Showing posts with label Raymond Embrack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raymond Embrack. Show all posts

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...RAYMOND EMBRACK

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Raymond Embrack?
Raymond Embrack: Escritor independiente de la ficcion


DF: Where do you live and what do you do to keep the bill collectors away?
RE: Currently in Los Angeles with years in an unnamed position in an unnamed industry.

DF: Tell us a little something about your background.
RE: Some film, some theater, some science fiction. Nothing much. Planning to start a new background in the future.

DF: How long have you been writing?
RE: Since 1978.

DF: What writers have influenced you?
RE: Harlan Ellison. Ernest Tidyman. James Ellroy. Hunter S. Thompson. Iceberg Slim. Andrew Vachss. Quentin Tarantino. Walter Mosely. Elmore Leonard. Robert B. Parker. Mickey Spillane.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?
RE: Never be boring. Leave out the slow parts. Write books that are non-stop pleasure. Write like books have to compete with video games, blockbuster movies, strippers and cocaine.

DF: How important is it to follow your instincts while writing?
RE: Always. But I’m learning the critical instinct to question everything, including my instincts.

DF: Are you interested in critics or criticism?
RE: Of my stuff? Your criticism helped me rewrite my first superhero novel. I don’t think a writer can improve without criticism. But that opinion is subject to change too.

DF: Do you crave recognition?
RE: Anything that hard to get deserves to be craved, hunted down, taken, beheaded then eaten. It has taken a long time.

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Raymond Embrack?
RE: I write for outlaw bikers and Japanese strippers. I made the mistake of writing the work before defining the audience. Maybe I’ll do better next time.

DF: How do you use social media to promote your writing?
RE: That’s something I’m still figuring out.

DF: One of the things I love about your writing is that it so fearlessly non-PC and for me that’s refreshing. Was that a conscious decision on your part or did your writing just develop that way over time?
RE: Why does the best stuff tend to be anti-PC? It just is. For better or worse I have always gone for that in my writing. To me there’s no point in holding back.

DF: Who is Peter Surf? Where did he come from and why does he make you want to write about him?
RE: Surf has been around since the 1990s. He got his name from the music in “Pulp Fiction”. From there my action hero took shape. Surf is a comedian, a badass, a killer. Surf is not an anti-hero, he is my version of the most interesting man in the world. That is a guy who does all things with swagger. Is he a male fantasy? I can’t pretend he’s a realistic character. The action hero exists to hit that sweet spot just short of the mask & cape.


DF: I love the concept of Blonde City. Where did that come from?
RE: For me there was more escapism value in making up a city than using an existing and probably over-used setting. It gives me way more to play with. This is America’s newest city, one made of sudden wealth, gloss and hype. It only hires policemen who are hot. It gives the homeless lipstick.

DF: Which Peter Surf novel was your favorite to write?
RE: Has to be The Guns of Tony Franciosa. I took it off the market just so I could keep rewriting it.


DF: What is the future of Peter Surf?
RE: He seems a few books short, so more Surf will happen.

DF: Perhaps my favorite book of yours I’ve read so far is EL MOROCCO.  It’s the swingin’ 60s on crack. What was the inspiration for that story and the characters?
RE: The inspiration was John Ridley’s “A Conversation with the Mann” his comedian/swingin’ 60s novel. Had to write my own version, plus I’m a fan of the “Mad Men era.”


DF: How much of a superhero fan are you?
RE: I’m an unfrozen fan. I have to work my way up to “nerd.” Real nerds read and watch everything and know all. After years focused on crime fiction, I’m returning to the thing I started with. I now get that the superhero can be as ambitious a character to write but one even closer to the brain’s pleasure center.

DF: Marvel or DC?
RE: DC

DF: Who are some of your favorite comic book writers?
RE: Howard Chaykin. Alan Moore. Neil Gaiman. Ed Brubaker. Scott Snyder.

DF: Your five favorite superheroes?
RE: Batman. The Hulk. The Black Panther. Rorschach. Black Canary.

DF: Explain the concept behind the AXIS Superhero Novels.
RE: Typically superheroes exist in a world where comic book superheroes never existed. In the AXIS world they exist in this world with its same comic book culture. That is only possible when somehow the reality follows the archetype. I took that premise and fused it with my older sci-fi concept of an alien that takes the form of an Earth city.  That formed the AXIS concept.


I wouldn’t call it “alternate history” more like “alternate present.” In 1970, from nowhere the city of Brutalia appeared in one day. It is the only city where superpowers exist. Outside the city superpowers cease to exist. There, three major organizations are at war, AXIS, the superheroes who seek to keep superpowers from reaching the outside world; the OGD (Order of Global Domination) the supervillains who seek to export superpowers to conquer the outside world; O.U.T.S.I.D.E., superheroes seeking to export superpowers to benefit the outside world.

Oddly enough, I see these characters with the realism I don’t see Peter Surf. These are not anti-heroes or anti-supervillains, they are multidimensional people redefined by gestalt myth made reality. Their superpowers are their career. Both AXIS and the OGD have Washington lobbyists. Like real people, they don’t all automatically invent new super identities, they become existing fictional superheroes, as when one of them attempted to become a real Wonder Woman. The leader of AXIS becomes the (fictional) KM Comics brand superheroes of his teens.

