The hard sell is that The Guns of Retribution is now available for the Kindle through the very excellent Pulp Press (here for the UK, and here for the US). I know a lot of people look down on so-called pulp fiction but it offers a damn good read, as I think I mentioned when I reviewed Danny Hogan's Pulp Press novella Jailbait Justice earlier in the year. I've been trying to think of things to say about pulp fiction to hopefully pique people's interest in it (go on, check out PP's other books, you know you want to), as well as my own book. Besides, publishing blogs are always telling us that no one is buying Westerns, so aside from citing the success of HBO's Deadwood series, or highlighting the change in Hollywood mindset that led to Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens, how do I change your mind?
I did what any self-respecting journalist would do and asked on Twitter if anyone had anything specific they wanted to know about it. After reading the questions, I'm going to run a short series of posts in an attempt to answer them. Hopefully you'll find the processes I describe useful if you're a writer yourself, and if you're not, then hopefully all the talk of gun fights and femmes fatale might make you want to buy the book! Yes, there are guns. There are gallows. There's a bad guy you'll want to punch in the face. What's not to like?
One question I received is one that did play on my mind when I first made the decision to write a Western. Now, my reasons for choosing the genre were quite straightforward. I was offered a range of genres in which to write and the Western was the one that grabbed my attention. I'd already written adventure fiction in the form of my steampunk serial, The First Tale, and the larger-than-life characters of the Old West aren't a million miles away from the pirates of the Caribbean, as exemplified in my Parrots and Piracy stories. The iconography and history are different but the basic idea is the same.
Anyone who's been reading my flash fiction for a while will know I have a bit of a thing about writing historical fiction. Grave robbers, the inmates of Bedlam, ships lost at sea, bullies at the Charterhouse School - I just love setting stories in the past. I've had a deep passion for history since I was little and I enjoy the research just as much as I enjoy the actual writing part. I did study the history of the American West at school as part of the GCSE syllabus, and I found it absolutely fascinating - and here was my chance to use it as a backdrop to a story.
I'll be honest, I never much cared for Westerns as films, with the notable exception of Back to the Future III (though I do admit the entire film is stolen by Thomas F. Wilson as Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen). A very good friend of mine recommended Tombstone, and my entire opinion changed. It's an awful film in terms of acting and structure, but it's just so damned enjoyable. While many of the early Westerns are far from historically accurate, choosing to paint a mythologised picture of the Old West, they're a good way to get a feel for a period. Naturally, later Westerns (such as the 3:10 to Yuma remake in which Russell Crowe acts Christian Bale off the screen) are much more adept at historical accuracy.
|All that remains of Aztec, AZ|
I really enjoyed writing the book and I hope people enjoy reading it. The Guns of Retribution is currently 99p/99c, but the price will be going up next week! For those who prefer hard copies, it comes out in paperback on September 24, and you can pre-order it here.