Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sky Ranger interviews - Author Sean Ellis

Sean Ellis
Sean Ellis’ thrilling Secret Agent X novel, The Sea Wraiths is now available as an eBook from Retrograde Press at Amazon (just click the title link above), Barnes & Noble, or wherever your favorite eBooks are sold.

Joining The Man With A Thousand Faces this time around is Lance Star and his Sky Rangers in a small, but pivotal role. We asked Sean a few questions about his novels and all things pulp.

LSSR: Tell us a little about yourself and where readers can find out more about you and your work?

Secret Agent X: The Sea Wraiths

SE: Well, I’m an Aries, and I enjoy tennis and long walks on the beach. I also write thrillers. I’m the author of…let’s see, I think I’m up to seven novels, along with some shorter stories, including several pulp titles. Most of my novels are contemporary action-adventure, with a bit of the paranormal thrown in, but I also enjoy working in “new pulp.” In addition to the Secret Agent X stories, I’m also the creator of a series featuring an original pulp-era hero inspired mostly by Doc Savage. Ultimately, it’s all “pulp” really; I have no ambitions to be the next Hemingway or Fitzgerald. I like to write the kind of stories that I like to read.

The best place to learn about me and my varied scriblings is my website

LSSR: What is your Secret Agent X novel, The Sea Wraiths about? Where can readers find it?

SE: The Sea Wraiths is novel length adventure featuring Secret Agent X, “The Man of a Thousand Faces.” The original pulp magazine that featured this character ended its run before the outbreak of World War II, so what I wanted to do with this novel is explore what the character might have done in the war years. The Sea Wraiths are actually miniature submarines that Nazi agents are using to intercept cargo ships on the high seas as part of a plan to invade the United States. X’s girlfriend, the intrepid Betty Dale, is investigating the disappearances of those ships, while X is busy tracking down Nazi agents who are trying to enlist mob figures in New York to help them with the planned invasion. Ultimately, X ends up going behind enemy lines, venturing into the Wolf’s Lair for a face-to-face confrontation with…hmm, should I give that away?

Secret Agent X: The Sea Wraiths is available for Kindle and Nook at and respectively. For old school Luddites (like myself) who prefer a good book in hand, you can order an earlier edition of the book from Age of Adventure graphic library.

LSSR: How did Lance Star: Sky Ranger become a part of your Secret Agent X novel, The Sea Wraiths?

SE: I love putting Easter eggs in my stories. Many of the characters readers will encounter are named for friends and fellow authors, and once in a while, I like to work in a cameo from a favorite fictional character. In The Sea Wraiths, I wanted to work in some guest appearances from other characters from pulp stories. So when the novel called for X to be dropped behind enemy lines by a daredevil pilot, I naturally thought of Lance Star.

Secre Agent X: Masterpiece of Vengeance
LSSR: Who is Secret Agent X? What makes pulp characters like Secret Agent X and Lance Star: Sky Ranger appeal to you as a writer and a reader?

SE: I first discovered Secret Agent X when I volunteered to participate in an anthology series featuring classic pulp characters that are in the public domain. I didn’t know anything about the character when I started, but as an inveterate James Bond fan, I figured I’d have an easier time writing him than some of the others. As it turned out, all my preconceived notions were wrong; X is more of a crime-fighter than a spy, but as I worked on that anthology submission, I really grew to like the character.

Secret Agent X was a popular character during his run in the 1930’s but never quite as popular as Doc Savage or The Shadow. He’s a master of disguise, and in fact, his true identity is never revealed, and as I mentioned, more of a crime-fighting vigilante than a spy. He would use his talents and gadgets to fight villains, most of whom utilized fantastic technologies to threaten New York City’s residents.

I’m a big fan of action movies and I like stories that capture the kind of action that you find in Indiana Jones and James Bond movies. When I write a thriller, I try to capture that action on the page, but today’s readers are a little more critical when it comes to egregious violations of the laws of physics. Pulp allows both the author and the reader to stretch those limits a bit. It’s a lot easier for a reader to accept that Secret Agent X can use the make-up kit in his shoe to believably transform his appearance in a matter of a few minutes, because he’s a pulp hero.

Secret Agent X: The Scar
LSSR: Are there any plans to revisit the character of Secret Agent X?

SE: No concrete plans at the moment, but I definitely enjoyed my time with X, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that I might explore further wartime missions. Aside from The Sea Wraiths, I’ve also penned two novellas—Masterpiece of Vengeance and The Scar—that are available for download as well

LSSR: Digital content has changed the publishing landscape. As a creator, what excites you about digital content? As a reader?

SE: I’ll answer the reader part first. I’m actually still stuck in the paper age. I do read content on my computer, but grudgingly. It’s hard on the eyes. One of these days I’ll take the advice of my many friends who have nothing by praise for their Kindles.

As an author, I can’t deny that the digital revolution has thrown open a lot of doors. Most of my titles are published by smaller independent presses, who simply don’t have the resources to go toe-to-toe with the mainstream publishers, so it would be a real uphill struggle to get my books into the traditional bookstores. But with digital content, people can discover my books, and usually at a price that encourages them to take a chance.

The Adventures of Dodge Dalton
LSSR: Any upcoming projects you would like to plug?

SE: It’s been a very busy couple of months. In addition to releasing this new edition of The Sea Wraiths, I’ve also got a new adventure novel called Dark Trinity: Ascendant, which should appeal to fans of the Tomb Raider franchise—that will be out late June. I’ve just finished a collaboration with novelist Jeremy Robinson that explores characters from his Jack Sigler/Chess Team series—military fiction with a paranormal twist. My contribution to the series puts Sigler on the hunt for the legendary elephant graveyard—a popular theme for safari tales of the pulp era. That should be out in the next few weeks. And of course, I hope readers will check out my pulp series The Adventures of Dodge Dalton, and my contemporary Nick Kismet adventures.

About Sean Ellis’ Secret Agent X - The Sea Wraiths:
Cargo ships are mysteriously disappearing on the high seas. Dozens of men and millions of dollars worth of cargo have been erased from existence. Despite her concern over the long absence of Secret Agent X, Betty Dale, star reporter of the Daily Herald, cannot resist the lure of adventure and sets out to discover the secret of the shadowy villains known as the Sea Wraiths. Meanwhile, in the City's organized crime underworld, Nazi agents are hatching a plot to turn New York's capos into foot soldiers for the Third Reich, and threatening a quiet peace that has kept the streets free of violence. Will Secret Agent X emerge from hiding to thwart the machinations of Nazi spies? Or will he rescue his beloved Betty Dale from the clutches of....The Sea Wraiths!

Danger On The High Seas
For more information about Sean Ellis, visit him on-line at

Amazon link:

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