Here’s a question for you: what’s your favorite movie? For JP Carlson it’s Willis O’Brien’s King Kong. “No question,” confirms JP. “The first time I saw it, I could not believe what I was seeing. Everything about it was amazing; bigger than life. I remember poring over the TV listings every week as a child to see if King Kong was going to be rerun. I had to see it again and again.” And that film led to Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young and The Black Scorpion. He owns them all, and watches them at least once a year. “The effects may be dated and the acting is poor, but it doesn’t matter. I still enjoy them.”
After seeing King Kong, JP wanted to read the ‘story’ but he was too young to find the book on his own. “Fortunately, I happened to spot issue #10 of the Konga comic book series in a luncheonette and I convinced my parents to buy it. I stared at that cover of a giant gorilla fighting ten foot tall mole people for years. I carried that comic around until it was falling apart.”
Other dinosaur comics followed such as Dell’s Turok, Son of Stone and D.C. Comics’ Star Spangled War Stories, and magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein, Monsters & Heroes, Cinefantastique, Cinefex, and Starlog. He even belonged to the Marcel Delgado Appreciation Society.
“There was something about stop-motion dinosaurs, giant gorillas and monsters that I couldn’t get enough of. No matter how much I read, it was never enough. When I finally got my hands on the novelization of King Kong as a teenager I was very disappointed. The descriptions of the dinosaurs were poor and the action sequences were way too short. It was one of the few times where the movie was actually a lot better than the book.”
JP wrote REX RIDERS for the boys, girls, teens and adults who want to read a fast paced adventure about dinosaurs. “It’s the novel I wanted to read as a boy and couldn’t find. I don’t care how old you are – if you like movies like King Kong and The Valley of Gwangi, this is the book for you. It has all the elements that Willis O’Brien found so compelling: a T-rex hunting pack; stampeding triceratops; marauding indigenous people; and plenty of dinosaur action set in the old West.”
A sequel is in the works and JP is eager to take Rex Riders south of the border. “The working title is ‘Rex Riders – the legend of the Quetzalcoatl.’ I want to explore the vaqueros and the origins of cowboy culture and move the location of the story to a more exotic environment.” Okay, but what about the dinosaurs? “That’s a given!” says JP. “There are going to be plenty of dinosaurs and things you’ve never seen or read before. Trust me, it’s going to be quite a ride!”
Ask JP what he likes best about being an author and he doesn’t hesitate: “It’s connecting with people who share the same interest in dinosaurs. My favorite review is by a 12 year-old boy who wrote ‘[t]his book will have you dreaming about dinosaurs for weeks.’ It takes me right back to how I felt about King Kong when I was twelve. It doesn’t get any better than that!”