Hey folks, just a reminder that June 1 is coming soon, and that's the deadline to send me your pitch to option one of my short stories to make a feature film. And by "pitch" I simply mean your plan. Are you going to write a script? Are there producers you know personally that you want in on the project? Do you plan to borrow you mom's old camcorder and film it in your basement. The contest is open to anyone and you can find details in my original post.
Why am I doing this? Because surprisingly often filmmakers or would-be filmmakers contact me about optioning one of my novels but don't really have the money to make it happen. (My most popular novels are already optioned anyway.) So I find myself saying "no" a lot. Offering my short stories for the contest is a way to say "yes."
If everyone who has sent questions about the particulars and parameters of the contest actually follows through with an entry, I think we'll have a goodly number of participants.
Everyone need to get online and order Deadpool: Suicide Kings (which I loved) and Luke Cage Noir (which I plan to love soon) by cool writer-guy type Mike Benson. Mike was nice enough to answer some questions.
1. The obligatory crap: Give us a rundown on your work for Marvel and Television.
MB: My first TV gig was for a show called Local Heroes on Fox. It lasted all of four episodes. From there my writing partner, Marc Abrams and I bounced around from show to show until we landed an episode of Just Shoot Me. From there we worked on a few more canceled shows until finally landing on The Bernie Mac Show, which became our home. Marc and I worked on Bernie for five years climbing the ranks and eventually becoming head writers. After Bernie Mac we went over to Entourage for twenty-five episodes and eventually landed an overall deal. Currently we have a pilot at Fox and at HBO. At Marvel my buddy Adam Glass and I are working on a Cage book and a Deadpool Noir mini series. Can’t really say much more about them at this time. We also have a creator owned book called Monster at Oni Press that we’re about to write.
2 What's the work your most proud of and/or what the work you've done you wish more people knew about?
MB: My Punisher Max one-shot called The Haunted and my Wolverine one-shot Chop Shop are two books that came out well. I’m also proud of my work on Moon Knight. That was a project of love. Deadpool Suicide Kings probably was my most popular work. I wish more people sampled Luke Cage Noir because we got a lot of good feedback from that little book.
3.What the thing you're embarrassed to admit you most love to eat? Pickled eggs? Shamrock shakes?
MB: Hmm. Most embarrassing would be pickled herring. Also there these Mexican lollypops only found at select gas stations deep in the San Fernando Valley. I pretty much keep that to myself too.
4 Your perfect romantic vacation ... and then your perfect getaway with the guys?
MB: My wife and I love going to Kauai. We stay at the Kea Lani Hotel. It’s an absolutely gorgeous place to chillax. We also love Cabo San Lucas and stay at the Palmilla among other places. Cabo is much closer and we find good deals so we go there more often.
5.What sport do you wish you were really good at?
Basketball. Golf. I suck at both.
6. Cake or pie?
Cake. But Crème brulee over cake. You really should have custard as an option.
7. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
MB: Like many kids I wanted to play pro baseball. Then I came to my senses and thought about being a Vet. Then I briefly thought about joining Van Halen. Professional kick-boxer was a viable vocation.
8. Did you "learn" to write via university classes, etc. or are you just flying on natural talent?
MB: I took some creative writing classes at Syracuse. I also took a few script-writing classes like Robert McKee, but I’m pretty much self-taught. Mostly through tons of reading and actually rolling up my sleeves and writing spec scripts. That’s the only way one becomes a real writer.
9. Who should we be reading?
MB: I’m all over the place in who and what I enjoy. I love Michael Chabon, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen Hunter, Russell Banks, Charlie Huston. Right now I’m reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith and really enjoying it. Comics wise: I bought Ed Brubaker’s Criminal hardcover collection, which I love. Scalped by Jason Aaron is a very good comic and Garth Ennis’ The Boys.
10. What's the most physical pain you've ever been in?
MB: Two years ago I tore my ACL in a martial arts tournament. I was sparring when I hyper extended my leg on a mat and actually heard it go pop. I finished out the fight but it hurt like a mother.
11. If you could punch somebody in the nose, who would it be?
I promise there really is a novel called THE DEPUTY, and I really did write it. We suspect copies of the novel are getting "into the system" a bit more slowly than expected. But hang in there. They're coming. Thanks to all who have (and will) order copies!
At long last, THE DEPUTY -- my happy return to crime fiction -- hits stores today. As it happens, this event coincides more or less with the release of the Italian edition of THE PISTOL POETS from my pals at the hip Italian publishing house Meridiano Zero. Since these books are coming out at the same time but a world apart, I can't help but make some comparisons.
My friend Matteo (in charge of my publicity at Meridiano Zero) tells me newspapers and magazines are already talking me up in Italy and that I can expect more press in the next few weeks as my trip to Italy approaches in May. I love Italian readers, love the way they're welcoming my novels, and I can't wait for my trip. It's nice to write a book and have newspapers and magazines take notice.
Too bad I can't expect that to happen in the good old United States. I mean it might happen ... I'm just not holding my breath. This is not a bitter complaint, nor is it self-pity. It's just a simple recognition of reality. Shrinking column inches is one problem. Being a mid-list author in a sea of mid-list authors is another.
So a writer-type like me must simply get with the times. I'm grateful as hell for the folks who have recently interviewed me or reviewed THE DEPUTY on blogs and websites. I'm afraid if I start posting links, I'll leave somebody out, so please fill up the comments section with links. That would be cool. Also I'm lazy.
I strongly support your choice to purchase your copy of THE DEPUTY any way that seems good to you. So many wonderful people at those indy bookstores out there. (Although nobody has ever treated me shabby at a chain.) But there is a time honored tradition of driving folks to Amazon.com on release day to see if we can budge that rank number, so sure, let's try it. I am grateful as hell for all of you that have ordered the book already. For the rest of you, well, today is the day! If you've been on the fence or have just been waiting for the mood to hit you just right, then I hope now is the time. Please order your copy of THE DEPUTYright here.