Though busy weaving yet-to-be-published literary adventures, bledsoep was kind enough to talk with us about his writing background, the Scarlet Saint series, and his recent win!
HubPages: Could you tell us a bit about your writing background? Do you write many short stories?
bledsoep: I’ve always written stories for my own enjoyment. A few years ago I had the good luck to meet Wayne Skiver who published my first story with Wild Cat Books (which is now sadly out-of-print). At the time I was also in correspondence with Gregg Taylor at Decoder Ring Theatre, and I asked him if he’d read the first draft of my story for Wild Cat and tell me what he thought. He liked it well enough to ask me to do a couple podcast scripts. Those two opportunities got me started. I write a mixture of short stories, podcast scripts (which are in the style of old-time radio), and comic book stories.
Where do you find inspiration as a writer? What inspired the Scarlet Saint series and its characters?
My greatest inspiration has always come from the great fictional stories I’ve read that have helped me escape reality for a short time when I needed it most: the adventure stories of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, and the comic book creations of Jack Kirby and Alan Moore.
As for the Scarlet Saint, he started out as my attempt to re-create a classic adventure hero from the pulp magazines of the 1930s and mix in a little bit of every character I’ve ever loved, from Sherlock Holmes to the Lone Ranger to Batman to Indiana Jones to Captain America to Boba Fett and then some. Then I took this ultimate pastiche of my childhood heroes and dropped him into a world of supernatural horror that’s equal parts George Romero, David Cronenberg, Clive Barker and anything else I could think of. I love swashbuckling, devil-may-care heroes but I think they’re at their best when they’re fighting impossible odds and can’t possibly hope to win.
How did you find out about the award? Were you surprised?
I knew about the Pulp Ark Awards from Facebook, and I had signed up for a ballot so that I could nominate Gregg Taylor’s Red Panda novel The Android Assassins. I actually made a joke about Gregg being lucky that I wasn’t competing with him because I didn’t think that the Scarlet Saint qualified for the awards, since it was in a non-print medium. I found out from Tommy Hancock at Pro Se Productions (the organizer of the awards) that I did qualify, but I didn’t know if anyone actually nominated me. I was very surprised when I got the e-mail that I’d won in the wee hours of the morning on March first, because the awards ceremony isn’t until May and I don’t think anyone realized the winners would be announced yet! It was a big, but very welcome surprise to me.
Do you intend to publish the Scarlet Saint series in print at some point?
I would like to see Darwin (the Scarlet Saint) in print form someday. I know a few independent publishers who would probably be willing to do it if I asked really nicely, but I’ve been planning on keeping the character in the online-only format for now, or at least until I have quite a bit more material on him. If I could get him printed, I’d like to have enough stories written for two or three novellas that could be published seperately or as a full-sized compilation.
What are your HubPages – and general writing – ambitions for the future?
Hubpages had been a great platform for me to try out different things. It really help keep my creative juices flowing, just to be able to jump on and type out something whenever I feel like it. I always plan more movie and book reviews that I don’t seem to find time to write. I’m working on the final chapter of the Scarlet Saint’s current story The World Will Die Screaming which will build on Darwin’s ongoing backstory and hopefully see him defeat the evil mastermind he’s been chasing through the Carpathian Mountains. I have ideas for two other Saint stories: one will see him back in his home base, the city of Elysian Greens, where we’ll see more of his personal life and his dysfunction relationship with the city that made him what he is and which he has sworn to protect, and then a second one that I’m tentatively calling The Scarlet Saint Saves Christmas.
I’ve also got a story coming out in Pete Hernandez’s excellent online comic “Company Man” (Pete’s the guy who did the illustration of the Saint for my stories), I’m hoping to do more podcast episodes of my western hero Blaze Bing the Rodeo King for Decoder Ring Theatre, and I’ve recently started working with some terrific creative guys at a new outfit called Infinity Comics Group; we should have our first anthology “Hero Chronicles” coming out this spring, followed shortly by “Tales of Danger” where you’ll get to see my new super-hero the Human Horror. I’m pretty stoked about it.
[Congratulations, bledsoep, and thanks for chatting with us!]