Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Random 10 No 2 - The Lee Houston, Junior Interview

My guest for this edition of The Random 10 is writer Lee Houston, Junior.
Lee has kindly agreed to answer the Random 10 questions but before he does that, here is a little bit of information about Lee.
His new book Project Alpha, a superhero novel, has just been released by Pro Se Press. Lee is also the writer/creator of Hugh Monn, Private Detective, with the second book in that series due out this fall. He serves as the story editor of the monthly Pro Se Presents magazine and is the Editor-In-Chief of The Free Choice E-zine at
And for the record, Lee Houston, Junior IS his natural/real name, with family ancestry dating back to Sam Houston in Texas history.

How did you first get into writing?
I am a very big reader. Growing up, I progressed from being told bedtime stories to reading comic books and eventually straight prose novels for myself. By the time I comprehended what the words “written by” meant, no other career path would have been viable, although life did have other ideas for awhile.

Who or what are your early influences?
Considering that I started reading on my own in earnest during the 1970s, from comic books: Cary Bates, Eliot S! Maggin, and Gardner Fox (via reprints and back issues) immediately come to mind. Prose influences include Walter B. Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant), Ellery Queen, Robert B. Parker, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, for the first true book (all text, no pictures) that I ever read completely on my own was A Princess of Mars.

Where do you draw your ideas for stories from?
From practically anything and everything, for you never truly know what might inspire an idea unless you leave your mind open to new possibilities. There have been sources from which I learned what not to do, and a lot of my personal life experiences tend to crop up disguised within my writing also.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a set regime say 09:00 until 17:00?
Unless I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream with a good story idea or segment, I usually tend not to start until after breakfast in the morning. But then I’m in my desk chair and at my keyboard throughout the day, with intervals to get up and stretch or tackle the more mundane chores of life, like laundry.

If you could write a story using any character, who would you choose?
Tough question. There are so many options, but first and foremost, I would love the opportunity to write in/for the comic book industry. Beyond that…

How do you like to relax when you’re not writing?
Reading and television are the usual suspects, but I also like to do crosswords and other puzzles to keep the mind active.

You use social media to connect to fans and get your work out to people. Do you consider this to be an important part of your work or is it just fun?
A bit of both. There are a few sites I go to just for fun and I have yet to tweet (use Twitter), but the Internet allows for much greater and faster communication across the world than we ever had before. There are a lot of companies in business now that wouldn’t be able to exist without the Internet.

Your latest book is
Project Alpha. Can you tell us a bit about it?
It is the story of an innocent being on one planet suddenly given super powers and expected to save another world in less than a day, for the peaceful planet of Shambala is on the verge of extinction and the scientist responsible for the danger is desperate to correct his mistake.
The Alpha character himself has been with me in one form or another since high school. His uniform colour scheme is even based upon the school colours, as you can see by the wonderful cover Marc Guerrero did for the book. I’m very excited about the character and have the series plotted through at least Book Five.

Do you have any other upcoming books or projects you wish to talk about?
I have contributed several short stories to Pulp Obscura, which is a joint project between Pro Se and Altus Press to create new adventures of golden age pulp characters for today’s audience. The first, “A Black Friday in Australia” will be appearing within the upcoming New Adventures of the Eagle volume. It has some historical content and even a couple of ‘Easter Eggs’ if you know what to look for. I’ll be able to talk about the others as we grow closer to their release dates.
Meanwhile, I’m preparing the second Hugh Monn, Private Detective novel for publication this fall, and plan to alternate between writing Hugh and Alpha books around other projects and short story commitments in the months and years to come.

Where can you be found for anyone who wants to check either you, or your past and present work out?
Everything is available from or directly from the publisher at
I also maintain a professional page on Facebook under the heading “Lee Houston, Junior: Writer/Editor”. People are more than welcomed to post comments there.

I would personally like to thank Lee for his time and for agreeing to do this interview, I also encourage anyone who reads this to take a look at his work.

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