eSpec Books interviews John G. Hartness, 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? Tombstone. I know it’s too new for most people, but I got laid once by telling a girl at a bar “I’m your huckleberry” in my best Doc Holliday impersonation, so that one has a soft spot in my heart. Or maybe it’s a not-so-soft spot somewhere else. Either way.

What does the wild frontier mean to you? My idea of the wild frontier is single-ply toilet paper.

Who would you say is your wild west role model and why? Maybe Brett Maverick. But in the card-playing days. Not so much in the badge-wearing days.

Can you tell us anything about your story/artwork for The Weird Wild West? It’s going to feature Beauregard Brabham and his sister Octavia. Beauregard is Bubba the Monster Hunter’s Great Grandpappy, and Tavvy (Octavia) is his far smarter co-hort. Together they’ll solve a mystery, drink some whiskey, and probably blow some shit up.

What interested you in working on this project? The editors. No really, I haven’t played around in this genre before, but I’ve worked with Emily on several projects, and I love her and Misty and Margaret and their work, so I knew that they would put together a quality product, and make my story the best it can be.

How do you research to capture that western feel? I drink a lot of tequila.

Have you had any weird western experiences of your own? Please tell us about it. I don’t do the whole “roughing it” thing. I’ve been out west, but only to Vegas. I did eat at a Sagebrush once.

Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why? Well, I’ve been a gambler, and I’d probably stay somewhere in that vein. But poker back in the real west was a lot different from poker today. Cheating was an art form, and a gambler had to be almost as quick on the draw as a gunfighter. But I like to play cards, and I like to hang out in bars, so that’s where I’d gravitate.

What are some of your own works readers can look for? Check out the Black Knight Chronicles, my snarky urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books. It’s what happens when two comic book nerds get vampirized and play Batman by becoming private investigators. Or if you like a little more horror with your humor, try the Bubba the Monster Hunter Think Buffy meets Duck Dynasty, and you’ll be pretty much there.

What projects of your own do you have coming up? The Big Bad 2, edited by myself and Emily Lavin Leverett (mostly her) will be released this month. I will have the fifth book in The Black Knight Chronicles, In the Still of the Knight, coming out early 2015. I’ll have short stories in a couple of steampunk anthologies, and in the first quarter of 2015 I’m releasing the first in a novella series featuring Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray. But since Dracula’s bite altered Mina’s DNA, he’s exceptionally long-lived and part vampire. He’s what Constantine would be if it weren’t on network TV. Think old-school Garth Ennis issues of Hellblazer, only set in the US.

How can readers find out more about you? Find me on Facebook, Twitter, my website ( or at Connooga, ConCarolinas, ConGregate, DragonCon, Charlotte ComiCon, HeroesCon, LbertyCon or in the bar.

 John Hartness

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrongs, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he speaks of the pompatus of love. He is the author of The Black Knight Chronicles (Bell Bridge), and creator of the comic horror Bubba the Monster Hunter series and the Big Bad series (Dark Oak Press).

John enjoys long walks on the beach, rescuing kittens from trees and recording episodes of his podcast Literate Liquors, where he pairs book reviews and alcoholic drinks in new and ludicrous ways. An avid Magic: the Gathering player, John is strong in his nerd-fu.


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