This is indeed JRD Skinner’s first time on Horror Addicts, but trust me this is not his first time with horror. You will recognize Skinner’s name from Skinner Co. and his popular Flash Pulp site. JRD’s story for this episode of HA is titled Bearing, which you can find in text and mp3 format at http://flashpulp.com/2011/03/12/flash-pulp-140-bearing-part-1-of-1/. Skinner informed me that Bearing, “without giving too much away, it’s about a father trying to deal with a family tragedy. I realize that covers everything from The Changeling to The Shining, but I’ll just say that, while many of our stories end more gorily, I feel like Bearing aims for something more deeply unsettling.” His site Flash Pulp actually releases three stories a week, “and this is an older one from our archive, but it’s a fan favorite, and an entry [JRD is] particularly fond of.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Flash Pulp, Skinner was kind enough to give me a little background into the site. “The site is the central hub for all of our endeavors. Beyond our trio of weekly pulpy stories, we release a comic, about our quite possibly fictional workplace, Skinner Co., and bonus materials surrounding the stories, like fan art and links to background research material. We also produce a magazine style podcast that touches on our recent work, and includes guest segments and mentions of pulpy news.”
The Flash Pulp site is run by three amazing minds, JRD writes the tales, Opopanax provides the art and narration, and Jessica May handles all of the audio production. “Flash Pulp is our attempt at a re-imagining of the old horror mystery magazines and radio shows. I had a huge love of those stories as a kid, and my fascination grew with me. The problem, of course, is that so much of that material features the stereotypes of its time – you can’t throw a skinned cat without hitting some house wife who can’t stop screaming, or a mysterious man from the depths of The Orient. We try to bring more modern sensibilities to the classic archetypes.”
“When we first started I had trouble estimating the length of a story. Some of our releases are multi-part arcs, and there was a time when a story intended to be told in three chapters would stretch to six. I’ve gotten tighter in my plotting since then, but it’s frustrating to have a brilliant idea during a finale that can’t be incorporated due to the need to stick to the plan. [Now] on Saturdays I pick the meatiest nuggets from my notebook and block out the scripts for the week. I then break each entry down into a three act layout, and start writing. Each individual story takes a day or two to complete, including the back and forth editing process with Opop, and the actual recording and mixing.”
As a child Skinner was a huge fan of the popular 80’s movie Gremlins. But it’s zombies that have their moldy fingers wrapped around JRD’s heart. “I love zombies – there’s a zombie thread in Flash Pulp entitled Ruby Departed – although I do fear my favored rotters are falling into pop culture burnout. I think mummies are about due for a comeback, really. People don’t realize that the terror in Karloff’s portrayal wasn’t in the slow shambling of a geriatric ghoul, it was the fire of his creeping obsession.”
And I’m sure you didn’t know that this Horror Addict’s “grandmother claimed to have minor healing powers inherited from St. George.” Though Skinner can’t speak to the veracity of the gift, he was always annoyed that it was supposedly a skill only given to women in his family.
For those of you dying to know what is in the future for JRD and Flash Pulp, read on…“There’s always another episode on the horizon, but we’re also working with some fellow podcasters, a stage group named Radio Project X, (http://radioprojecx.com) to produce the occasional show with a live audience. I’ve also got a slowly growing novel tentatively called Kill All Vampires: A Scientific Romance in the works, but it’s tough to think much beyond finishing Flash Pulp, which should happen sometime around episode 600. If the book ever gets written, it’ll be something of a rebuttal to the ridiculous sparkly vamps that currently rule the popular notion of the undead. Honestly, I’m not generally much for super-powered biting corpses, but I figure they deserve a better fate than what they’ve currently been dealt.”
For more information or to contact JRD Skinner, check out these amazing sites: