This week's punch is an excerpt from Bill Raetz's new spy thriller, No Blood, No Foul. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his writing.
Bill, if you don’t mind, maybe we can start by explaining to those who haven’t read your books, what is the World Espionage Bureau?
The World Espionage Bureau (WEB) is an agency I created as a stage for my books. I wanted to take spy fiction in a slightly different direction without repackaging 007 or Mission: Impossible. The WEB Command Center is headquartered in Las Vegas, which plays well with the mystique surrounding Area 51, and allows me to work in some of the glitz and glamour of Sin City.
I’m reading The Lie Detector right now and have noticed a few similarities to Ian Fleming. Has Fleming had a particular impact on your writing?
That’s quite a compliment, thank you. I suppose I do owe my obsession with espionage to Mr. Fleming. I began by writing techno thrillers, but I’ve shifted gears recently and have been packaging contemporary spy fiction as pulps. While espionage is still my forte, I think of myself mostly as a pulp writer.
Who are some of your other inspirations?
Without a doubt, Lawrence Block. He is a master. I also very much enjoy reading James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler. Outside of the hardboiled genre, I’ve been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle since I was about eight years old.
The plot for The Lie Detector is wonderfully detailed, and, as a writer, I’m wondering how much plotting you do before you crack your knuckles and start typing?
I do a fair amount of outlining, mapping out all the characters in play. I also put together a flow chart to sequence the main action points, but I leave myself plenty of wiggle room in case a new twist comes to me as I’m rolling along.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
I remember—I must have been eight or ten—sitting in front of the typewriter and hammering out fan fiction of something I’d seen on television the night before. I always kept writing, in one form or another, mostly to entertain myself. It was about nine years ago that I became serious about writing spy fiction and growing my idea for the World Espionage Bureau. I don’t ever remember actively choosing to be a writer. Instead, I feel as though writing chose me.
Are you already working on a follow up to No Blood, No Foul?
Yes! There is much more pulp/spy action to come from the World Espionage Bureau. Look for an announcement this summer!
No Blood, No Foul will be released on March 1st. In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek with Chapter 1 at BEAT to a PULP. To order a copy of Bill's new book, click here.
Next week: "The Unreal Jesse James" by Chap O' Keefe.