Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bloody Pages Feature Writer: F. Paul Wilson

Interview conducted by David T. Wilbanks

1. What is the best thing about writing a series character like
Repairman Jack?

As with most series, you’re not at square one when you start page one. You’ve got a fleshed-out (we hope) protagonist, an environment, a circle of friends, enemies, contacts. Also you have the chance to indulge in long story arcs that build from book to book. That’s not ideal for a series since it’s probably best, from a selling stance, to have each book stand alone. But I always intended Jack as a series with a direction and a purpose and a conclusion.

2. What is the worst thing?

Finding new ways to describe old characters. Keeping it fresh. Not falling into a formula. I resolved from the git go to make every book different. I’ve involved Jack in medical thrillers, techno thrillers, haunted house tales, yojimbo-type stories, anything to provide variety. This isn’t always met with enthusiasm. There’s a cadre of readers who wanna nutha one juzlike thutha one. Perhaps the worst thing of all is ending it. You hear wails and groans, but if you want this to be a bright spot in your opus vitae, you don’t want to run it into the ground. You want to go out on a high note.

3. Who are some of your favorite fictional characters created by
other authors?

Ready for total lowbrow? In no particular order: Uncle Scrooge, Conan, Bob the Nailer, Fu Manchu, the Continental Op, the Shadow, the Spider, Philip Marlowe, John Carter, the Spirit, Plastic Man, Daddy Warbucks, Dick Tracy…I know I’m forgetting some, but these are all on my bookshelves right now.

4. Who are some of the authors who’ve influenced your own writing?

Isn’t this where most of us say, James, Jackson, Bierce, Blackwood, Proust? Sorry. Can’t do that. As far as style goes, I’ve admired Matheson and Hammett for cleanliness and leanliness. As for content, ready for some schizophenia? Ludlum, Lovecraft, Camus, Howard, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Rohmer, and whoever else I’ve swiped from through the decades.

5. What is the latest F. Paul Wilson movie/TV buzz?

Buzz? More like a whisper. Beacon has screwed up the Repairman Jack film, I’m afraid. I don’t know if it will ever be made. It’s a long, painful story and you can follow it through the years via the movie thread on the website.

6. What is the best advice you¹ve ever received about the writing

None, unfortunately. (Okay, maybe my agent saying, “Why don’t you give this idea about German soldiers occupying a deserted castle in the Transylvanian Alps a shot.”) Mostly I had to learn it all first hand. None of these workshops and boot camps with experienced authors dropping advice right and left was around when I was coming up. I had to stumble my way through. But the most important thing I learned myself that I pass on at every opportunity is that you must write every day. Get those words on paper. Fiddle with them all you want later on, but first get those suckers down.

7. What is the current state of horror fiction?

I don’t pretend to have a comprehensive overview. I know it’s alive and well in the small presses. I think e-publishing will give it a boost as a discrete genre. Horror is always there, creeping about in various guises. I do know it’s thriving with the romance writers and readers. I understand erotic zombie romances are starting to appear. (Rigor mortis confined to one body part? Must we go there?)

8. What are the last five books you¹ve read?

Nobody Move – Denis Johnson
Damnable - Hank Schwaeble
The Book of Lies - Brad Meltzer
Kiss of Life - Dan Waters
The Suspect – John Lescroart

9. What can Wilson readers look forward to in the future?

Repairman Jack #13 (GROUND ZERO) in September. Then the last 2 novels (14 & 15), trade paperbacks of REBORN and REPRISAL followed by a heavily revised NIGHTWORLD. The 2nd and 3rd YA Jack novels. Then a thriller that’s been ductch-ovening for years. I’m considering a 4th YA novel from which I’d like to spin off a contemporary YA series. (I like writing for young readers.) I’d like to do some novels about Jack’s early years in the city, learning the ropes, meeting Julio and Abe, feeling his way toward the Jack of the later novels; these would be compact and noirish, with no supernatural / paranormal elements. I’d also like to go back and write a fat fantasy series about the First Age, where Glaeken and Rasalom first locked horns. (I have to find a way to live long enough to do all this.)

10. What are your five favorite music albums?

(I have to name 10. Except for World party, do we see a trend? A guy suspended in amber from somewhere around the Permian extinction?)
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Rolling Stones Now
Allman Bros Live at Fillmore East
Blonde on Blonde (Dylan)
Can’t Buy a Thrill (Steely Dan)
The Flying Burrito Brothers (the eponymous 3rd album)
Eli and the 13th Confession (Laura Nyro)
Goodbye Jumbo (World Party)
Daydream (Lovin Spoonful)

(F. PAUL WILSON is the award-winning, NY Times bestselling author of more than forty books and nearly 100 short stories spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, and virtually everything between. His work has been translated into twenty-four languages. His latest thrillers, BY THE SWORD and GROUND ZERO, star his urban mercenary, Repairman Jack. JACK: SECRET HISTORIES recently kicked off a young-adult series starring a fourteen-year-old Jack. Paul resides at the Jersey Shore and can be found on the Web at

--David T. Wilbanks

(David T. Wilbanks is the co-author of the DEAD EARTH horror-adventure series (with Mark Justice). The next novel is VENGEANCE ROAD and is scheduled for publication in 2010. Check out

(The Black Glove wants to thank both F. Paul Wilson and David T. Wilbanks for their time and efforts)