The following is an interview with author David W. Barbee regarding the recent release of his science fiction novel, Jimbo Yojimbo. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Barbee about the inspiration behind the novel, what he hopes that readers will take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your science fiction novel, Jimbo Yojimbo! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
David W. Barbee: Jimbo Yojimbo is a post-apocalyptic revenge epic featuring slimy samurai and mutant hillbillies. I’ve always loved Samurai tales, especially revenge narratives where the protagonist has to swear an oath to righting the wrongs made against him, but the twist in Jimbo is that all of the reasons for revenge turn out to be false. It isn’t just about fighting different guys until the big boss battle at the end, though there is a ton of fighting in this book. Jimbo also benefited from my deep love for big world-building sci-fi, especially the futuristic settings that take place after the world ends. To create the right setting for sword-swinging cyber-rednecks to flourish, I had to find an interesting way to ruin the world. Maybe something ridiculous. Something like a flood of frogs.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the book, and what have been some of your creative influences?
DB: I’m an outliner. I always sketch out my plot and define my characters ahead of time. I look at the story itself as a magic trick, or, better yet, a Rube Goldberg device. Before you start the device, all of the components should be organized to an exact degree. Then you can build it and test it out, tinker with it as needed. This is especially helpful with world building, as so much of that information can be pulled from the outline whenever you need to show things happening in the background. As for influences, I grew up reading comics and watching movies. I like a lot of weird stuff, and I try to create stories that reflect all of the things I love while also putting some twists to them that make them far stranger than the things that inspired them.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
DB: Honestly, I hope readers enjoy my stories enough to have a few moments of entertainment. That’s what it’s there for, but unlike so many of the entertaining properties that we see, I think my books stand out because they’re something new in a sea of established franchises owned by gigantic corporations. Not that they don’t have a right to exist, I just think that, periodically, people want newer and weirder things to add to the pantheon. That’s what I hope my work can be for people.
BD: Do you have future plans for expanding the Jimbo Yojimbo world into additional novels or in other mediums of entertainment?
DB: I’ve actually been asked that more and more lately. And my answer is always “maybe.” I could see sequels happening, or even crossovers. Especially with my futuristic stories like Jimbo Yojimbo or A Town Called Suckhole. The main hurdle is that, in each of my stories, I tend to kill off a lot of characters (sometimes even main characters!). I have tons of new stories to tell in the future, but I also wouldn’t mind creating a “Barbeeverse” if there was enough demand for it. I could write sequels, or maybe do the multiverse thing and have different characters from different worlds crossover with each other. It would be like writing a big comic book crossover, but I wouldn’t have to be stifled by Marvel or DC telling me what to do. The same goes for expanding into other mediums. It’s an exciting challenge that I would gladly accept.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DB: I’m always working on something new. Right now, I have another book that should be published later this year by Bizarro Pulp Press. It’s called Taterskinheads, and it’s a backwoods noir story about one lone deputy going up against a gang of racists looking to use their own custom-made potato monsters in a terrorist attack. Beyond that, I’m working on three different books right now. Each of them are pretty strange. One is a sci-fi western that satirizes geek culture, the next is a backwoods horror story about a carnivorous tuxedo, and the third is sort of a surreal fantasy story about what goes on inside the Grim Reaper’s pants.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Jimbo Yojimbo?
DB: The best place to learn about Jimbo is also the best place to buy Jimbo! Head over to the book’s Amazon page, and you can find the description, blurbs, reviews, and a little yellow box to push that will set the gears in motion for a copy to arrive right at your doorstep. If you’re into Samurai, ninja, sword fights, religious cults, frogs, soul food, or want to learn how to swear revenge against all who wronged you, pick up a copy today!