Sunday, January 16, 2011


AP: Barry, you're heading up a writer's classroom about balancing 'real life' with your writing? Can you explain exactly what you mean by that?

BR: Sure – I hear from potential writers all the time that they don’t have the time to focus on writing and they don’t see how I manage to be so prolific while having a fulltime job, a marriage and a four-year old. So I’ll basically be outlining various methods of blocking out your schedule and making the time for writing – and how to take the strains of daily life and use it to actually enrich the process!

AP: Is it easier to “balance real life” with writing pulp than with other genres?

BR: Hmm. Well, pulp by its nature isn’t as in-depth as some other genres so you might be able to get by with less research at times – but I don’t think so. Most of want to go the extra mile and get the details right. Pulp is as legitimate an art form as any other so I don’t think it’s “easier” by any means.

AP: What sort of skills and techniques will you be using and teaching those in your class about balancing?

BR: Time management, positive attitudes, etc. are all aspects I’ll focus on. I’ll leave the specifics for the class, though!

AP: You're also going to do a panel on creating new pulp heroes at Pulp Ark. First, why do we need to create NEW pulp heroes?

BR: There’s always a need for new heroes. There are aspects of our culture that didn’t exist in the golden age of pulps, or at the very least weren’t talked about commonly. New heroes can help illuminate those areas and also help grow the field. I think we’re more likely to have a “breakout” in the mainstream with a new hero than with the umpteenth revival of Doc Savage, too.

AP: What is different about pulp heroes created today compared to those from the golden age of Pulp?

BR: Well, we’re able to incorporate a lot of things that wouldn’t have been allowed back then: shades of gray in the heroes’ morality, gender identity, and so forth. There were few heroes who weren’t straight white males back in the day and we all know that heroism isn’t dependent on any of those characteristics.

AP: Is there a technique in creating a new pulp hero? What are the ingredients you need?

BR: There’s no step-by-step way of doing it. Some characters jump full-blown into your consciousness. Others are “built.” The number one ingredient is that it must excite YOU as the author. If you don’t believe in this character and want to see them live, why would anybody else?