Derrick Ferguson: Who is Joel Jenkins?
Joel Jenkins: I'm a husband, father, ordained elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, writer, musician, and firearm enthusiast.
DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
JJ: I am a resident of the heron-haunted and misty-mountained Great Northwest.
The IRS doesn't much care what I do for a living, they just want their increasingly exorbitant cut, to support an unwieldy central government that has unconstitutionally usurped authority over welfare, health care, and education. According to the Constitution, these are powers which are NOT designated to the Federal government and reserved for the states, if they so choose to exercise them. By usurping these powers the federal government becomes unduly influential over the states, and the citizen has less ability to effect change—not to mention the fact that the federal government absorbs much of those tax dollars just to support its corpulent bureaucracy, and a relatively small portion actually returns to the people for which those dollars are designated.
DF: How long have you been writing?
JJ: I started writing shortly after I learned to read. At age eight I sent my first manuscript into Highlights for Children. It was a story of time travel and dinosaurs. I received a kind and encouraging letter back from the editor explaining that manuscripts should be typed instead of handwritten.
DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?
JJ: First, I want to tell an imaginative, rousing and vivid story that entertains. Second, even if the protagonist has few or no redeeming qualities, I want to illustrate that good will triumph over evil. Sometimes this may be illustrated by showing the long term consequences of evil actions, even though it may seem that evil has temporarily won the day. I hope to inspire people to good and selfless action through my writing.
DF: When it comes to genre there’s no way to pin you down. You’ve written westerns, blood-n-bullets action adventure, children’s books, heroic fantasy…is that a conscious choice or do you just write what you like?
JJ: I've made a conscious decision not to limit myself to any specific genre. Other than that, I write where my muse takes me, and she takes me in any number of odd directions—some of which I never anticipated.
DF: You wear several hats; small press publisher, writer, editor…which one brings you the greatest satisfaction?
JJ: The hats of small press publisher and editor stem from, or facilitate, writing. I enjoy these other hats, but if they take too much time I start to resent that they are stealing away from time I could be writing something.
DF: You were writing New Pulp long before there was a New Pulp Movement. How does it feel seeing the explosion of pulp influenced writing and characters springing up in recent years?
JJ: It used to be that a reader who enjoyed highly imaginative fast-paced, and action packed stories had limited options in modern fiction. Now, we are seeing a wealth of options, and a lot of great fiction is coming out. I think it's a great thing.
DF: The organizational structure of Pulpwork Press is somewhat unique. Can you describe it and how it works?
JJ: I can't describe it great detail because some of the shadowy figures behind Pulpwork Press are actually members of the Twelve Unknown Men, who for reasons known to them alternately work for nefarious and noble purposes.
DF: There are plenty of New Pulp publishers out there now but Pulpwork Press was around long before some of them were even thought of. Do you feel that sometimes Pulpwork Press gets overlooked by the community and readers?
JJ: The New Pulp community is an awesome group of creative individuals, but there's little point in getting competitive or jealous about getting the lion's share of attention within a relatively small community. The key is to attract readers from the market as a whole and the New Pulp community, including Pulpwork Press, has a lot to learn as to how to accomplish this.
DF: Where do you see Pulpwork Press in five years?
JJ: On the run from the law and uploading our latest manuscripts via encrypted connections.
DF: Let’s talk about your work now…in particular, Lone Crow who has been showing up quite a bit in recent years. Who is Lone Crow and why the fascination with him?
JJ: Lone Crow is an infamous Native American gunfighter who roamed the wild west earning respect with his pistols. In my stories, he tends to encounter the weird, strange and supernatural, and he's been one of those characters who I haven't been able to stop writing stories about. Next year we'll see a book called Lone Crow Collected, which is a collection of quite a number of those stories which have been published elsewhere, and a good chunk of them which have have never been seen before.
DF: Tell us about STRANGE TRAILS.
JJ: Strange Trails is the brainchild of James Palmer, the head editor at Mechanoid Press. He decided to gather a group of weird west adventures and asked me to contribute a story. I wrote The Steam Devil, where Lone Crow finds himself in the company of the much-feared lawman Bass Reeves. They explore the wreckage of a derailed train and find more than they bargained for.
DF: Tell us about THE WEIRD WORLDS OF JOEL JENKINS
JJ: This is my most recent book and is a collection of short stories and novellas that range over nearly a 25 year period of my published writings. We've got western gunfights, vampire hunters, ghost impersonators, the rock vocalist Matthias Gantlet taking on the heavyweight champion of the world, the assassin Monica Killingsworth doing an interview, and even an audacious sequel to a post-apocalyptic romance story that you wrote. Before each story, I provide a bit of background information, just in case the readers might find it of interest.
DF: There have been PULPWORK CHRISTMAS SPECIALS for the past two years. Are we going to see one for 2013? And is this going to be an annual event we can look forward to?
JJ: Since we give away the Pulpwork Christmas Specials for free, we depend upon the charity of talented and in-demand writers. They have to be willing to contribute work that normally they would be getting paid for doing. Thus far, in the tradition of Christmas, they've been very magnanimous and have offered top-notch Christmas fiction. I've completed a quite lengthy Monica Killingsworth tale for this year's Christmas Special, and I hope to be receiving some further contributions soon.
DF: ONE FOOT IN MY GRAVE is a book you’ve lived with for a long time. Tell us about the background of the September Peterson character and why this novel is so important to you.
JJ: September was a friend of mine since my youth. He suffered from a lung condition called cystic fibrosis, which makes life hard and generally short. On his death bed he requested I write his life story … and he had quite an action-packed story to tell. So bringing this project to fruition had a very personal meaning to me.
DF: Tell us about THE GANTLET BROTHERS: SOLD OUT.
Sold Out will be published later this year and is the third in the Gantlet Brothers series: the first being The Nuclear Suitcase, and the second The Gantlet Brothers Greatest Hits. The Gantlet Brothers escaped across the Berlin wall in the 1980's and proceeded to become one of the world's premiere metal bands, but they also had a penchant for violence and it seemed that trouble often crossed their path … either that or they went looking for it. My regular readers know that I've never shied away from killing major characters, and they'll likely see at least one major character meet a grisly end in this thriller.
DF: What’s a typical Day In The Life of Joel Jenkins like?
JJ: I like to get up early, eat, write, hit the punching bag and lift weights before heading to work. This summer we've had particularly good weather and a few mornings I've been able to write while enjoying the sunshine on the balcony. Things have been slow at the day job, so I've had extra time in the morning, making it a particularly lazy summer. As a result my writing output has more than doubled.
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we need to know?
Joel Jenkins: I've already divulged far too much for my own safety.