Sunday, May 18, 2008

AAM Interview Part Two, Katherine Tomlinson

AAM Interview Part Two with Diva Katherine Tomlinson.

Youse are gonna crush so hard on this broad, it's really not funny. She's a
brilliant writer, adores vinty clothing, fierce broads with a voice and pulparific divas, and she's hilarsquared. What's not to love?!

Katherine inspires the hell out of a girl, she goes after what she wants with the drive of a dozen Harvard grads on scholarship-- she's that fearless and fierce. From screenwriter, to television writer, and essayist with a forthcoming title, to her present day role of editor at Astonishing Adventures Magazine.

I was most thrilled when Katherine agreed to this interview because I wondered if pulp was primarily a male genre and about her spin on pulp's impact on feminism. She genially answered all of my questions - what a mensch - and her answers are enlightening as hell.

Meet Katherine Tomlinson Editor of Astonishing Adventures Magazine...

KATIE: Is there a misconception that pulp is more of a "male" genre, if so, why?

KATHERINE: I think there IS a misconception, probably because the pulp writers that get the most press are men. Mickey Spillane had that whole tough guy image going on with the fedora and the trench coat. Cornell Woolrich, author of the most horrifying beautiful line in all of pulp fiction (“First you dream and then you die”) is rightfully reckoned a pulp god. I first read writers like Hugh B. Cave in my brother’s BOY’S LIFE Magazine because SEVENTEEN Magazine wasn’t publishing anything more interesting than makeup tips. But if you go beyond the obvious genres you find in pulp (war stories and hard-boiled detective tales) and start looking at adventure stories and melodramatic love stories, it’s not much of a journey to romance novels and gothic novels and other sub-genres that are considered exclusively “female.” So there’s a continuum in pulp’s appeal across the sexual spectrum.

I also think that the whole concept of sexual stereotyping is soon to be a thing of the past. Gender role expectations are just irrelevant today. When you have access to any kind of entertainment you want, with nobody looking over your shoulder like they would at the library check-out desk, you’re free to explore whatever pulp worlds tickle your fancy. I’d be interested to know what other people think of this question. I really do think the answers might differ depending on generations.

KATIE: What do you love about pulp? What does it represent to you?

KATHERINE: To me, pulp represents pure entertainment. Pulp is without pretense. It revels in its chosen genre. It fulfills expectations. It gives you good value for money. There’s a reason IRON MAN is going to make a gazillion dollars this summer while other movies die at the box office. Pulp will not let you down. There are conventions to the various pulp genres, and certainly there is formula. But there is always, always, always a good story.

KATIE: Do you feel pulp has impacted feminism in any way and if so, how?

KATHERINE: Pulp empowered and continues to empower women. Pulp gave us dragon ladies and femmes fatale, black widows and dames. They were beautiful and dangerous and smart. Sure there was always the adoring little cupcake waiting at home for the detective or the soldier or the starship captain, but they weren’t nearly as interesting as the villainesses who slithered across their paths.

Also, pulp’s first cousin, comic books, offered all those great heroines who could stand toe to toe with the caped wonders and the masked men and kick ass with relish.

KATIE: What do you love most about AAM?

KATHERINE: I love that it exists. It offers me a place to celebrate my love of pulp and my appreciation of dead (and dead sexy) character actors. It’s a place to play with like-minded people and a great venue. I love that there are so many people willing to contribute their work for the love of the genre.

KATIE: Where do you hope to see AAM over the next 5 years?

KATHERINE: I’d like to see ir thriving as a bi-monthly. I’d like to see the print version on sale both online and in Bookstar and Borders throughout the world. I would love to publish some submissions from outside the U.S. I’d like to see more stories from women, which goes back to your original question about women and pulp.

I’d like to see AAM become the same kind of force for pulp that AICN is for all things film geek. I’d like to see it become a prestigious venue for modern pulp-fiction, the way CEMETERY DANCE has become the showcase for modern horror. It should be the magazine that introduces hot new talents to the world. It should be a place where old pros play around with a favorite genre.

One of our writers suggested that we develop an AAM imprint for pulp fiction the way prestigious publishing houses create imprints for their favorite editors in their favorite genres. I love that idea.

KATIE: Has AAM met or exceed your expectations?

KATHERINE: Each issue has been better than the last. That’s exciting. I think we’re hitting our stride after almost a year of publication and that AAM 2.0 is going to be awesome. It would make me really happy if every single person reading this interview sent me a story or an illustration.

You can buy the latest edition of
Astonishing Adventures Magazine at and the first edition at Run. Read. Now.

Tonight, Tim Gallagher's Interview (Part Three) will be posted!

Thank you, Katherine! PS: Why aren't you blogging?


suburbanbeatnik said...

What a great interview! Kathy is truly an awesome person; in fact, she recently commissioned some concept art from me for a proposed TV show, "Soul Searchers" (which unfortunately is now in hiatus until next year). However, despite the stupidity of the studios, I have no doubt Kathy will soon be taking over the world. She's just that cool.

Writeprocrastinator said...

A great interview and I'm glad that Katherine is reinforcing the fact that pulp has made a great contribution towards feminism and the role of women in this world.


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