Jason Michel’s Pulp Metal Magazine is where I got my first publication, and a few after that. Ever since then, the magazine was close to my heart: its eclectic mix of entertaining stories, fresh ideas, and sometimes very good writing fitting for a ‘full time’ literary magazine rarely disappoints.

Jason is himself a man of many worlds. With influences ranging from Cormac McCarthy to Lovecraft plus a hell of a lot of heavy metal, his writing spans genres and ideas. He has written two cracking books so far: Confessions of a Black Dog, a modern journey and a deep exploration of self and others, unlike anything you might have read before, and The Wrong Mind and other fictions, a collection of gothic horror inspired tales that, while gruesome and never holding back, remain firmly planted within our own human reality.

I ask Jason about his magazine, his writing, and where he sees the future heading for him and other writers who have found a home online. His answers never disappoint, and there’s lots of things new writers, including myself, can learn from his advice.

1:What drove you to create Pulp Metal Magazine?

It was a drunken idea that popped into my head just before last Christmas. I didn’t think there was any mag out there that really mixed all the literature/horror/sci-fi/noir/comic/heavy music/b-movie stuff I was into. It was a very self-indulgent idea.

Anyway, I got in touch with that bloody good-for-nothing rascal P D Brazill (who’s a fucking powerhouse) & asked if he wanted to be involved. He did.

& the rest is a sorry tale …

2:Can you tell me about your process? Do you start with a sentence or an idea? Can you see the whole story initially or is writing for you like walking through the dark? What gets you going and keeps you writing?

Jesus, it’s all of the above.

I enjoy experimenting with style & methods. It’s play, a game, a puzzle. There is no answer just an ongoing process.

With my novel, Confessions Of A Black Dog, there were loads of things going on in my head that went into the writing. Dreams, experimenting with layout, research, drawings, real life & death.

I thought I knew how it would end but there hit a point where it began to write itself in a very real sense. Translating a bombardment of images into words that were, hopefully, interesting to read.

3:Your magazine urges its potential contributors to make their writing, above all, fun and not pompous. Can you elaborate on this, especially reflecting on today’s online creative environment?

We’re story tellers aren’t we?

Not some counter-cultural gurus. Not political activists. Not (A)rtists.

Doesn’t mean that our stories won’t give people something to feel something, think about, to mull or puzzle over. But really. I get up for work every weekday, y’know?

You need a fucking sense of humour & a step back to realise that it is only language & that is the most mercurial thing of all.

Which is why I don’t have poems in my mag. Poets are, in general, a preposterous lot. Give me an honest disgruntled hack any day of the week.

To quote the mighty Maximus – ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

4:You have listed a wide variety of interests and influences, from music to film to paintings. How do these, sometimes varied and contrasting media, influence your own writing?

There are many facets to everybody that do jar with other parts of who we think we are. As we are nothing more than a very flawed process. It’s a constant struggle for some kind of breakthrough. As Heraclitus said “War is the father of all”.

Genre is something that is dismissed by the intelligentsia & lit-snobs as some form of lesser writing & yes, there are a lot of “bad” writers out there, but when it’s done properly & with intelligence & soul it transcends all of those barriers of mere taste. It’s usually the middle-classes sneering at the proles, as usual. I consider Crime & Punishment & The Brothers Karamazov to be exemplary instances of crime writing.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be discriminatory. Discrimination is of the utmost important to one’s judgement of the world around you. Otherwise you’ll turn into a mall sucking slug glugging 2% beer while staring through panes of glass at all the latest fashions. & you’d deserve it too.

5:You’ve self published The Wrong Mind and other fictions on Lulu. What are your views on traditional big print publishers and where we’re heading in the future with Ebooks?

Whoa there! Let me just polish my crystal balls!

I think we have to look at the big picture & not just at individual sectors.

Trad media is slowly learning that it has to diversify or die. But hey, that’s capitalism for you. (Unless you’re a bank, of course).

I saw that Old Prune Face, Hillary Clinton, said the other day that mainstream news channels were losing the “information war” to newer channels like Al Jazeera & Russia Today.

All this seems to show that in the wake of the information revolution the media is fragmenting & atomising along with the rest of society. Yet, at the same time there are these huge facile & tawdry media events that seem to engulf people’s lives.

I don’t think people are going to be able to make any money from writing or from music in the near future, the basest circus-masters notwithstanding. It is the age of Simon Cowell.

But maybe that’ll inspire more ideas as the money factor is taken away from the equation.

I haven’t really answered your question there, have I?

6:What do you think about writers using Myspace and Facebook to promote their works? How important is it for you to have a strong web presence?

The only responsibility to maintain any kind of presence I have is to the writers who send me their stories/ideas. The writers who I’ve become acquainted with because of the net are a thoroughly loyal bunch to a man(& woman). These people rally behind you, they really do.

I try my best but, to be honest, the net is depressing me more & more. That fear of constantly keeping up with things is a right pain in the arse & I’m far too idle for that.

I’m quite anti-social & the idea of having hundreds of “friends” just makes me queasy. They should have something called “passing acquaintance-book”.

The democratising of creativity could well be its momentary death knell.

I happen to think that the greatest writer in the world is lurking somewhere in a room somewhere & that no-one will ever read his work (certainly not in his lifetime).

A greater part is timing & circumstance & don’t let anybody tell you anything different.

7:Where do you see yourself and your writing in five years’ time? Any plans for another novel?

I believe Danny Hogan’s mighty Pulp Press is publishing, Bad Eye, a novella of mine that I wrote after COABD. It’s a pulpy dystopian revenge story. All good fun.
I’m also 35,000 words or so into a surreal noir story – Death Street.
Who knows how the bejimminy that’ll pan out.
I tend to see myself as a variety of different people depending on environmental & internal situations so who knows who I’ll be in five years time.

I’ll generally be avoiding the men with butterfly nets until then.

Jason, I want to thank you for your time and all the best to you