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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Author William M. Hope Interview

I met William M. Hope on a FB Author Promotion group recently. The cover of his book, THE CITY OF THE DEAD reminded me of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, and I decided to review the book. I soon discovered that Bill Hope was a fan of Howard’s, and based his Thurl the Hyperian mercenary after Conan the Barbarian. As with any new author just starting out it is essential to meet fans, and with that in mind I asked Bill Hope to visit PULP DEN for a few questions. Please welcome William M. Hope to PULP DEN.

Bill: Thanks Tom for the invite.

Tom: Bill, thank you for sitting down with me for this interview on PULP DEN. First, how about telling your fans a little about yourself, your family, and where you live?

Bill:  I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, which is about 30 miles south of Cleveland.  I still live there with my lovely wife Grace.  I have a bachelors degree in History from the University of Akron.  I work as an underwriter for a major insurance company.

Tom: From reading your novel, it is easy to tell you are an intelligent writer, and interested in the Sword & Sorcery Fantasy genre. What made you decide to write THE CITY OF THE DEAD, and what was the particular influence for this story?

Bill:  I grew up with a very indulgent mother in one area—reading.  While other kid’s allowances went towards stuff like the newest toy or whatever I would spend my money on books, to which my mother would go “At least he’s not spending it on junk!” 

Getting back to why I wrote THE CITY OF THE DEAD is that one of my favorite authors of all time is Robert E. Howard, first his Conan stories and then anything and everything I could find of his immense output, going as far as going to the library in those pre internet days of the early 1990s and photocopying his rare stories out of anthologies.

But even though I love Howard I don’t have his fatalistic world-view but somewhat of a more Calvinistic view that people, whether civilized or savage, can be evil or good.  So my Thurl the Hyperian stories are both a homage to REH and a reaction to his mindset.

Tom: That’s interesting.  So how would Thurl relate to compare to Conan if they were adventuring together.

Bill:  (Laughs) Honestly I don’t think they’d get along too well Conan lives for battle, women and ale.  He’s a real fatalistic hedonist where as Thurl’s wanderings aren’t of his own choice and he would have been happier in Hyperia being the village carpenter with a wife and raising kids.   Honestly deep down Thurl is a decent, good man who doesn’t want trouble but if you back him in a corner he’s not going to back down. 

Tom: What other writers influenced you, if any, and whom would you say your writing style most resembles? And are your stories more plot driven or character driven, do you think?

Bill:  Beyond Howard I’m not extremely influenced the other major fantasy writers out there like Tolkien and Morecock.  I tend to be more influenced by historical writers like John Jakes, who people forget wrote sci-fi and fantasy stories like Brak the Barbarian early on in his career.  I would also say Frank Herbert, Ian Fleming, John Steinbeck and George Orwell would be big influences on what style I have.

I would say it’s about equal plot and character driven with the former edging the former out more.  I tend to come up with the plot first and then I’ll come up with interesting nuances to a character at first was just a prop to hang the story on and then they take on a life of their own in the writing.

Tom: Tell us a little about THE CITY OF THE DEAD without giving any spoilers away.

Bill:   One thing I could never be is a blurb writer for anything.  (laughs) but here goes-- Thurl the Hyperian, a wandering mercenary with a regretful past, has found himself; in Samorrah a degenerate city ruled by the wicked Witch Queen Semiramis and her minions, fighting for he and his friend’s lives and more importantly his very soul.

Tom: Besides Sword & Sorcery Fantasy, have you considered writing other genres down the road, and if so, what would they be?

BillI’m extremely interested in historical stories and Westerns.    I love genre bending so I’m actually thinking about a universe where Sword and Sorcery is mixed with Spaghetti Westerns that I’m thinking about calling “Guns and Sorcery” I’m the first to coin that name so if someone beats me to the punch and writes one I get a nickel for it.  (laughs)

Non fiction and anthologies are in my future too.  As a side line to my side line I’ve started a small publishing outfit called Wilgrace Books and I’ve put out an anthology of some of the lesser known REH stories called THE HOUSE OF ARABU AND OTHERS and I’ve hooked up with a great artist named Samuel Dillon who has had illustrations in the Skelos Journal and others and we will be putting out some illustrated versions of classics like DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN and other old horror stories. 

Tom: In your novel, THE CITY OF THE DEAD, we actually follow Thurl the mercenary in his quest to sell a jewel he has come by, but it throws him in with a few mysterious characters along the way.  Do you have a favorites among them?

Bill It’s funny how the bad guys are always the most fun to write and out of everyone Tukoah the tavern keeper is by far my favorite character.  He’s been in my head almost as long as Thurl and he’s deliciously devious.  I cast famous people in my head and when I’m writing him I see a mix of Eli Wallach and Harvey Feinstein with how he interacts with the other characters.

Tom: What do you find to be the most exciting part of the creating process?

BillHow you get happy character surprises in your work.  For example Olstrad the Captain of the guard was neither in the outline nor in the first draft of the story was a generic leader of the troop sent to arrest Thurl but by the third draft he had developed into quite an interesting henchman to a henchman.

Also I love when I put in a little pathos in a story where the character, whether good or bad, shows that they’re a fallible human being. 

Tom: Along the same subject as above, what do you find to be the most difficult area in the creating process?

BillNot being too hard on myself.  I’m my own worst critic and think sometimes that I’m writing the great American novel.  I have a bad tendency to over work a piece and if I don’t just polish something up and then put it out there I can be all George Lucas with my stuff.

Tom: Are you working on a sequel or anything else right now? And if there is a sequel in the works, when do you expect it to be out?

BillRight now I’m working on a Thurl short story which is set a year or so after THE CITY OF THE DEAD that I hope to get off to some magazines soon and as I promised at the end of CITY I have another novella coming out by mid year called THE THING IN THE KEEP which will be a prequel where we meet a younger and more hotheaded Hyperian.   This one will have more of a humorous slant to it but still a lot of action to it.

Tom: Besides family and writing, tell us about any hobbies or community service you may be involved in, and any other activity you would like to mention.

BillI’m involved with my church in various aspects like Bible studies.  I’m a huge film buff so I’m heading up a committee for old time movies in the park this summer and for Halloween I’m in talks with some comedian friends of mine to riff on some old Z grade movies a-la MST3000 for a Halloween festival.

Tom: What advice would you give other aspiring authors hoping to break into the writing field today?

BillGet a thick skin.  Some people are going to say you stink and give you bad reviews just because they’re internet trolls but also not only take constructive criticism but learn from it.   Also get out of your comfort zone—If you think you have a great story don’t be afraid to self publish it and seek out people who have done it before you and have them be a mentor. 

Tom: And most important, where can fans find – and buy - your novel, and do you keep copies on hand for autographs? Please include website and Blogs.

BillYou can find it on Amazon….

CreateSpace eStore:  /react-text

It’s in both paperback and Kindle versions.  Also if you want an autographed copy I’m happy to get one out to you for about the same price.  I’m pretty easy to find on Facebook.

Tom:  And now a question from left field.  If you could, would you choose to live in a parallel universe as one of the people in the worlds you create?

Bill See I think I’d rather see the world I created on the big screen as a movie instead of going to it because it would be my luck I’d run into a certain Hyperian who would probably punch me in the mouth for the pain and suffering I’ve put him through!  (laughs)

Tom: Bill, thank you very much for consenting to this interview.

Bill: Thanks for the invite!

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