The novels are themselves a process as, from an amnesiac fog, Brutalia, its people, their memory, its mysteries, and the culture around it evolves, mutates, take shape. There is room for years of this to come.

DF: The AXIS Superhero Novels are quite explicit when it comes to sex and violence. Again, was this a conscious decision on your part or did the novels just develop that way over time?
RE: That’s what they are, adult content in comic book terms. The superheroes and supervillains are adults at play with real weapons. The sex and violence are unleashed id. I see the art by Howard Chaykin with splattered heads and “Black Kiss” nymphos.

DF: Are there graphic novels or comic books based on characters from the AXIS Superhero Novels planned for the future?
RE: In 2015 AXIS will start going visual. The plan involves art, graphic comix and novels and animated films. And merch. In the future there will be action figures. Someday, a Taco Bell tie-in.

DF: Have you thought about opening up the AXIS Universe to other writers in a fashion similar to the “Wild Cards” series?
RE: That never occurred to me. I don’t think other writers want a piece of this.

DF: What is the future of the AXIS Universe?
RE: There will be more new superheroes and supervillains. The Carousel will change his name to Spinrax. There will be more like Bag of Green Army Men that take place in the multiverse of KM Comics. I have a thing for steampunk, so I see an AXIS steampunk series.

DF: What are your plans for your writing career? Where is Raymond Embrack going to be five years from now?
RE: Going full time writer. Five years from now: even more full time with extra full time.

DF: What are you working on now?
RE: Planning the next Surf novel and the next AXIS novel, both to write in 2015.

DF: What’s a typical Day in the Life of Raymond Embrack like?
RE: It begins in the compound known as Embrack Wonderland. Report to the day job, which is at home, at a desktop. Maybe lunch at Fat Sal’s. Whistle blows. Return to Wonderland. When an Embrack novel is in production, writing may occur.

DF: Recommend a book, a TV show and a movie.
BOOK: The Storm Giants by Pearce Hansen
TV SHOW: The Pleasure (Playboy TV Latin America)
MOVIE: The Raid 2

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we need to know?
Raymond Embrack: This has been boss. Thanks for letting me kick it with you, Derrick.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Derrick Ferguson Has A Martini At EL MOROCCO




Having read four of his books now and one of them twice I think it’s safe to say that I’ve become a fan of Raymond Embrack. It’s always such a pleasant surprise to discover a writer who really makes me sit up and pay attention to what he’s doing and Raymond Embrack certainly does that. Why do I like his writing so much? I think it’s because he has that Swing For The Fences quality I always enjoy reading. Each and every one of his books I’ve read so far reads as if he’s afraid he’ll never write another one again and so they’re stuffed with off the wall characters, wild ideas and wilder concepts.  Add to that playful dialog married to descriptive passages and labyrinthine plot twists that I do think he gets carried away with at times.  But we’ll get into that later on. Right now let’s get into the plot of EL MOROCCO.

It’s the swingin’ hepcat 1960’s and Guy Roman is a hot up-and-coming comic working Atlantic City. He’s not quite big time yet but he’s on his way. Until he gets derailed by New Jersey wiseguy wannabe Jackie Rockafero who blatantly hijacks Guy’s comedy routine as he thinks it would be fun to trade leg-breaking and loan sharking to be a stand-up comic. Naturally Guy takes exception to this. Jackie offers Guy gold or lead. Guy takes lead and winds up left for dead in a filthy A.C. alley alongside the ridiculously gorgeous showgirl Tess Revere who has also pissed off Jackie in a way I would not dare dream of revealing here.

Once he recovers, Guy, along with the brain damaged but still recovering Tess heads to Los Angeles where Jackie has become a comedic megastar. Guy’s intention is to not only take back his act but to make Jackie Rockafero sorry he was ever born. The conflict between them escalates into a major war that before it’s over involves the Hollywood film industry, celebrity gangster Mickey Cohen, crooked gossip columnists, high powered agents who are little more than scam artists and the West Coast Mafia a.k.a. The L.A. Set.

One of the things that makes EL MOROCCO so much fun to read is Raymond Embrack’s affinity for the language, attitudes and feel for the 1960’s. His characters all have a wonderfully smart-ass way of talking and yet he manages to not have them all sound the same. Everybody’s a smart-ass in their own way, if you know what I mean. And the characters and tone of the book are totally authentic to the time period. So those of you who are actively PC should be warned. The people in EL MOROCCO talk, act and think like people who lived in the 1960’s talked, acted and thought and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m actually more comfortable with that than with books that are supposed to be set in the 1930’s, 40’s, ‘50’s or ‘60’s but are peopled with characters from the ‘00’s.

What else can I say to recommend the book? Raymond’s way of writing is one where he’s clearly having fun with language and with words. He obviously enjoys the way he’s telling the story in the language and style and rhythm of the dialog and description. It’s really enjoyable to read his prose as it sings and swings with the patois of 1960’s hipster jive talk.

