Monday, October 21, 2013


Today, The Free Choice E-zine welcomes JIM BEARD, one of the creators behind Monster Earth; a book this blog previously reviewed (and liked), to discuss his forthcoming projects.
So Jim, besides the next volume in that series, what else do readers have to look forward to?

The author, hard at work
JIM: I just submitted SGT. JANUS RETURNS, the sequel to last year’s SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER. If all goes well, we’re hoping to have it out later this year, from Airship 27 Productions. Actually, to say it’s a sequel isn’t exactly right. This book is really the second half a larger story that began in the first book. At the end of SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER something happened to the intrepid Sgt. Janus, a late-Edwardian ghost-hunter, and the new book details the path to his return to active duty.

TFCE: So how did you make a sequel not a sequel, let alone your character stand out from others in his field?
JIM: Sgt. Janus was created as my ode to all the great occult detectives in the very early Twentieth Century pulps, most especially William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Janus is cut from the same peculiar cloth; a tireless man who sets himself between the supernatural and the normal people vexed by it. My twist to the genre is that in the first volume, SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER is made up of eight short tales, each one told by a different narrator – Janus’ clients. The man himself is somewhat mysterious and each of his clients sees him in a different light and offers their own opinions on who Janus is and what he does…valiantly breaking the ties that hold the spirits of the dead to the Earth.
SGT. JANUS RETURNS is also constructed out of eight stories, but this time with a single narrator, a young lay about jazz admirer who stumbles into the company of a very strange person who may or may not bring about the good sergeant’s return. The stories are really more like chapters of a novel, the entire book threaded through with connective tissue between tales.

Cover art by Jeff Herdon
TFCE: You’ve referenced classic pulps, while the SGT. JANUS series is published under the “New Pulp” banner. Just what is New Pulp to you?
JIM: New Pulp, to me, is an opportunity to honor the past while creating the adventure fiction of the future. What I love about it is its scope – Pulp, regardless of when it is written or published, can encompass all genres – and with that in mind I try to craft projects that stretch out and invite all sorts of readers into our clutches.

TFCE: So, what lures you to the keyboard to write?
JIM: I write what I myself am interested in, or things that I won’t know if I’m interested in until I try them. One of my most favorite things to do is to take different building blocks and assemble them into new combinations while still honoring those incredible pulp writers who came before me.

TFCE: But what piques that interest and creates inspiration?
JIM: I suppose it’s a cliché to say that everything inspires me in my writing, but it tends to be true. One of the most incredible things that can happen to me as a writer is when I come upon something while reading or watching TV or surfing the net that launches me on some new flight of fancy. Ideas can literally come from anywhere at any time…I’ve been very lucky in that my inspiration seems to be flowing along quite nicely these days. If anything, I probably have too many ideas!

TFCE: And the inspiration that made you pursue an interest in writing was…?
JIM: Lester Dent. While I love so many of the Classic Pulp scribes, its Dent’s sparse prose and way with a catchy phrase that always entertains me every time I crack a Doc Savage novel. I passed my Airship 27 writing test because I channeled a bit of Lester in it…

TFCE: You’ve had quite an interesting career so far. Besides the aforementioned Monster Earth series, you’ve originated the Monster Aces anthology series, contributed to the Presidential Pulp, , and Black Bat anthologies; wrote the first straight prose Captain Action novel (Riddle of the Glowing Men), and have even dabbled in comics via a Ghostbusters anthology and a tribute to James Dean. With all that, do you have such a thing as a “dream” project?
JIM: I don’t know if this is odd or what, but many of my dream projects involve licensed characters and properties. My Number One Dream Project is to write an official Batman novel based on the 1966 TV series – in grand pulp style. That would be a perfect companion book to the work I did on Gotham City: 14 Miles, 14 Essays on WHY the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters. After that, I’d like to write new stories of the G.I. Joe Adventure Team, Planet of the Apes, the Justice Society of America…and a whole host of others. I can dream, can’t I?

TFCE: Sounds like you’re going to be very close to your keyboard for a while. Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
JIM: I’m going to be experimenting with some self-publishing as Flinch! Books, and I also have an idea for a shared fantasy realm that readers will be able to access through a series of online stories. Beyond that, I’d like to continue creating new anthology concepts for the existing pulp publishers and keeping my eye out for that one cool idea that will make one helluva pulp novel. I also want to keep writing Sgt. Janus books.

TFCE: Considering all you have done and plan to do, is there any aspect of writing you will not attempt?
JIM: Hmm, I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me what fiction genres I DON’T like or would never write before…if they did, I’m not sure how I’d answer that. Like I said, I want to try my hand at every conceivable genre to see what I feel I’m good at. I may say now that Westerns don’t light a fire underneath me, for example, but I’ve yet to try writing one. Same with sport stories. I’ll try anything once, except maybe erotica!

TFCE: So, to quickly recap; besides the next SGT. JANUS book, Jim Beard fans should also be on the look out for…?
JIM: The upcoming second volume of my MONSTER ACES with Pro Se Press, MONSTER EARTH 2 with Mechanoid Press, and CAPTAIN ACTION 2 with Airship 27. I’m also especially thrilled about another anthology I created for Pro Se called THE LEMON HERBERTS, concerning a 1960s musical group’s adventures around the world – look for that one early in 2014.

TFCE: Well, we better let you get back to work before we put you behind schedule.
JIM: Probably. But I enjoyed the chat.
TFCE: Any time.

Jim Beard's Sgt. Janus Blog  can be read at-
while his work and Amazon author's page are accessible at -

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