For the second day in Hell I welcome Joe Bonadonna and his character Johnny Fortune
Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.
Name (s) Giovanni Giuseppe Francesco Fortuna. alias Johnny Fortune. a/k/a Bad Luck Johnny
Age (before death and after you ended up in HSM’s domain). If I could recollect good, I was about 30 or so.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What? You some kinda cop? You writing a book? My mouthpiece says I ain’t gotta answer no questions I don’t wanna answer.
Who were you in life? I just told you my name. Madonna Mia! Okay — I was my Papa’s favorite, his pride and joy. I was my Mama’s disappointment, her shame and her heartache. I was the guy you shouldn’t cross, the guy you didn’t wanna mess with. Know why they called me Bad Luck Johnny? Cause I brought bad luck to anyone who got on the bad side of me or my bosses.
How do you think you ended up in Hell? I don’t think. I know. I was gunned down — shot to shit with a Tommy gun back in 1960, at a place called Moon’s on Chicago’s old west side, on Chicago Avenue, to be exact. That was the first and last time my own luck turned bad. Guess I messed with the wrong guy’s wife.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Handsome. Dashing. Suave. Debonair. Classy. Swanky. Imposing. Sexy. Dangerous.
Where do you live in Hell? Tell us about your residence and area. I live on Golem Heights, New Hell, currently sharing Goblin Manor with Doctor Victor Frankenstein. But I go where my capo sends me. I work for Frank Nitti, who takes his orders straight from the top guy, the Hellfather . . . His Satanic Majesty himself.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Is your moral code the same as it was in life? My code never changes: Omerta — the Code of Silence. I hurt no one who doesn’t hurt me or mine. Not unless I’m hired to hurt someone. I keep my friends close. My enemies end up in a lime pit. But let me set you all straight: Bad Luck Johnny never did and never will beat, hurt or kill a woman or a child. That’s not who I am or what I do.
Would you kill for those you love? After all sending someone to the Undertaker is not very nice! Hey, I broke arms, legs and heads, and killed for fun and profit when I was alive. No shit I’d kill for those I love — I did and I do. I give a rat’s ass about the Undertaker and his freak of an assistant, Gorgonous. They don’t fuck with me and I don’t fuck with them. I do my best to stay off that damned Slab A. As for sending people to the Mortuary for reassignment, I hope they enjoy their visit. That’s how it is in Hell, being damned and all.
Would you die for those you love? Die, being a relative term….Sure, for family and good friends. I was whacked for fooling with another guy’s piece of ass. In Hell, screw that crap. I do my best to stay . . . to stay animated, I guess might be the right word. Who in their right mind wants to end up as just another hunk of clay in the hands of the Undertaker. Now there’s one motherfucker what needs whacking. I’d like to play Undertaker on him.
Do you have any phobias? Are you plagued by anything particular in Hell? Sex. I fear sex. We all know how painful it is to cum in Hell, all them scorpions and shit. Yeah, I’m plagued in Hell — I keep gagging and spitting up the machine gun bullets that ripped my ass to shreds back in Chicago.
What do you think Satan’s most creative punishment is here? The Big Guy? He ain’t even got warmed up yet. Just wait. You’ll see.
Who are your friends here? Victor and his Monster, Adam Frankenstein. Good people. Galatea, one real fine dame. She and Adam got a heavy thing going on. Quasimodo, Victor’s lab assistant. Ugly little guy but he’s loyal and makes me laugh. I like Mister Up, too, the Unknown Poet. He’s the capo regime of the Uncubi, all them unpublished poets and authors who sold their souls to the Nephilim and got turned into some kinda new breed of demons in Hell. They’re all union guys and dolls now, and work for Jimmy Hoffa. Ah, but my main squeeze, though we ain’t done no squeezing yet, is Mary Shelley. What a smart and classy broad she is. Real buxom. You know, voluptuous. For her, I’d risk shooting fucking dinosaurs from my dick, if she’d give me a tumble.
Who are your enemies? Whoever I whacked and are somewhere here in Hell. My enemies are anyone Nitti, Hoffa, and Old Scratch order me to whack.
If I recall relationships are… difficult, is this the side of humanity you miss the most? You mean a good fuck? Yeah, I miss that. I keep clean and safe. I get my rocks off sending people to the Undertaker. I keep that son-of-a-bitch real busy. But like I said, to go bumping uglies with Mary Shelley, I’d risk and suffer anything.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I never masturbated. I didn’t wanna go blind. So, whenever the urge came over me, I’d go out and beat some guy to a bloody mess. That’s how I got my start., back in 1946 or so. Chicago wise guys whose names I won’t mention liked the way I worked, so they started sending me out on jobs. At first, I broke heads and legs doing collections. Then I graduated to contract killing and never looked back. I loved every minute of it. I love the smell of gunpowder and arterial spray and the sound of guys screaming and begging for their lives. Life and death ain’t don’t get much better than that. And let me state something here for the record. I am the only damned soul in Hell I know who likes it here. I never wanna leave. Why would I want to? I like whacking people. You think they gonna let me practice my trade upstairs with all them freaking angels?
Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:
POETS IN HELL, in the story “We the Furious.” http://amzn.to/1nqb6Z3
Website/Blog/Author pages etc.
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK
Bonadonna’s Bookshelf on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BonadonnasBookshelf?ref=hl
Joe Bonadonna’s and Shebat Legion’s Undertaker’s Holiday, reveals that “Even Hell’s Undertaker needs a holiday from the Mortuary, as David Koresh, Reverend Jim Jones, Ovid and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the ‘Fellowship of the Thing’ soon find out.”
Here’s a little spotlight with Joe –
How did you end up writing for Heroes in Hell?
