Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Punch and a Jab with Paul Bishop

A novelist and screenwriter, Paul Bishop also has a distinguished career with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he has twice been honored as Detective Of The Year. With over thirty years experience investigating Sex Crimes, Paul brings a gritty realism to his writing along with a healthy dollop of hard earned gallows humor.

As a nationally recognized interrogator, Paul appears regularly as one of two principal interrogators on the hit ABC reality series Take The Money And Run . . .

His novels include Hot Pursuit, Deep Water, Penalty Shot, and four novels in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series: Kill Me Again, Grave Sins, Tequila Mockingbird, and Chalk Whispers. He has also published two short story collections, Pattern Of Behavior and Running Wylde, as well as written scripts for episodic television and feature films.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Currently, I’m busy writing and editing the books in the Fight Card series. These are 25,000 word e-novels, designed to be read in one or two sittings, and are inspired by the fight pulps of the '30s and '40s – such as Fight Stories Magazine – and Robert E. Howard’s two-fisted boxing tales featuring Sailor Steve Costigan.

The first two e-novels in the series, Felony Fists (by myself) and The Cutman (by series co-creator Mel Odom) made their debut in November 2011 and have both been well reviewed. The third Fight Card e-novel, Slit Decision (by Eric Beetner), was released in December 2011. The fourth and latest Fight Card e-novel, Counterpunch (by Wayne D. Dundee), has just hit Amazon’s virtual bookshelves. All the Fight Card novels are listed under the 'open' pseudonym Jack Tunney to unify the series.

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

I often find myself writing about characters doing the right thing despite personal cost. I like to paint stories in shades of gray where there aren’t always easy answers about right and wrong, where actions have consequences – if a proverbial trigger is pulled, there is a price to pay.

What would be your dream project?

I’ve been very lucky in having been able to do so much – novels, produced TV scripts, produced movie scripts, co-starring in a TV show on a major network – all of those things being a dream.

That said, I dream about selling an action TV series and getting to be the show runner. However, I think that I should heed the warning, ‘be careful what you wish for.’

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

The reality television show, Take The Money And Run, in which I co-starred. I’d love to re-edit the episodes in a manner explaining the rules better to the viewers and showing how long the interrogations lasted and how many times we went back and questioned the ‘hider’ contestants. The current episodes sometimes make it look as if the ‘hider’ contestants gave up to easily. I’m here to tell cracking them was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done.

What inspires you to write?

The wolf at the door would be the obvious inspiration, but in reality I have a compelling need to tell stories. There are characters inside my head screaming to get out onto the page.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

My influences are as common as all the great pulp writers who have gone before, and as uncommon as writers such as Nevil Shute and Somerset Maugham. The Razor’s Edge was the seminal novel of my youth. Contemporary writers such as Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker are who I study to learn compelling narrative and striking dialogue.

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

Writing rises to the level of art when it not only tells a story, but helps the reader discover something about themselves, makes them question entrenched beliefs, or gives the reader a unique perspective they would not have otherwise encountered. The responsibility of a writer is to entertain a reader – the goal of a writer is to make a reader think.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

2012 will see Fight Card entries from Kevin Michaels (The Hard Road), James Hopwood (King Of The Outback), Heath Lowrance (Bay City Brawler), Eric Beetner (Mouth Full Of Blood), Gary Phillips (Bare Knuckles), Bob Randisi (The Knockout) and others – along with more from Mel and myself (Swamp Walloper).

Pulp is also rocking my world as I am in the middle of writing and editing stories for a series of new pulp anthologies (Pulse Fiction) set to premier next year – with all stories featuring new pulp characters spanning the width and breadth of pulpdom.

I’m also fleshing out plans for two Fight Card spin-offs, Fight Card: MMA and Fight Card: Now!
A wonderfully busy and creative time.

To learn more about Paul and his work, visit his blog at http://www.bishsbeat.blogspot.com.