eSpec Books interviews James R. Tuck, contributor to The Weird Wild West edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret McGraw. Check out our Kickstarter campaign at:

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What is your favorite western movie and why? PALE RIDER. Mostly because Clint Eastwood is a total spooky badass in that movie. It’s a subtle film in the sense that it just touches the idea that the Pale Rider is other than human. Its got a great look, a great set of actors really bringing their best work, and some very cool scenes. And, truly, Clint Eastwood is a badass.

Who would you say is your wild west role model and why? Jonah Hex. I’m a huge comic book fanboy and grew up reading DC’s western comics, especially Jonah Hex and Scalphunter. I loved them both. Jonah with his ugly scarred face and his don’t-give-a-damn-until-I-do attitude really spoke to me. Plus, I am down with a shoot-first kinda antihero.

What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up? My favorite is Firefly. I bet you get a lot of that as an answer cause Firefly may well be the best 13 episodes plus a movie ever made. The world is rich and the execution in the hands of Joss Whedon is masterful. A western in space! Better yet, a post Civil War analogy in space!

What would you say is required reading for fans of Weird Wild West fiction? Nancy A. Collins did WALKING WOLF and a short story collection called DEAD MAN’S HAND. Those are my picks cause Nancy Collins is a helluva storyteller and these are both written at a time when she was really at the forefront of doing a hard-edged urban fantasy series. They are superbly written.

Can you tell us anything about your story/artwork for The Weird Wild West? My story is set in a post occult-apocalypse world and will feature a spellslinger named Truett McCall. He’s a character from a larger novel I’m co-writing with Krista Merle and he’s a tough SOB. There will also be an appearance from a legendary monster.

What interested you in working on this project? I love the Weird West and the other people involved are top notch. It’s good company to be in. I can’t wait to read what they come up with.

How do you research to capture that western feel? Four shots of bourbon and cleaning my guns.

Describe your idea of a weird western chuck wagon meal. Whiskey and beans. The chow ain’t what’s weird in the weird west. LOL

Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why? Outlaw. I want to swagger into town with a sixgun on my hip. Plus, if the world has gone to hell in a handbasket then you need a shot of outlaw to survive.

Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it. I have a story in my collection LOVE AND VENGEANCE that follows a bounty hunter named Alabaster and her girl Darlin’ as they bust a counterfeit ring. It’s a great little story and I love the world. It’s the same world as the project I mentioned earlier that I’m writing with Krista Merle.

What are some of your own works readers can look for? I have the Deacon Chalk series of books as well as several independent releases such as LOVE AND VENGEANCE, HIRED GUN, and THAT WAY LIES MADNESS. Plus my short fiction is all over the place in anthologies like this one, TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND, BIG BAD, BIG BAD 2, and ROBOTS UNLEASHED!

What projects of your own do you have coming up? 2015 is a full year of releases. WELCOME TO HOLLOW EARTH is out in June from Pro Se Press, MARK OF THE BLACK ARROW (co written with Debbie Viguie) is out in August from Titan. I have short fiction in MECH: AGE OF STEEL from Ragnarok in the summer, BIG BAD 2, and a ton of independent stuff coming out.

How can readers find out more about you?

James Tuck

James R. Tuck is the author of the Deacon Chalk series and numerous short stories. He writes the things that keep you up at night. Find out more at:



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