THE REVIEW: “Oh boy, this character, Dillon, needs to be explored on the big screen as I see an untapped franchise that wholly threatens the likes of the James Bond film series and the new goliath—The Fast and the Furious.” —A.K. Kuykendall
AUTHOR BIO – DERRICK FERGUSON
My name is Derrick Ferguson and I'm from Brooklyn, New York where I have lived for most of my still young life. Been married for 28 years to the wonderful Patricia Cabbagestalk-Ferguson who lets me get away with far more than is good for me.
I'm also a rotating co-host of the PULPED! podcast along with Tommy Hancock, Ron Fortier and Barry Reese where we interview writers of the New Pulp Movement as well as discuss the various themes, topics, ebb and flow of what New Pulp is and why you should be reading it.
Okay, that covers the basics.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Which is, as all right thinking people know, The Center of The Known Universe. After spending many years working in the security field for a variety of employers including The NY Board of Education and Home Depot I retired early due to health issues. I still live in Brooklyn with my beautiful and supportive wife Patricia Cabbagestalk-Ferguson but we’re making plans to relocate to Jacksonville, Florida in the next couple of years. I’ve had quite enough of these New York winters, thank you very much and it’s simply getting too damn expensive to live here. It’s quite insane.
I wish I had all sorts of fascinating and interesting tidbits to tell you about myself but the fact is I’ve led a pretty pedestrian and undistinguished kinda life. The most interesting thing about me is the stuff I write. Seriously. I wouldn’t lie to you.
2. At what point in your life, did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Back when I was in the 6th grade I used to write these wild Edgar Rice Burroughs influenced stories using my classmates as characters. I’d write a ‘chapter’ and then it would get passed around the room so that everybody could read it (even the teacher!) and usually by then I’d have the next ‘chapter’ done. I also was infatuated with Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” for some bizarre reason and wrote story after story about them. I made up some weird convoluted backstory for them that they were twins separated at birth. One was raised in a ‘good’ country and the other one in an ‘evil’ country. It was my first fan fiction.
I don’t think I actually ‘decided’ to be a writer until my mid-teens. I kept on bugging my father for a typewriter and that’s when I felt like I really wanted to be a writer.
3. What are your most memorable or proudest moments in your writing career?
An art teacher working at the Renzi Education and Arts Center in Louisiana read my YA novel “Young Dillon In The Halls of Shamballah” and asked me if I would send some copies to him for their library as he thought it would be wonderful reading for the young black male students. I did indeed send him three copies and he sent me back a picture of one of his students reading my book.
At the moment I saw that picture I felt a tremendous pride and feeling of gratitude. I grew up reading characters like James Bond, Doc Savage, The Avenger and The Shadow and as a youth I wondered why there were no black heroes like them. One of the reasons I write what I write is that I wanted to fill in a hole I had been seeing for years. And if something that I wrote can instill a young black man with satisfaction that he has an action adventure hero that he can read, enjoy and get excited about, I’m satisfied. As I said to my wife when I showed her the picture: “That’s what it’s all about.”
4. Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
In Florida, staying warm all year ‘round.
Oh, you mean in terms of my writing? I see myself as still writing books, short stories and movie reviews and enjoying myself doing it. I’d like to be writing screenplays by that time. But I have to stop being so lazy and take a proper screenwriting course. I sometimes think I’m actually a frustrated film director.
5. What advice do you wish you’d been given before starting your career in writing?
You can’t keep it unless you give it away.
6. Tell us about the books you’ve written so far, and your plans for any future books?
Most of the books I have written feature who I’ve been told told is my most popular character. Dillon is a swashbuckling adventurer who travels around the world going about the business of being a professional nemesis of evil. As such he foils the nefarious plots of world-conquering supervillains, does battle with fiendish master criminals, seduces and is seduced by femme fatales, escapes various fates worse than death and generally has a lot of fun saving the world. So far Dillon has appeared in five novels, two novellas (available as ebooks) and one short story collection.
I’ve also written five short stories in the weird western genre about a gunslinger named Sebastian Red that take place in an alternate Wild West where werewolves, demons and magic are as commonplace as cactus and buffalo. Imagine if Karl Edward Wagner and Sergio Leone had ever teamed up on a western and you’ll get the idea.
