Adam Lance Garcia, one of the youngest New Pulp writers, exploded onto the scene in 2009 with his first novella Green Lama: Horror in Clay. Written as a gift for his father, Horror in Clay was nominated for Best Short Story in the 2009 Pulp Factory Awards. Adam’s follow up novel, Green Lama: Unbound, took away two 2010 Pulp Factory Awards: Best Novel of the Year and Best Interior Art (thanks to the artwork of his frequent collaborator, Mike Fyles).
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Adam was raised on on high quantity of golden age comic books, movie serials, and Star Wars. Adam credits this atypical upbringing to his passion for writing.
He is currently at writing several licensed properties at a number of publishers, including Moonstone Books, Pro Se Productions, and Airship 27 Productions as well as working on his original graphic novel Sons of Fire with artist Heidi Black.
I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
I’ll avoid the fairly standard reply of “everywhere,” even though that’s fairly true. Elements for my next few novels were born in dreams; “Richard Knight: Crimes of the Ancients” was inspired by an unrealized relationship with a fantastic young woman; even a broken headphone started my mind working. Sometimes a simple word or sound can push the snowball down the hill. Most recently a story appeared fully formed as I boarded the subway for no reason that I can determine.
Most importantly my stories come from a very true emotional place, just with a lot more guns and punching. I’m a terrible liar, and that can come through the page, so I always ground these stories—and more importantly the characters—in a real place. A conversation between Sotiria and Caraway and Green Lama: Unbound was a real conversation I once had, with all heartbreak and hurt that came with it.
If there isn’t truth in the words then they are meaningless.
What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. For short stories I often fly by the seat of pants.
For novels, I always write out a treatment to simply lay out the major plot points, the signposts for where the story will go. But once I start diving into the actual pages, I intentionally ignore the treatment and let the characters take over, which is at once thrilling and aggravating, especially when they decide to turn left when I really, really want them to turn right. I sometimes write bits of scenes, dialogue or notes far ahead of myself that are eventually absorbed into the story—or sometimes are used in later stories. I usually find I end up at the same destination I planned, but never on the planned route.
It depends on the idea. I’ve been researching and world-building a project I’ve had bubbling in the back of my head for several years now. Others I just dive in and write it. Though the Muse and I similar get into arguments.
What is your daily writing like?
Depends on the day. Some days it’s a sprinkling here and there, other days, I’m bound to the computer plowing through page after page. I’m not one of those writers who can pump out a thousand to three thousand words a day – though Lord knows I wish I was. I’m a lot more methodical, working over small sections over and over and over again before I move forward, a process that increases as the story grows. I call it “scrubbing,” which looks ridiculous when I write it down.
Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (And/Or your self-publishing experiences?)
I personally really enjoy working with publishers and editors. I know a lot of people have found success in self-publishing, but I’ve always enjoyed collaboration, having my work proofed, questioned and edited. I can sit in a darkened room by myself and think everything I write is genius, but if I’m not able to convince my editors, then I need to get back to work. Plus it allows me to focus on my writing and not on all the work surrounding production, sales, etc.
There’s a lot of stuff I can tell you about, and some things I can’t.
I’ll have two short stories coming in Pro Se Press’s Foster Fade: Crime Spectacularist anthology: “Dead Men’s Guns” and “The Black Rock Conspiracy.” I absolutely loved writing these characters and hope to do more with them.
I also did a short story for Barry Reese’s next Tales of the Rook volume entitled “Night Out.” Barry’s created such a fascinating legacy character, and I was particularly excited to tell a tale with the third Rook, Emma Davies.
I think what a lot of my readers will be most excited to hear about is a number of fully licensed projects for a certain hooded hero coming out from a major pulp publisher. I would love to tell you more, but they’ll kill me if I did.
Right now I’m doing a lot of work on licensed properties, but—with a few exceptions—I’m hoping to shift my focus into more original work and maybe move away from what can be defined as pulp.
One major project I’m working on is an original graphic novel called Sons of Fire with amazing young artist Heidi Black. It’s essentially Smallville meets Breaking Bad. It’s a huge departure from what I’m normally associated with, but features a lot of themes I’ve been playing with for the past few years.
Unfortunately, I won’t be making any appearances anytime soon; I have way too much work to catch up on. But if you’re ever in the New York City area I’m sure you might see me racing to the subway.
As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Read. Read like it’s your job. Read every day and outside your comfort zone, outside the genre you’re writing. You’re writing a horror story, read a mystery. You’re writing a sci-fi story, pick up some classic literature. Every new author, new style, new genre you pick up with help inspire you and bring something fresh to what you’re writing. You’ll discover new ways to tell a story, new ways to approach characters, new ways to approach language. It will make your work stronger and help you stand out from the crowd.
Just as importantly, write every day, even if it’s just a word or a minor edit, you need to set aside time to work on your craft, that’s only way you’ll get better. And never be afraid to try something new. If you only ever written adventure stories, try a character piece. Never written a mystery? Now’s the time to start.
And perhaps most importantly, be open to criticism. If you dare put words to page, you must expect to be judged intensely and deeply. Learning what works and what doesn’t will only make you a better and stronger writer.
Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
I would say anything Neil Gaiman puts to page is worth your time and dedication. He’s incredibly prolific and eclectic, and sprinkles his stories with so many amazing—and profound—themes and ideas, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something you can grab on to. In the mood for a relatively straightforward adventure? Stardust or Neverwhere. Need to sink your teeth into a dense novel exploring myth and faith? American Gods. Want to read a bunch of great short stories that show his full range? Smoke & Mirrors or Fragile Things. Not a reader? Watch The Doctor’s Wife. Like comics? Sandman. Like radio? There’s a new adaptation of Neverwhere. Gaiman will never steer you wrong, and more importantly, he’s the nicest guy in the world.