Saturday 20 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: NEW PULP PRESS interviews NEW PULP PRESS

I was lucky enough to be part of a review team working on

Best American Noir Of The Century over at the wonderful Spinetingler and think it's well worth the visit just for the quality of the reviews alone. Check it out.

And for today, New Pulp Press is a name to be reckoned with. Their output is right up my street and probably right up yours given that you're here.

It's certainly one of the places my novel will be headed as soon as it's baked well enough to be seen. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that they have a list of outstanding titles that most writers at my level would be proud to stand alongside. Another is that they're one of the few publishers for whom you don't have to jump through hoops for to have access to them (I'm sure this is a policy that's paying off for them, so let's hope it continues). A thirdly is that, from what I know of them, they have an ethos that I can buy into completely.

I'm really pleased they're here.

Yesterday we heard from Heath Lowrance, one of their stable. Let's find out why we should be supporting them by buying their books.

New Pulp Press ladies and gentlemen. Let's hear it.

I must admit, heading into my interview with media mogul and New Pulp Press owner Jon Bassoff I was more than a little intimidated. I had heard many things about him, very few of these things good. I had heard about his snake collection, his ex-wives, and his criminal record. His safe room, his bowling trophies, his quick temper. But upon meeting him, my fears were immediately put to rest. The warm smile never left his face and he showed a curious longing for human contact. In fact, as I attempted to leave the interview, I was delayed and embraced for a good 40 minutes. Following are excerpts of my interview with this somewhat enigmatic character.

Q: Most of the books New Pulp Press frankly are a bit jarring. What created this apparent obsession with murder and incest?

A: It’s strange, but most people assume that I’m a damaged person because of the books we put out. Not at all. My childhood was rather pristine. Weekends in the Hamptons, vacations in Beirut. I suppose this literature is some sort of compensation for the lack of darkness in my own life. Although I have been told that I had a great uncle who skulked around killing the first born sheep in every farm in his little Ohio town.

Q: Really? Is that true?

A: It’s what I’ve been told, yes.

Q: You’ve always been known as a daring person in regard to fashion. For example, the look you have now. Whale skin jacket and overalls. A thin pink tie.

A: Fashion sense is something that has always come naturally to me. I don’t really think about it, actually, it just happens organically. When I was in France for the book release party of Rabid Child, one fellow described me this way: Il est un cannarde. I’m not sure of the exact translation, but I believe it means: He is quite daring! Yes, daring indeed.

Q: Who are some authors who influence what New Pulp Press is all about?

A: Other than Danielle Steele? Here’s a short list: Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Albert Camus, Patrick McCabe, Georges Simenon, Charles Willeford, Patricia Highsmith, Dashiell Hammett, Chester Himes . . .

Q: What makes New Pulp Press a unique publisher?

A: Well for one thing, we offer some of the smallest advances on the market. Jonathan Woods spent his entire advance one afternoon at a zoo carousel. We are also unique in the type of books we put out—each one of our books has been banned in Amsterdam. When I read submissions, I skim through the first five pages. If no character has been dismembered or skinned alive, I use the manuscript as cage liner for my parakeets Chi Chi and Evander.

Q: What would be the perfect day for you?

A: My mistress and me on the open highway in a souped-up Yugo with a sawed off shotgun on my lap and John Tesh playing in the tape deck.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of running a small publishing company?

A: I’m not gonna complain about anything involving New Pulp Press. The whole experience has been so rewarding. Except for working with the authors. Goddamn fragile egos. And the reviewers. Wouldn’t know a classic novel if it stood up and pissed in their coffee. And the limited distribution. And dealing with all the returns from bookstores. And the constant complaints from readers about the lack of editorial quality in our novels. And the deranged groupies who sit outside my house with rocks and gun powder and antique typewriters. Come to think of it, the whole experience has been a nightmare. I don’t recommend anybody getting into this God-forsaken business.

Q: What are your politics?

A: My president is Charlton Heston. (Pulls out a NRA membership card). He’s the only authority I listen to.

Q: Didn’t he pass away a few years ago?

A: No, that was the fellow from Dirty Dancing. Kurt Russell.

Q: Any new titles coming out from New Pulp Press?

A: In October we released a new book from Dave Zeltserman and a reissue from Gil Brewer. In January we’re putting out a book called The Science of Paul from this fellow named Aaron Philp Clark. My people have told me it’s one of the finest books we’ve put out. I trust my people, Chi Chi and Evander. Then in April we’re putting out a strange book by a strange man. It’s called The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance. It involves a preacher who has a hefty appetite for liquor and whores. It’s our first family friendly book.

Q: There have been some interesting rumors about one of your authors, Nate Flexer. One of these rumors is that you and he are the same person.

A: I won’t comment on those rumors other to say that they’re blatantly false. I first met Nate six years ago in a strip club. He was working as a cocktail waiter. He handed me a manuscript which appeared to be nothing more than chicken scratches on a legal pad. The first few times I read The Disassembled Man, I didn’t care for it. He then mentioned that he had some knowledge regarding my relationship with a certain circus performer in Las Cruces. He said that if I didn’t put his book into print he would reveal the unsavory details of this relationship. On the next read I realized what a masterpiece the novel was and what a brilliant writer Flexer was. The book was released the following month.

Q: Any final piece of advice you want to impart?

A: Never trust a one-armed hooker named Darling. Trust me. She’s no darling.

Visit New Pulp Press on the web at


  1. Great fun. In the words of Jimmy Callaway:"You ain't seen nothing until you've sen a one armed man shrug'.

  2. Love it. Sign me up for every single book now, and a date with Evander

  3. Great stuff ... so is their catalogue and that Kostoff fella ... and Hi, Donna! But we can't see your shoes! Next shot, hold them up ...

  4. And to think... I signed a blood contract with this guy. What was I thinking?!

  5. You should hear the things that Flexer guy says about Jon behind his back. It's disgraceful.