Pulp Friction

Pulp Friction is a collaborative effort between four friends who believe in telling character-driven stories. We’ve modeled our ideas after the short stories and serialized fiction popularized in the “pulps” from 1896 to 1955. We started in 2013 with a series set in Atlanta, Georgia, and the idea evolved into something much bigger than we could possibly have imagined. In our first year, we wrote four separate but overlapping series, totaling twenty books, plus one explosive finale.

Why Pulp Fiction?

For those unfamiliar with the history of pulp fiction, the popularity of the genre ran from 1896 to approximately 1955, and you can read a history of pulp magazines at the Pulp Magazines Project:

”Originally, a pulp magazine was one that was printed on paper made directly from wood-pulp which rapidly yellows and becomes very brittle leaving a shower of confetti on the reader …

…Another factor that distinguishes the pulps from other magazines was the lack of any bulk advertising. The pulps were produced cheaply and sold cheaply (initially 10 cents, occasionally only five cents, and seldom more than 25 cents, even in the later years) and relied wholly on revenue from sales. Another distinguishing feature is that the pulps ran almost entirely fiction.”

By most estimates, the era of pulp fiction had more American’s reading literature than at any other time during our history. Many of the names are familiar:  Edgar Rice Burroughs, Dashiell Hammett, L. Ron Hubbard and Louis L’Amour, among others.

In today’s climate of instant gratification and nonstop dependence on electronics, consider this fact from an interview with Patrick Scott Belk of the Pulp Magazines Project:

 In 1923, for example, fewer than 30% of American homes even had electricity, much less a radio set. By 1940, this figure was still less than 70%—in the UK, it was even lower, about 35%. In the same period, slick magazines—printed on slick, glossy, good-quality paper—cost $.35 each. In contrast, pulps were…. For the cost of a single movie ticket—about $.10 in 1915—the average pulp offered its readers between 128-196 pages of original fiction per issue, or about a week’s worth of new reading material.

About our Pulp Friction…

All in all, the writer’s agree, keeping the word counts low was a challenge, our characters were not very well-behaved, and wanted to hog page time. Using the mini-mysteries, combined with overlapping characters, settings appearing across the different series, and extending story arcs over several books was a refreshing and fun way to write.

What started as a fun “What if…” conversation in October, 2012 turned into Pulp Friction 2013. The collaboration and discipline necessary to produce twenty-one books in twelve months changed these writers in ways they never could have imagined.

Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, T.A. Webb, and Laura Harner, in their own words:

I’m not at all a social person, and my instinct is usually to say little and listen a lot – kind of like Chance. I hide a lot of myself, probably also like Chance, from a fear of being hurt. When this series started, I had a great deal of respect for Laura and Tom and an already strong bond with Havan, who has proven herself to be as much family as my “born” siblings. As the series grew, and Chance became intricately involved in a quiet way, with his “Brothers by Choice”, I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of my friends and writing partners, and at this moment? I have to say that yes, I’ve learned to open up a little more, and to let in a few more members into my chosen family. I don’t know exactly what playing with Tom, Laura and Havan in Flagstaff will bring- that is after all, part of the beauty of playing “Let’s Pretend”, but writing with them reminds me very strongly of playing with my siblings as a child- rescuing princesses (and princes), conquering new worlds, and exploring new dimensions.

—Lee Brazil

For a girl with the worst luck possible I tend to have some of the best luck also when it comes to writing. When I was a novice and scared to death and almost peeing in my pants I had the great fortune to tumble into a group of phenomenal people called the Story Orgy, friends who turned into family and my biggest supporters. Well—who knew that lightning could indeed strike twice. Laura’s beautiful brain started going into overdrive and she approached Lee and me—because wherever Lee is I’m sure to be close by, thanks to my handy dandy handcuffs *winks*. Pulp Friction sounded like fun…so we jumped in. Who’d have thunk that it would generate some of the best, most loyal fans around…not to mention I’ve completely become infatuated with Laura and Tom, don’t plan to let them go anytime soon. Funny how art imitates life—right? Our boys in Atlanta are as much family as we are, and all is good!

—Havan Fellows

I’ve learned so much from writing with these guys. You have no idea how much energy it takes to make this whole thing work. We talk daily, and discuss the what ifs and the how abouts, and what I personally found was, we all fit together so well. They way we think, the way we write…it’s so similar, but not. Laura is so patient, and I think I picked up some of that. Lee thinks a lot the way I do, but he is so creative and solid. And Havan, she makes sure the fun is there.

We fit.

—Tom Webb

The characters we created have taken over our stories, become good friends—no more than that—they’re family. With that comes the ability to love and to hurt each other in the way only family can. Havan, Lee, Tom and I have grown into that type of family, as well. I really had no idea what this would turn into by the end of our first year together, but I can tell you, I’m grateful to have Havan, Lee, and Tom in my life.  Friends who aren’t afraid to test the limits only come along so often in life.

—Laura Harner

…and for 2014, we’re going to do it all over again. Meet us in Flagstaff, Arizona on January 15, 2014.

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