Friday, 14 December 2012

My Next Big Thing

Thanks to Steven Porter for tagging me for this, which is a promotional device which hopefully gets some writers some decent publicity for free. It works like a chain letter, with me tagging the next three people to take part. It's all about what I am working on currently, fiction-wise...

Zack Wilson is the author of 'Stumbles and Half Slips' from Epic Rites Press. Also available from

What is the working title of your book?

I haven't decided yet. The first chapter is called 'The Big Meet Up', I can tell you that though. I tend to wait for titles to jump at me from the text, to be honest. When a line seems to work well, that's what I'll build a title around. It will be something over-dramatic, slightly baroque and bloody though. Like the best spaghetti westerns.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It's been brewing for years. I've wanted to write a western ever since I can remember, so the idea has come from years of watching western films and TV shows, and reading about the frontier days of America. My interest in the frontier was the main reason I chose an American Studies degree, actually, 20 years ago. I've had a lifelong obsession with the West and this is a logical step for me to take. I wanted to combine my knowledge of the real West with the European mentality found in spaghetti westerns, where the tone is brutal and often overtly political. There's often a more realistic tone in spaghetti westerns than there is in American westerns, certainly about greed, venality, violence and oppression, and I wanted to get that into the work too. I'm also fascinated by the idea of scum rising to the top in the melting pot, which is why the characters will have a diverse set of national and ethnic backgrounds.

What genre does your book fall into?

Western. Post-modern, spaghetti, anti-western, whatever. It's a western.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

For the Irish former British Army cavalry officer, Stephen Butler, who also fought for the North in the American Civil War, it has to be Pierce Brosnan, although he might well be a bit too old once it's finished. Naylor, the ex-Royal Marine from Hull, would need to be played by someone who can do a proper Hull accent, which should limit the search a bit. I'd like some hungry unknowns in there, and I reckon American actor James Tropeano could probably handle the part of John Slaughter, the half-Cheyenne, half-Boston Yankee knife fighter. It'd be nice to get Robert Carlyle in there somewhere too, perhaps as the old Texas Ranger in the gang. And as for the women in the book, well, it would be nice to get Sherilyn Fenn and Wendy Robie from Twin Peaks in there. If Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson are still alive by then, it would be nice to fit them in somewhere too. Wes Studi would be great as the Kiowa warrior character.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Bunch of trained misfits fall together and make a reluctant living as hired thugs and gunmen, dealing out extreme violence and learning about what makes America in the process.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The whole idea of agents is a load of bourgeois shit. Just another gate to stop characters like me from getting our foot in the door. I'll be looking for an independent publisher like Epic Rites to take a chance with it. But it's going to take a while to write this, so we'll see what happens. If anyone wants to offer me a huge advance on it, I'm open to offers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm still writing it. It might take years. It all depends on what happens this year really.

What other books would you compare the story to within your genre?

Well, it would be nice if someone compared it to Cormac McCarthy, but I think it'll be a lot funnier than him. To be honest, I don't care much for comparisons, they're often very misleading. One writer I would love it to be compared to is Bernard Cornwell, who wrote the 'Sharpe' series. I do read quite a lot of historical fiction, and this is what this is to me, really, so I'll say Patrick O'Brian too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The fascination with the American West and spaghetti western movies I referred to above really. But it was also motivated by a desire to do something entirely different to Stumbles and Half Slips. And, indeed, to do something vastly different to my previous work, which was very rooted in the North and Midlands of England, in the last decade. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, I would hope that the fact I'd written it might appeal to a few people. The characters are really what I'm all abut as a writer, and I hope that it would be them that would really grab people's attention. I've got two former African-American slaves who might or might not be gay, a celibate lesbian Irish Catholic brothel keeper, an ex-Royal Marine from Hull who has emigrated, a Cheyenne knife fighter who quotes Keats, an anti-slavery Texas Ranger, plus Kiowa warriors, whores, miners, thugs, gunmen and preachers. I might even put a drover called Doyle in there, as a little sly reference to Stumbles and Half Slips. He won't like the West too much and probably wants to go back home as soon as possible...

 My Next Big Thing nominees are:

John Crosbie is a writer from Scotland. His blog, Chaserjay, is a good way to see what John writes. When he can find the time with all his martial arts, running and dancing...

Zarina Zabrisky is the author of 'Iron', also published by Epic Rites Press. A Russian now living in the United States. A review of 'Iron' will appear at Lone Striker soon. It had probably better be good, as she used to be a kickboxing instructor...

Erin Reardon is an Irish-American poet from Boston. A review of her collection 'Meat' can be read HERE. Like me, she is an expert on television, drinking and Ian McShane.

Zack Wilson is the author of 'Stumbles and Half Slips' from Epic Rites Press. Also available from

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