All Pulp recently sat down with Bish to discuss his writing, the Fight Card Series, and all things pulp. Pulpsters, meet Paul Bishop.
AP: Tell us a little about yourself and your pulp interests.
PB: I’ve been voraciously reading pulp stories since my early twenties starting with reprints from the detective story magazines (such as Black Mask), and eventually moving on to the standard hero tales like the Shadow and Doc Savage. When I started collecting pulps, I found myself drawn to the adventure, sports, and western pulps as they were more affordable and plentiful.
AP: How did you get your start as an author?
PB: I broke into writing professionally as a magazine freelancer. I had some success, eventually making my way from writing for law enforcement related magazines (using my background as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department as fodder) to top rank markets such as Runners World, Parents Magazine, and Psychology Today. I also worked steadily for several years on the full run of Mystery Magazine from its premiere as a slick, through its transformation to digest sized pulp, to its eventual untimely demise.
As for novels, I began writing paperback original westerns for Pinnacle Books’ Diamondback series (created by Raymond Obstfeld) under the rather appropriate house name Pike Bishop. From there, I moved on to my first cop novel, Citadel Run (now retitled Hot Pursuit as an e-book). Since then there have been ten more novels, a slew of short stories, two-dozen hours of scripted network television, and a feature film – all while staying busy with my LAPD career.
PB: The Fight Card series grew out of a phone conversation with fellow author Mel Odom. I tracked Mel down after reading a pulp-style boxing story (Smoker) he had published as an e-book on Amazon. We quickly found common ground in many areas, including a love of the fight pulps and especially the Sailor Steve Costigan boxing stories by Robert E. Howard. With the advent of e-publishing, we realized we could create new fight stories which could reach and expand the niche audience who would love these stories as much as we did. The concept of the Fight Card series then took on a life of its own.
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 an artist and a reader? Do you consider the Fight Card series books pulp?
PB: The Fight Card novels are definitely in the pulp genre – straight forward, solid, stripped down, slightly larger than life storytelling. It’s what made the original pulps so popular and accessible to a wide audience. The New Pulp movement is definitely bringing the genre back in all its colorful, sensational, glory combining the sizzle of the cover art with story content aimed at more modern sensibilities, but with the values of pulp’s past.
PB: E-publishing is here to stay. Combined with the accessibility and ease of POD for physical books, authors themselves are now the driving force in the writing/publishing business. It’s a great time to be a writer, but there are also whole new skill sets to capture from layout, to promotion, to editing. Yikes! It’s worlds better than traditional publishing for all but the bestselling authors, but some days you wonder if you have to be careful what you wish for.
AP: Is there a particular character out there you haven’t had the chance to work on that you would love to take a crack at writing?
AP: Where can readers find information on you and your work?
PB: I can be found blogging at Bish’s Beat (www.bishsbeat.blogspot.com) and on the new Fight Card website (www.fightcardbooks.com) as well as Facebook and Twitter (@bishsbeat).
AP: What upcoming projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about at this time?
I’m also excited about a series of pulp anthologies I’m working on with pulp maven Tommy Hancock (Pro Se Press), which will be out early in the new year. I’m also editing The C.O.B.R.A.S. Files, a collection of swinging ‘60s set spy stories (back when espionage was fun) from The Coalition Of Bloggers wRiting About Spies, which should be a lot of fun.
AP: Do you have any shows, signings, or conventions coming up where your fans can meet you?
PB: 2013 looks to be a busy year for me promoting Fight Card series in numerous venues. I will be at Pulp Ark in April, where I’ll be premiering my new Fight Card novel Swamp Walloper as well as one of the new Fight Card MMA titles.
AP: And finally, what does Paul Bishop do when he’s not writing?
AP: Thanks, Paul. We look forward to reading your new books.
You can learn more about Paul Bishop here and the Fight Card series here.
Want to hear more from paul Bishop? Paul will be a guest on episode 130 of the Earth Station One podcast, going live September 27th at www.esopodcast.com.