Friday, November 14, 2008

G. W. Thomas Interview

Here in a QuasarDragon first, is an interview with author/artist/editor G. W. Thomas. G. W. Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, ezines and print magazines, including Writer's Digest, The Writer and Black October Magazine.

The second issue Dark Worlds Magazine came out recently . Can you tell us a little about the magazine?

Dark Worlds Magazine is a publication dedicated to pure genre. Most magazines specialize in Science Fiction or Horror, for example. DW publishes any kind of genre as long as it has a Pulp feel. The stories are illustrated in a Pulpish style. We wanted to create a magazine that was fun to read and not as lacklustre as most modern magazines. Since we aren’t trying to sell to a specific niche but a specialized market online, we can really indulge in the things that made the old magazines so great. We didn’t want to spend all our time reading through slush piles either. We know a lot of the writers in the small press and we know who we want to read and promote. So I created the Dark Worlds Club, a group of like-minded creators, and a pool of great storytellers and artists for our magazine.

Dark Worlds has very cool illustrations "in the old pulp style." How important is art to Dark Worlds?

The art is equally important as the stories. I am co-editor and illustrator. The other half of the team is M. D. Jackson who writes under the name Jack Mackenzie. We have known each other since high school and have worked on our art and writing for a long time now. Mike does our covers using a computer, a market his reputation is growing in. We invite other artists from the club to illustrate each issue.

I notice that the magazine is for sale at Lulu in both paperback book and download formats. Which format do you expect to be more successful in the long term?

From sales I would say that the paper version is doing better but there are plans to sell e-versions through a distributor like ReneBooks. I’ve been at this ebook thing for over six years now. I think there are markets for both delivery systems. I like reading books on a handheld. I enjoy the artwork more in paper. We don’t plan on going with only one method of sale. As new methods of selling books become available, we’ll try those too.

Where do you hope the magazine will be in five years?

Five years is a long time in the online magazine business. Technology will change everything again by that time. But what I can tell you about is what we are working on right now. We are planning a second magazine called MASTERS OF ADVENTURE which reprints public domain tales in the same spirit as DW. The stories will be illustrated by M. D. Jackson and myself only.

Dark Worlds also has a very good blog, can you tell us a little about that?

The blog is fairly new. For years I have been posting comments on authors in my forum. Eventually I clued in that if I had a blog instead I could use more images. I have to admit it was Quasar Dragon that made me realize this.

You also have a pair of very cool Book Collector stories "Goon Job" and "Merlin's Bane" up at Pseudopod. Can you tell us a little about the series? Are there any more stories currently available or forthcoming in the series?

The Book Collector series has eight finished stories and three or four underway. The first was “Sitting in the Lap of Shubb” written in 2002 and still unpublished. Most of them were written for anthologies I published myself like Amazing Heroes and The Ghostbreakers. “How Deep Is Your Love?” appeared in Double Dragon’s Atrocitas Aqua (2003). In October 2007 “Goon Job” appeared as a podcast at Pseuodpod. Since then the Book Collector’s popularity has increased greatly. I receive at lot of compliments and requests for more stories. My plan is to send Pseuodpod a story every 6 months so people don’t get too tried of the fellow. I am working on writing a Book Collector novel next.

You have been published an amazingly huge number of times. What is the secret of your success?

I guess part of it is working in so many media. I have published stories, non-fiction articles, illustrations, covers, poems and reviews. These add up over time. If you were asking me for advice on this though, I’d say stick to one thing and follow through with it. There’s more money in that. I am a Jack-of-all-trades and you know what they say about being “a master of none”. Still, it’s fun.

Of all the many genres you write in, which do find the most challenging?

The longer I’m at this the less I think in terms of genres. I am primarily known as a horror writer. I don’t think of myself that way. Working with J. F. Gonzalez really got me to see the difference. JFG is great horror writer. His book Survivor is about a pregnant woman who is captured by snuff film makers. Scary stuff. I’d never write a book like that. It doesn’t have any monsters in it. I like monsters (whether horror or fantasy or any combination there of) and I like stories about the people who chase them. My web site is called “Of Men and Monsters” for a reason. You can dress it up as a Mystery or a Western, but it doesn’t really matter. For me, it’s all about the monster.

In terms of challenges I am more interested in First Person versus Third Person narrative. The Book Collector stories are told in a nameless First Person such as Dashiell Hammett made famous. This stuff is fun to write though it is hard. Third Person is easy by comparison because you can go anywhere and show anything. I have to think about this for a long time before I start something new. Which will I use? Which one will make the story stronger?

Do You find any differences in your tastes as a reader versus those as a writer?

Not really. I make a lot of the people around me pretty mad when it comes to reading. My sons will recommend stuff, friends too, but I have very little interest in modern books. I prefer the old stuff from the Internet since public domain has made so many old, great books available again. Where could I have ever found a copy of The Crystal Sceptre by Philip Verrill Mighels? The complete Allan Quatermain? The hundreds of old SF pulp stories by Raymond Z. Gallun, Hal K. Wells, Arthur K. Barnes and Stanley G. Weinbaum, to name a few? Kipling, Doyle, Stevenson, writers you used to find in libraries but less and less so now. I’ve also been able to finish reading the works of the writers I started with: Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. P. Lovecraft. I’m working my way backwards, not forwards.

In the icon you use for your forum comments, you are holding a cute puppy. Can you tell us about it?

The puppy is my dog Oscar, who passed away last year. I use that picture because people always expect horror writers to be Lovecraftian freaks. I enjoy the disparity. I miss him greatly but my bean plants have been a lot safer.

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Rusty said...

Well done! That was a cool interview, and it inspired me to check out the Dark Worlds blog - a great find. Thanks!

Dave Tackett said...

Thanks Rusty! It was a privilege interviewing G.W. Thomas because I really enjoy his writing - similar taste helps.