Fortune McCall has only appeared in one book but I’m in the process of writing the second now. He’s an African prince who figures that since there’s seven brothers in line for the throne of the North African kingdom that is his home, he’s never going to be king. So he constructs a huge cruise ship that’s a combination casino/nightclub/restaurant and decides to sail around the world having adventures. The stories take place in the 1930s in a fictional American city named Sovereign.
7. Is there any part of your career, you find particularly challenging?
At this time it would no doubt be marketing and promotion. I’ll be honest with you; it’s all black magic to me. There are writers I know who have it down to a science with graphs and charts and formulas and equations and demographic breakdowns and all that jazz. And they have great advice for me as to how I can increase my fan base and maximize my reader growth potential and yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.
And it’s stuff that I should be doing. I know it. I can feel it. But I’d rather be writing. I suppose I don’t take writing as a business as seriously as I should. And I suppose that is something I’ll have to sit down and really make a decision about.
8. Who do you feel, has supported you most, in your writing?
First and foremost is my wife, Patricia. If you’re going to be a writer and that’s going to be your work, you job then you need to have a spouse that understands that from time to time you need isolation to pay attention to the voices and scenes playing on your Mental Movie Screen. I couldn’t do what I do without my wife being as understanding as she is.
9. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
I’m deeply grateful to anybody who takes money out of their wallet and time out their lives to read something I write and I cannot thank them enough for their faith in my ability to entertain them. Time is the most valuable coin that we have and I do not take it lightly that somebody is spending that precious coin that they will never get back with my words and my characters.
That’s why I don’t get bent out of shape about bad reviews and I consider it tremendously arrogant of writers to get mad at readers who give them a bad review. Don’t you realize that man or woman could have spent that time watching a movie or hanging out with friends in the park or reading somebody else’s book? But they choose to read your book. Far as I’m concerned, that entitles them to say whatever they like about my book.
To sum up: THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have read anything I’ve written and I hope to be able to continue to entertain you in future books and for years to come.
10. Where can we find out more about you and your books?
I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter like everybody else these days. I have a personal Facebook page and if you send me a friend request there, that’s more than cool. But I have a Facebook group: Usimi Dero https://www.facebook.com/groups/usimidero/ that you may want to join as that one is more geared toward my writing. We also get into discussions about movies, comic books, science fiction, our favorite television shows. It’s freewheeling, looser and a lot of fun.
Dillon has his own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/268159496662693/ and his own blog as well: https://derrickferguson1.wordpress.com/ between the two of them you can stay up to date on everything going with him. There’s also a truckload of background information, articles and essays that will enrich your enjoyment of the books if you do decide to dive into them.
Blood & Ink is the blog where I talk about all my other works and there’s also some book reviews and around thirty interviews I’ve done with writers of science fiction, New Pulp, action adventure, horror and fantasy. And you can find Blood & Ink here: http://dlferguson-bloodandink.blogspot.com/
And finally for you movie fans reading this interview, there’s The Ferguson Theater, my movie review blog. Currently I’ve got around four hundred movie reviews up there. Go on over. I guarantee that I’ve already reviewed one of your favorites and if I haven’t, let me know and I’ll get right on it. You can find The Ferguson Theater here: https://derricklferguson.wordpress.com/
Whew. I think that’s more than enough, don’t you?
11. Tell us a little about your book.
Which one? Okay, let’s pick the one that started it all for me “Dillon and The Voice of Odin” Dillon is hired to recover an object from an ocean liner that has been lost for sixty years. The ocean liner has been found and brought to London. In the course of recovering this object, the ocean liner is blown up and Dillon finds himself on the run, chased by Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the agents of Odin.
Odin is a technological terrorist in possession of a weapon that isolates and destroys by means of vibratory wave patterns. It’s a race against time as Dillon takes it upon himself to hunt down and stop Odin before he destroys the world with his weapon.
