eSpec Books interviews Gail Z. Martin, contributor to The Weird Wild West edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret McGraw. Check out our Kickstarter campaign at: http://kck.st/1udizgM
What is your favorite western movie and why? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I loved the buddy-picture camaraderie and banter. For a lot of reasons, as compared to a traditional John Wayne flick, it was more accessible for a female viewer, at least in my opinion, because it wasn’t all about “manly men doing manly man things” like so many of the traditional style of Westerns.
What does the wild frontier mean to you? I’m a history major, so the Turner Thesis approach to the West resonates with me, in that the American mindset was shaped by having a huge unknown frontier where something better was always just over the next hill. It amazes me that the cowboy era lasted about 15 years in real life, and over 100 in pop culture. The whole self-sufficient lone man/outsider on a horse in the wide open space is so much a part of our cultural identity.
Who would you say is your Wild West role model? Jim West and Artemis Gordon of Wild, Wild West
What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up? Firefly!
What interested you in working on this project? Well, my parents were adopted into the Sioux tribe in 1950, and my father met and interviewed the last living Custer Battle survivors (both Custer’s soldiers and Sioux). He was also good friends with tribal leaders and photographer Frank Fiske, whose work you’ll see in most museum collections about the Sioux. In fact, the photo of mom and dad’s adoption ceremony was taken by Fiske. I grew up with a pretty wild assortment of artifacts in the house, which just sold at auction last year.
How do you research to capture that western feel? I grew up with the stuff, so I have a pretty good inherent feel for at least the Sioux culture and territory. Otherwise, I’m a good researcher when I need to know something specific or detailed.
Have you had any weird western experiences of your own? Please tell us about it. Actually, as I was going through my dad’s collection of Native American artifacts, we had a number of strange situations where my more psychically-sensitive friends/family identified pieces that they said had very bad mojo, gave them nightmares, or sent off very negative energy. In one case, a psychic who had no specific knowledge of the collection pieces identified one piece as being too profoundly negative to remain in the house.
Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why? Can I be the saloon keeper, please? The guy behind the bar who knows everyone and is very even-tempered, unless there’s trouble, and then he’s got a shotgun under the bar.
Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it. Collector, in my Deadly Curiosities Adventures short stories, is directly based on Western themes, with haunted/cursed Native American artifacts.
What are some of your own works readers can look for? I write epic and urban fantasy plus steampunk. Readers can look for my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series (Ice Forged, Reign of Ash), the Chronicles of the Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen), The Fallen Kings Cycle series (The Sworn, The Dread) and Deadly Curiosities, a new urban fantasy series.
What projects of your own do you have coming up? I’ve got three new books in three different series coming in 2015: War of Shadows, epic fantasy, book 3 in the Blaine McFadden Ascendant Kingdoms series, the second Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy book, and Iron and Blood, the first in a new steampunk series I’m co-writing with my husband, Larry N. Martin. So far I’m also in four anthologies counting this one. The others have themes of Space, Corsets and Ethical Dilemmas. And of course, I bring out a new short story each month in either the Deadly Curiosities Adventures or Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series of ebooks. Plus I add excerpts and free stories from time to time on Wattpad!
How can readers find out more about you? You can find more about me, my books, the short story adventures, and the anthologies I’m in at http://www.DeadlyCuriosities.com
Gail Z. Martin is the prolific author of the epic fantasy Reign of Ash (Orbit Books 2014), urban fantasy Deadly Curiosities, (July 2014 Solaris Books), set in Charleston, SC and Iron and Blood, a steampunk novel (2015, Solaris Books) co-authored with her husband, Larry N. Martin. Find her at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, onFacebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog andGhostInTheMachinePodcast.com. She leads monthly conversations on Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpadhttp://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.
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