I wrote a review of Rogues in Hell as a favor for my friend, author Bruce Durham. I enjoyed the book immensely; I had read the first 4 or 5 of the original Baen Books editions, back in the day, and I liked those a lot. But then I moved away from writing and reading the fantasy genre, for many years — something I had been doing since the late 1960s. I got involved in reading and writing other things and didn’t return to fantasy until about 2007, when I first heard about self-publishing. I didn’t get online until 2010, and that’s when I discovered that the fantasy genre was bigger than I thought, thanks to indie- and self-publishing, and small press. I mean, many of these books were not on the shelves at Border’s Books and Barnes-Noble. And then I discovered that the Heroes in Hell series had been rebooted, with new authors and a new look and attitude, and a new publisher — Perseid Press. After I read Rogues in Hell I purchased Lawyers in Hell, the book that preceded Rogues. And then, one fine day, Janet Morris contacted me: she had read my review of Rogues in Hell, loved it, found and read my story on Black Gate’s online magazine — “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum. ” She liked the tale, my writing style, and my character of Dorgo the Dowser, read more of his stories, and invited me to write for Dreamers in Hell, the next volume to follow Rogues. She said I had the right “attitude” and that my review showed that I understood what Hell is all about. To say I was overwhelmed, intimidate, thrilled, proud and honored would be putting it mildly.
How do you deal with writing in a shared universe?
First, I didn’t even attempt to write a Hell tale for about a year, and the story I wanted to write for Dreamers in Hell never materialized. Instead, I read and reviewed both Lawyers in Hell and Dreamers in Hell. By doing that, and taking a lot of notes while I was reading, and this time out reviewing each story in the books, I came to an even better understanding of how Hell worked. I also chatted non-stop with Janet — one of the most generous and patient authors I have ever met — who gave freely of her time, and took me by the hand to instruct me on all things infernal. I also asked a lot of questions of the other writers, read and studied the Hell Files for more info, reread the first 4 or 5 Hell books, read some of the others I had missed, and sampled stories from all the others: as of this date, there are 17 volumes, I believe. Over a year passed before I felt confident to start writing: there are many heavy hitters writing for Janet, including Janet and her husband Chris. This is not just any shared-universe we’re talking about here — this the Hugo-winning, Nebula-nominated, high-acclaimed and highly-successful Heroes In Hell series: top quality, highly literary, character-driven, with almost every genre represented, every style, no holds barred, with stories that run the gamut of emotions from human comedy and drama, not to forget stories of horror and allegory, whimsy and fable. And there are always elements of poignancy and intimacy, sorrow and joy: there is hope in Hell, and love, and the greatest cast of characters in this world or the next.
Why did you choose the characters you are using?
For my story for Poets in Hell, “We The Furious,” I wanted to use different characters, at first. More modern characters — pulp fiction writers. But there were some problems with copyright and such, and so, after still more discussion with Janet, I chose Victor Frankenstein and Adam, his famous Monster, and Galatea, who has so very much in common with Adam; this was a good fit because of my love for monster movies and Greek mythology. Then I chose Lemuel Gulliver as my villain. Janet liked my idea for an original character — Giovanni Fortuna, a/k/a Johnny Fortune, alias Bad Luck Johnny: one time Chicago Mob hit man. He’s pretty much me, lol. He is one of the few people who loves it in Hell. “They won’t let me whack guys in the other place, and I like whacking guys.” He works for Frank Nitti, who I borrowed from another writer, as I borrowed Jimmy Hoffa, for one scene with Satan. Janet let me use Mary Shelley, because of the Frankenstein connection. I also created the Uncubi, who are all the unpublished poets and authors who sold their souls to nephilim when they believed they were romancing the Muses; they became a New Breed of demon in Hell, and their leader is the Unknown Poet, (who is now called Mister Up, in a new story I’m working on) And then I was off to the races. For those not familiar with how this shared-universe works . . . most characters are drawn from history, legend, myth, the Bible, folklore, etc. Most are pre-1900, with few exceptions. Fictional characters created by other authors are allowed, provided they are also pre-1900, and especially if a link to a real person can be established, such as the Dracula and Vlad Tepes connection. And each writer asks for certain characters to be reserved for him or her, and then we are allowed to borrow from each other, working as closely as necessary with other writers. When a writer is finished with a character and no longer wants to use him/her, we throw them back into the Hell Pool, freeing them for others to reserve for new stories. Of course there are rules in Hell, and Janet makes sure we adhere to those rules. But these rules are most unusual, for although they control and confine, they do not restrict , they liberate — they force you to think outside of the box, force you to be more creative, to work around the rules, and to come up with plots and events and scenes you could write NOWHERE else, except in Hell. I even collaborated with author Shebat Legion for a humorous and grisly little tale called “Undertaker’s Holiday,” which also appears in Poets in Hell. All in all, writing for Hell and Her Satanic Majesty, Janet Morris, has been uplifting: I’ve had to up my game and set my own bar higher than I have ever set it. I’ve had to research, a lot of research into characters’ lives, reading history and mythology, philosophy and legends, searching through the Bible . . . writing for Hell is hard work — but extremely rewarding and a lot of fun, too. I feel that I’ve branched off into writing stories that are more literary in nature, that say something about the “human condition,” stories of hope and love, loss and loyalty and courage. Writing for Hell is unlike any writing I have ever done before, and I hope I will have the opportunity to remain part of Heroes in Hell for a very long time: it’s special, it’s important, it’s entertaining and even informative and educational. Plus, I get to work with and for Janet Morris! Those of us who write for Hell, and those who read Heroes In Hell and like it and understand it — they know what I mean.
Golem Heights, New Hell