Double Trouble Author Interview: James Reasoner

Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups, edited by Jonathan Maberry & Keith R.A. DeCandido, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, is now funding on Kickstarter. The anthology features more than a dozen great tie-in writers teaming classic characters up. We’ve already done interviews with Rigel Ailur (teaming Annie Oakley up with Marian of Sherwood) and Greg Cox (mashing The Brain that Wouldn’t Die up with Night of the Living Dead).

Here’s an interview with James Reasoner, who is pairing two pulp magazine characters: Stinger Seave, a hard-boiled trading ship captain from Action Stories, and Dan Fowler, a hard-nosed federal agent from G-Man magazine.

James Reasoner is a writer from Texas who has been spinning yarns for almost half a century.

What led you to choose the characters you’re using for your Double Trouble story?

As a long-time pulp fan (really long time, sixty years or thereabouts), I wanted to use pulp characters in my story. Even though I love Westerns and have done more in that genre than any other in my career, I wanted to tackle something different in this story. I wanted to use a character whose adventures I’d read and enjoyed but had never written before. The one who came to mind was Dan Fowler, ace FBI agent who starred in the lead novels in the pulp G-Men for many years. The plot I developed involved the FBI’s pursuit of a spy across the Pacific, and that put me in mind of Stinger Seave, a hardboiled, fast-shooting trading ship captain who was featured in a handful of stories in the pulp Action Stories that I happened to have read recently. The Stinger was a perfect fit for the plot. So I had a fairly well-known character and a very obscure one, and that seemed like a good mix to me.

What do you enjoy most about writing tie-in fiction?

Most of my career has been spent writing about characters and situations and settings created by other authors, starting with the Mike Shayne stories in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine more than forty years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to write about characters I really enjoyed as a reader. I mean, the Lone Ranger was probably my first hero! But I remember checking out Mike Shayne novels from the bookmobile when I was a kid, and buying old copies of the Dell mapback editions of his novels in the Sixties, and listening to reruns of the Green Hornet radio show late at night when I was in the fifth grade, and watching Kolchak, the Night Stalker on TV when the series was new, and . . . Well, you get the idea. It’s fun.

What’s your favorite licensed universe that you’ve written in during your career as a tie-in writer?

It would have to be the Lone Ranger because, as I mentioned above, my memories of that character go as far back as I can remember. 

What do you have that’s now out or coming out soon?

I don’t have much published under my own name these days, but I have a very pulpish Western novelette called “Bullet Trap for the Stagecoach Queen” coming out in Over Western Trails, an anthology published by the organization Western Fictioneers later this year. It’s a sequel to “Gun-Brand of the Stagecoach Queen”, which came out in another WF anthology a couple of years ago. As you can probably tell by the titles, I like to think I could have sold these yarns to Lariat Story Magazine if I’d been around and writing back in the Forties and Fifties . . . 

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