What’s my only quibble with the book? Remember earlier when I mentioned that Raymond gets carried away with plot twists? The plot twists at the conclusion of EL MOROCCO come so fast and there are so many of them that I felt he was pushing it and I was wondering if he was deliberately trying to see how many plot twists he could throw in there before they collapsed under their own weight. But that’s okay. Above all, I like and admire Raymond Embrack for his sheer audacity and willingness to take the chance of going too far with his bizarre plots and outrageous characters. It’s always more fun to read a writer who isn’t afraid to Go There instead of one that offers up easily digestible prose that is no more exciting to read than recycled oatmeal is fun to eat. He’s an extremely entertaining writer and if you’re going to start reading him, EL MOROCCO is a great place to start.

File Size: 313 KB
Print Length: 174 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B009625IDC


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Derrick Ferguson Gets Et By BARRACUDA




Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 205 KB
Print Length: 101 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Language: English
ASIN: B006426U5M

There’s a wonderful story told about the filming of the classic 1946 Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall murder mystery “The Big Sleep.” The plot of the book was so convoluted that in translating it from print to screen, director Howard Hawks and his screenwriters William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman discovered that not only weren’t they entirely sure who the killer of Sean Reagan was, they also had a dead chauffeur on their hands and they couldn’t figure out who killed him. In desperation they contacted the writer of the book, Raymond Chandler to ask him who killed Sean Regan and the chauffeur and Chandler had to admit that he himself didn’t know.

Indeed, there’s a wonderful bit right in the middle of “The Big Sleep” where Bogart’s Philip Marlowe is called into the Los Angeles D.A.’s office to explain the case to him and by extension to the us, the audience. Because by the time we’ve reached that point of the movie the filmmakers felt that there needed to be some kind of summary of what happened so that audiences back then could take a breath and feel they were up on what had happened up until then.

I feel kinda the same way about Raymond Embrack’s impressively deranged BARRACUDA: A PETER SURF NOVELLA. Halfway through it needs somebody to hold up both hands, yell “Hold everything, please!” and summarize the plot. And trust me, I mean that in a good way. Because in the same way that “The Big Sleep” is now regarded as a classic of the private eye genre, I think that BARRACUDA in its own way is going to become a classic. And Raymond Embrack is a writer to watch.

Peter Surf is a private eye living and working in Blonde City, a California city that seems to be entirely made up of linked beaches each with their own distinctive personality. Blonde City itself is one of the best characters in the story, inhabited by gangs such as The Schoolgirl Mafia who commit thrill killings while hopped up on Hentai-14 and The Beach Mafia whose members worship The Beach Boys to the extent that all of them have the last name of “Smile” in honor of Brian Wilson’s epic project. It’s a city that seems made up out of equal parts of 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s pop culture with a healthy heaping dose of whatever the hell Raymond Embrack felt like throwing in and believe me, he makes it works. And for me watching him make it work was one of the fun things about reading this story.

Peter Surf himself is…well, the best way to describe him is if you imagined Mike Hammer created by Quentin Tarantino instead of Mickey Spillane. He lives and works out of a converted, arsenal filled service station and he doesn’t so much as do straight up detective work as wreak havoc among his enemies until somebody yells “uncle” and tells him what he wants to know.  

And the havoc is profane, sexy and violent and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The story begins with Surf investigating a terrorist group called T-Unit. They’re terrorizing the private eyes of Blonde City. They’re running some out of town and outright killing others. They make the mistake of terrorizing Surf instead of killing him. From then on, Peter Surf becomes a one man wrecking crew on the warpath of T-Unit.

How this is all tied with the DEA, a particularly dangerous man named Gronsky and Blue Mermaid, a type of maryjane so mythical it’s supposed to be able to heal people I would not dream of telling you. Just be advised that by the time you reach the halfway point of BARRACUDA you may be tempted to say, “Hold everything, please!” go back to the beginning and start reading all over again just to make sure you know exactly what is going on.

That’s because Mr. Embrack writes like this was the only book he was ever going to write in his life. There’s an astounding amount of vibrantly alive characters, situations and concepts that other writers would have spread out over a trilogy. BARRACUDA is never boring and never lags due to the constant and unending stream of sheer delightfully WTF plot twists Mr. Embrack throws at us with glee.

The dialog is pure classic P.I. genre porn where everybody talks like a dame or a smartass or a tough guy. And Mr. Embrack allows himself to have fun with his concepts, his prose and the dialog. I like to think that I can tell when a writer had fun writing a story because that fun can’t help but translate into the prose. And if Raymond Embrack has half as much fun writing BARRACUDA: A PETER SURF NOVELLA as I did reading it then he had a big ol’ barrel of fun indeed. Highly recommended reading.

I do gotta point out that this is not for those of you who are PC minded or who object to graphic language, violence and/or sex. But if you want to read a really good crime/P.I. story that reminded me a lot of “Sin City” on crack you can’t do better than BARRACUDA: A PETER SURF NOVELLA.