to be met before either one wins.   It was a fun story, but if I had it to do again, I’d have not done that short, but instead would have expanded it into at least a novella, if not a full length novel.  There were so many layers to that story that I just didn’t have a chance to explore.

What inspires you to write?

Inspiration haunts me constantly, has since I was in the third grade.   I mean, sometimes something sparks an idea, but as far as inspiration goes, it’s constant and continuous.  It won’t leave me alone, this urge to write, which makes it all the more agonizing when I am also passionate about Pulp that all the other things I am doing keep me from writing.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Robert B. Parker. Dashiell Hammett. Raymond Chandler. Louis L’Amour.  Stuart Kaminsky. Ellery Queen. Rex Stout.

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

This isn’t even a discussion for me.  Writing is an addiction, an urge, a function absolutely necessary for life, an emotion, a beast struggling to get out and onto the paper so the world can see it free in all its bloody wonder.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug? 

This is where the list gets long and hopefully if we do this again in a few months, a lot of these things will be the answer to that first question.

I have a story in the upcoming anthology from Reese Unlimited.  I am honored to be one of the writers asked by Rook creator Barry Reese to contribute a tale to the anthology featuring his masked hero.  This story also stars a classic Pulp Villain.   Following that up, both the Rook and this villain will be the centerpiece of the trilogy of Rook volumes I’m writing, beginning with The Rook Volume 7 later this year.

I have a story set in a really cool universe that mixes super powers with the Jazz Age.  SPEAK ME NOT is a PI tale with something extra that Bobby Nash and Sean Taylor plan to make use of.  Also, Neil Burke has an anthology planned of crime fiction to which I contributed a story set in a universe I created sometime ago, a precinct known as The Ninth Circle where all lost souls go to die. 

Also, Airship 27 has a collection coming out soon called TALES OF THE HANGING MONKEY.  This South Seas themed collection features characters created by Billy Craig that all live on an island and hang out at, well, a bar called The Hanging Monkey.  This story was basically a lot of fun and the first time in a while I’ve written what someone called ‘sweaty’ Pulp.

I’m working on several other awesome stories as well, including tales for Moonstone, for my own company (Pro Se Productions). And more. 

These stories include some original characters, like my very own Doc Daye, a part of the Sovereign City Project, but I’m also getting to play with several established characters in the future as well, including Operator Five, Johnny Dollar, The Spider, and one really cool dream project (probably third on my dream list) that I  can’t talk about just yet.

For more information about Tommy and his work, visit Pro Se Productions and his blog, Ideas Like Bullets.