JM Aucoin is an epically cool dude. I mean, he writes pirate stories. I want to write pirate stories – well, I want to be a pirate. That said, he does the next best thing. Adventure is JM’s strength, and he delivers it in spades in Honor Among Thieves, which is out now. I talk to JM about that, his love affair with adventure stories, and some other things that came as we shot the breeze on a tuesday morning.
I got to admit something which puts JM into my cool books. I was really off my game here. The interview was fine, but a lot of things happened to me the last two weeks and the draft of the interview suffered. JM was able to fill in more gaps, and was a true pro. He’s good people, and hopefully the next time I interview him it will be smoother.
That said, I want to thank him very much. Our conversation follows below.
Joshua Pantalleresco: So first off, congratulations about the book.
JM Aucoin: Thank you. How you doing today?
JP: Mostly awake. I just posted another interview and a column yesterday. I didn’t go to bed till late, so I’m a little groggy.
JMA: This ought to make an entertaining interview then.
JP: Should we talk about the Bruins now or later?
JMA: I don’t care, man. Let’s talk.
JP: Let’s then. Let’s go back to your book. Congratulations.
JMA: Thanks again. I’m hoping it’s the first of many.
JMA: I’ve published a couple of pirate short stories on Amazon for Kindle and then an omnibus collection with some bonus material. But Honor Among Thieves is my first full-length novel and hopefully the start of many more in this series.
JP: Many more?
JMA: I want to do quite a few books in this world. There’s a lot of great moments in French history during the 17th Century that I’d like to write about and add some action and adventure. I’d love this to be a long running series.
JP: Kind of like Edgar Rice Burroughs did with Tarzan?
JMA: Or Jim Butcher with the Dresden Files. I mean that’s got what now, a dozen books?
JP: I think it’s more.
JMA: Exactly. It would be cool to get there with this.
JP: But say it doesn’t do well (God forbid), do you have an ending in mind for this series?
JMA: Yes and no. I have the first four books laid out in my head, so there’s a way I can end this series in the fourth book, but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I want this to keep going.
JP: I can understand that. Looking at your Amazon profile, I notice your short story stuff is Kindle only. So does that mean that your book is Kindle only as well?
JP: …he answers when I find the paperback version for sale. Oy. Silly question. I promise I will get better as we get more awake.
JMA: No worries.
JP: So who were your influences as a writer? I see from your bio that you are a huge Zorro fan…
JMA: Definitely. I dressed up as Zorro as a kid and loved the old pulp stuff. I used to watch reruns of the Guy Williams’s Zorro every week as a kid. I’m also a huge fan of the Three Musketeers. Something about fighting with swords really enthralled me as a kid.
JP: Anything from the current era?
JMA: Arturo Perez-Reverte is someone I’m enjoying right now. He writes the Captain Alatriste series. He’s not really pulp in the traditional sense but he’s a great historical adventure author.
JP: You ever hear of All Pulp or Pro se?
JMA: I haven’t.
JP: I’ll have to hook you up. I feel at this point we should talk about the Bruins.
JMA: If we must.
JP: What do you think about what’s gone down?
JMA: I really didn’t understand the Dougie trade. I heard there were problems in Boston with him but since then, I’ve been kind of optimistic. Don Sweeney has made some decent signings since, and while I don’t think we’ll win the Cup, we might make the playoffs. The blue line is still a disaster, so it’ll be an interesting season. I’m not sure what’s really going on at the moment.
JP: I wish you luck. I’ve been a Detroit Red Wing fan since I was a kid. We’re at 25 years of making the playoffs this year if it happens. That said, I got to be honest. Detroit is a good team, but not a great team. I think we’ll make it again. Beyond that?
what got you into writing?
JMA: A friend of mine one day said “You should write pirate stories” and it was an epiphany for me. It was a life calling so obvious that I completely overlooked it. So I did this writing course in college. Everyone got a kick out of my stuff. I mean, the rest of the class was trying to write these deep, emotional stories and here I was doing pirates.
JP: I edited a magazine. I mean, when it was good, it was good but when it was bad…
JMA: Say no more. I had some of those experiences myself.
JP: You ever read your old stuff?
JMA: Sometimes. I cringe at most of it, but some of it is still good. Some of it has been recycled into my newer stories. Keep the good parts, trash the rest and rewrite new stuff around it.
JP: That’s cool. So what are you trying to say?
JMA: What do you mean.
JP: Well, it’s cool that you are writing about pirates and adventure. But I’ve learned that good writing usually is saying something.
JMA: Ah. Good question. Well, the story takes place in 17th century France. My main character is seeking redemption. One of my other characters, Darion witnesses some things that question how fair and just things are. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself kind of accepting things as they are a little more.
JP: What do you mean?
JMA: I went to college for journalism. I found myself going through the whole system, and I kind of wish I hadn’t. I just feel like a lot of these programs and careers I ended up doing didn’t need this. I’m writing independent novels.
JP: I know what you mean. I have no idea what to tell anyone about education anymore. It’s like, most of these programs are so unnecessary.
JMA: I wouldn’t go that far. I mean, you need experts in science and medicine and engineering.
JP: I agree there. But it makes no sense to saddle the future with a giant swash of debt. I mean, if they are the future, you’d think you’d want them to be as free as possible. Not indentured to the system.
JMA: That I agree with.
JP: Yeah, so what’s next?
JMA: Book two.
JP: Been meaning to ask, since you have dressed up as Zorro in the past, have you ever performed?
JMA: I used to perform in some local renaissance faires in the New England area, playing villainous pirates and the like. And I’ve done some acting for local indie films and web-series.
JP: That would be cool to see. Good luck with your stuff.
JMA: Thanks man! You too!
Honor Among Thieves is available now in both paperback and ebook. Click on the following link to buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ESrs3g. I promise you will love it. You can also check out JM’s ebook Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters here: http://amzn.to/1m8V850 . JM Aucoin has a webpage you can find right here: JMAucoin.com. His twitter handle is @JMAucoin_Writer and his instagram handle is @thetavernknight. He has a tumblr at http://thetavernknight.tumblr.com and his facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/JustinMAucoin. Once again, I want to thank JM for his time and his patience. I promise not to be so bad.
I may not even bring up the Bruins.