|Cover art: Douglas Klauba|
AP: Tell us a little about yourself and your pulp interests.
HH: You can expect the true Lone Ranger, no re-imaging and political correctness. Set in a more realistic and gritty West, dealing with authentic issues and vicious villains. The original Lone Ranger series on the radio and TV—which, make no mistake, I love dearly—was largely intended for a younger audience. Moonstone’s series is not aimed at kids, but it is aimed at Lone Ranger fans and Western readers, as well as adventure readers and folks who just enjoy a thrilling story. The Lone Ranger and Tonto—I don’t like to use the term Blood Brothers because it was a term not used by the Native Americans, but that’s what they really are—are equal parts of a whole, dealing with a West full of prejudice, sudden death and human corruption. Yet The Ranger also stands above that. He is The Lone Ranger and I have taken great pains to keep the soul and spirit of the character intact. I have a great love and respect for this character and have done my best to make sure to respect Rangers fans in writing the book. There’s nothing I hate more than seeing a cherished character so totally redone as to be not only unrecognizable but alienating. These are great, iconic characters. They were popular and loved for a reason. I see no need to screw with that. At the same time, the Old West is a violent, vast and even lonely place, and The Lone Ranger and Tonto are operating within it. Basically I have done my durndest to preserve everything that makes The Ranger The Ranger, and set it against a backdrop of a Deadwood styled West (without the cussing). I believe fans as well as many non-Western readers will like it. I am hoping there will be a few of those goosebump moments we all look for in our favorite characters when they appear in new books or movies.
You can also expect a pretty vicious villain seeking revenge. The story is called Vendetta and the lead villain has a hell of a score to settle. Unfortunately this means bad news for some of the Masked Rider of the Plains’ acquaintances.
AP: In addition to writing, you also have a couple of anthologies coming up that you’ve edited as well. Tell us a bit about the upcoming Sherlock Holmes and The Avenger collections.
HH: Yes, indeed. A Honey West anthology too, in fact. The Sherlock Holmes antho is called Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook, and involves the Great Detective working with some of history’s fictional and real characters, solving a crime. My own story, called The Haunted Manor, teams Sherlock with Calamity Jane. He teams with Arsene Lupin, The Great and Powerful OZ, Lawrence of Arabia and many others. We have some truly excellent writers involved with the project and an awesome cover. I believe Holmes fans will enjoy it and if I may say so myself it’s going to be one kick ass anthology. I have also been co-editor with Joe Gentile on three Avenger anthologies, the first two of which are out now and available from comic shops and Amazon.com. These are labors of love for me, since The Avenger is one of my all time favorite characters, second (or perhaps even tied with) Doc Savage. I’ve done stories for all three volumes, and the second volume, titled The Justice, Inc. Files, includes, in the special hardcover edition, the first three of six vignettes focusing on the original Man of Steel’s aides. In this case, Nellie, Mac and Cole Wilson. The next will spotlight Smitty, Josh and Rosabel. And of course this is THE Richard Benson, not somebody named Benny or a drastic updating of characters.
HH: The Chloe Files is my paranormal horror series focusing on Chloe Everson, a dancer at The Red Lagoon who gets herself into all sorts of supernatural problems. She’s not a wizard like Harry Dresden, but she does take on others’ ghostly problems and something quite special about her will be revealed as the series progresses. Two books are now available on Kindle, Nook and in paperback. The action takes place in the cursed seaside town of New Salem, Maine, and this is not your sparkly vampire lovefest. The monsters Chloe faces are classic style and mean as hell. She’s Kolchak with boobs. She’s also going to find out some rather dark and startling revelations about her past and the reasons the supernatural is after her. In the meantime, she’s kicking Evil’s ass—one demon at a time.
HH: The spooky genes are probably my favorite. I love things that go bump in the night and I love to scare readers. But I enjoy all genres I write in because it all boils down to the same thing--I read to escape…I write to help others escape. I like working in genres that take folks away from their worries and day to day problems, at least for a couple hours. I do not strive to be literary, though I do strive to make my characters live and drive the story. I am an entertainer and that’s just fine with me. It’s all about the escape. When I was a kid, I went through some tough times—and if not for some of the heroes and books I love, honestly, I might not have made it. They saved me from at least some addictions that might have proved destructive. I owe the writers of those stories more than I can repay and I owe my readers what I was given.
HH: Well, actually there’s one I am just now getting a chance to write in I haven’t done much with before and that’s 50s noir. I will be writing a 15,000 word novella (novelette?) for a brand new anthology based on the old radio show Nightbeat, about a reporter who stumbles into serious crime. And the best part is I am getting to be in it with some super talents. What more can a writer ask? It will be a lot of fun slipping into that noir world.
AP: There seem to be many different opinions about what can be defined as pulp. How do you define pulp and what do you look for in a pulp story as a writer and a reader?
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AP: Where can readers find information on you and your books?
HH: They can visit my website at http://www.howardhopkins.com/ and my blog at http://howardhopkins.blogspot.com/ Or follow me on Twitter at @yingko2
AP: What upcoming projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about at this time?
AP: Do you have any shows, signings, or conventions coming up where your fans can meet you?
AP: And finally, what does Howard Hopkins do when he’s not writing?
HH: Um, what do you mean by that? What is this not writing thing of which you speak? My ass is superglued to the office chair. Well, ok, I am a musician—mandolin, keyboards, guitar, singing—so when I have time I do that, read, of course, collect comic books and DVDs of old TV shows such as UFO, Hulk, Dark Shadows, etc. Sometimes I sleep, but try not to let that get in the way.
AP: Thanks, Howard.
HH: Thank you, All Pulp Potentates!s
About The Lone Ranger - Vendetta:
For more on Howard Hopkins, visit http://www.howardhopkins.com/.
For more on Moonstone Books, visit http://www.moonstonebooks.com/.