12. What were you attempting to convey in the artistry of your book cover?
I can’t take any credit for that cover. It’s the concept and work of Sean E. Ali, a phenomenal creative talent who is the Director of Art and Design for Pro Se Productions.
13. What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to write a fast-paced action adventure where the hero is constantly on the run, bopping around the globe chasing the villain and being chased in turn by a veritable hoard of antagonists. It’s the print equivalent of a 1930s Saturday morning cliffhanger as just about every chapter ends with Dillon in dire peril.
14. Are the character profiles based on people you know or are they completely drawn from your imagination?
All my characters are based on characters I’ve read about, characters in movies, TV and comics books. To that I add in characteristics of people I know.
15. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh, absolutely not. The only thing I may borrow from real life is a story somebody told me about something that happened to them or somebody they know and then I blow it up until it’s ten sizes bigger but that’s about it.
16. Which part of the book, in your opinion, was the most difficult to write?
Beginnings are always tough for me. Mainly because I tend to start before the beginning, if that makes any sense. I’ll get thirty, forty pages in and then the lightbulb will go off and I’ll realize that here is where the story should actually start. I don’t throw away those pages, though. They end up getting recycled back into the story I’m working on.
17. What parts of the book do you love, in particular?
I’ve gotten a reputation among my peers of being a master at writing action scenes but I actually prefer the “Aha!” moments that reveal something about a character that takes even me by surprise. That’s when I know the story has really got some heat and the characters are working with me.
18. Tell us about the cover design of your book.
Again, you’d have to go ask Sean E. Ali about that. He’s got a Facebook page and you can go on over to http://prose-press.com/sean-e-ali-staffartist to learn more about him. I heartily recommend that you do so.
19. Which ways have you chosen to market your book?
My pitiful efforts at marketing are so sad and depressing I’d rather not go into them. Let’s keep this light and upbeat, okay?
20. If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you’d change?
I would probably take some courses in business administration and marketing and mapped out a five-year plan like I was supposed to in the first place.
21. Where can we find out more or buy the book?
All my books are available on Amazon.
22. What are the titles of your books?
A complete list of all my novels and the anthologies I have short stories in can be found here: http://dlferguson-bloodandink.blogspot.com/p/also-by-derrick-ferguson.html
23. Who is your favourite author?
That would be a really long list as I can’t narrow it down to just one. How’s about I just give you the dirty dozen of the authors I love the most and who I feel have influenced me the most. Here we go: George C. Chesbro. Charles Saunders. Lester Dent. Robert R. McCammon. Larry McMurtry. Ian Fleming. Jim Steranko. Mike Resnick. Ismael Reed. Roger Zelazny. Chester Himes. Robert E. Howard.
24. Worst book you have ever read?
I honestly couldn’t say because books I don’t like I don’t keep and I tend to forget them as soon as possible.
25. What book are you reading now?
I’m re-reading “The Three Musketeers” right now. A terrific book that I never tire of. I usually re-read it every two or three years and I still find it as fresh, as exciting and as thrilling as when I first read it when I was ten or eleven.
26. Your favourite quote about writing/authors:
“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.” - Edgar Rice Burroughs
27. Your biggest inspiration:
My parents who were both voracious readers and passed on their love of reading to me. They were also major movie freaks as well and I guess I got that from them as well.
28. Something you can’t live without:
29. Your pet-hate:
Small minded petty people who reveal in their willful choice to be ignorant and remain ignorant.
30. Your favourite place to be:
Probably my basement. Everything I really like to do is in there: My TV, my Xbox, my Blu-Ray player, my movies, my books, my computer, my comics. If I could put in a kitchen and persuade my wife to stay down there with me I’d never have to leave except to go out for food.
31. Something you like/love about yourself?
My sense of humor. It’s gotten me through some truly dark and dangerous days.
32. Something you’d change about yourself?
I could be nicer to people.
33. Your ideal life would be:
I hope to be living it in Florida a couple of years from now.
Pragmatic author A.K. Kuykendall has a passion for writing conspiracy, espionage, horror, and suspense literature that blend the concepts of fact and fiction. For more information on his projects, visit http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/list-of-works/ or, to email the author directly for Q&A on this post, write to email@example.com.