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?
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.