Today, I welcome Mike Baron to Permission to Kill to talk about one of his latest books, Biker. For comic book readers, Mike needs little introduction having written for DC – The Flash, Marvel – The Punisher, and several Star Wars adaptations for Dark Horse. Lately he has turned to novel writing.
P2K: Firstly, Mike, welcome to Permission to Kill, and congratulations on the publication of your hard boiled thriller, Biker. Before we talk about the novel, who are the authors that inspired you to write a novel?
Mike: As a wee tyke in Mitchell, South Dakota, I remember clutching my John D. MacDonald Travis McGee thriller and realizing, Hey! This guy writes books for a living! I filed it away. I’ve always loved MacDonald’s writing–the way he gets in your head and summons darkness from the corners. I also learned a lot from Philip Jose Farmer and Carl Barks, whose Uncle Scrooge comics are models of pacing and dialogue.
P2K: Briefly, tell us about Biker. Give the readers an overview of the story.
Mike: Biker is about Josh Pratt, a former motorcycle hoodlum who found God in prison and takes on a missing persons case. A baby abducted by his insane father who subjects him to terrible abuse. The father’s a deranged white supremacist, meth cook, and kung fu master who views vengeance as a sacred duty. A lot of cycle gang action and major sequence at Sturgis. I grew up in South Dakota, got my first motorcycle at age sixteen.
P2K: Tell us about the main character, Josh Pratt. What kind of man is he? What drives him?
Mike: Like the child he seeks Josh is the victim of abuse. His father imparted a warped world view and abandoned him at a truck stop when he was fourteen. Josh had trouble with the law, fell in with the Bedouins, an outlaw group that became his de facto family. Went to prison, found God and turned his life around. A lawyer helped Josh get a PI license. Now Josh works for that lawyer delivering summons. The missing persons case falls in his lap because Josh agrees to search for his neighbor’s missing dogs. They were dognapped by creeps to use as bait in dog fights.
P2K: You’ve had a long career in publishing, would you like to share a little bit about a few of your other projects?
Mike: I’ve been active in comics since ’82, when Steve Rude and I began publishing Nexus through Capital Comics. I’ve written Nexus continuously ever since and it is appearing now in Dark Horse Presents. I also created the Badger which will be out early next year form a resurgent First Comics. I’ve written Punisher, Flash, and Star Wars and have won two Eisners and an Inkpot. My wife insists I put that in. About four years ago I FINALLY figured out how to write novels. I’m a slow learner but Katy bar the door. I’ve also published WHACK JOB, about spontaneous human combustion and terrorism, and HELMET HEAD about Nazi Biker Zombies. Wordfire Press just published SKORPIO, about a ghost who only appears under a blazing sun. I’m doing horror much to my surprise, but I don’t choose these stories. They choose me.
P2K: And finally, what’s in the pipeline? Are there any future projects that you’re at liberty to discuss?
Mike: American Fantasy will publish BANSHEES this winter. Its about a satanic rock band that returns from the dead. I’m working on a haunted house book, and a comic series called HOWL! for First. HOWL! is about a werewolf detective in sixties Kansas City and jazz. Shane Oakley is the artist.
P2K: Thank you for your time, Mike, and I wish you continued success with your writing career.
You can find out more about Mike and his work at his website Bloody Red Baron.
Biker is available from Amazon and other outlets.