Ken Schrader

eSpec Books interviews Ken Schrader, contributor to The Weird Wild West edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw.

eSB: What is your favorite western movie and why?

KS: Unforgiven. Above and beyond anything else, that movie is about the characters and their struggles. Some characters get what they’re after, some don’t, and some get what they wanted, but it wasn’t like they’d thought it would be.

eSB: What does the wild frontier mean to you?

To me, the wild frontier is that place where civilization ends–or has little more than a toe in the door–and exploration begins. It’s a stark and beautiful place.

eSB: Who would you say is your Wild West role model and why?

KS: Josey Wales.  He tries to do what’s right even when it puts him in harm’s way–and he never went for his gun first.

eSB: What is your favorite spec fic/western mash-up?

KS: Firefly, no contest there. If fact, I’ll change my answer to the previous question to Malcolm Reynolds.

eSB: What would you say is required reading for fans of Weird Wild West fiction?

KS: The Weird Wild West 🙂  The Dark Tower by Stephen King, Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman

eSB: Can you tell us anything about your story for The Weird Wild West?

KS: Haven is about what happens when an alien space ship crashes outside a small town in Texas. It happens during the day and everyone sees it. There’s no easing into it, the two worlds meet each other head on and there are growing pains on both sides.

eSB: What interested you in working on this project?

KS: I’ve always been a big fan of weird west stories going as far back as the Kung Fu television series. Up until this point, I hadn’t tried to write anything in that kind of world, so that was a big part of what drew me to write a weird western story.

eSB: How do you research to capture that western feel?

KS: A big part of it was drawing on my own experiences and memories of the westerns (weird and otherwise) and I’ve read or watched and enjoyed. That got me the foundation. I didn’t do a ton of research for Haven but, what I did, I wanted to make sure that I got exactly right. Those kinds of small details will buy you a bit of a pass when you ask readers to accept the larger, weirder elements. I read a lot (ok, probably more than was necessary) about the kinds of firearms that existed in that time period. I read even more about saloons and the purpose they served back then.

eSB: Have you had any weird western experiences of your own? Please tell us about it.

KS: I’ve got goats..they can be weird at times. Does that count?

eSB: Describe your idea of a weird western chuck wagon meal.

KS: The food, by itself, would be pretty standard stuff. Maybe a thick stew or chili and some hard bread. I’m picturing a group sitting around a campfire under the stars made up of human beings and aliens and robots. The conversation is easy and comfortable–with a little bit of weird mixed in.

eSB: Which Wild West archetype (Gambler, Outlaw, Saloon Girl, School Marm, Railroad Man, Pioneer, Cowboy, Lawman or Indian) would you chose to be and why?

KS: The Outlaw.  A great deal of that stems from the books and movies that were around while I was growing up. That and they can be so cool and smooth

eSB: Have you written/created anything else in a weird western vein? Please tell us about it.

KS: I am shopping around a science fiction novel that has a pretty strong Firefly vibe.

eSB: What are some of your own works readers can look for?

KS: In addition to the Weird Wild West, I’ll be part of another anthology coming out in 2016. It hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t say more than that.

eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?

KS: In addition to the Weird Wild West and the other anthology coming out, I am waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted into the WERE- anthology being produced by Zombies Need Brains, LLC


Facebook: Ken Schrader              

Twitter: @kenschrader4882       

Goodreads: Ken schrader           

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TW3-COVER-REVAMPThe Weird Wild West
edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw

The untamed frontier is a challenge, a test of character, a proving ground for the soul. It’s a place where pioneers rewrite their future, or end their days…for better or worse. In the spirit of Bret Maverick, Cat Ballou, Kwai Chang Caine, and James West, The Weird Wild West blends western grit with the magical and mysterious unknown that waits beyond the next horizon.

With thrilling stories by Jonathan Maberry, Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, John Hartness, RS Belcher, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Misty Massey, James R. Tuck, Robert E. Waters, David Sherman, Tonia Brown, Liz Colter, Scott C. Hungerfold, Frances Rowat, Ken Schrader, Bryan C.P. Steele, Wendy N. Wagner, and a bonus story by New York Times bestselling-author Faith Hunter, you’ve hit the Mother Lode!

Now available on Amazon.

NetGalley (available here for review through the end of January):



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