LET THIS NOVEL HAUNT YOU…
1. I’m so excited to get to talk to you about Guns of Perdition (Armageddon Showdown Series), Jessica! This is your debut novel, and it’s haunting, gorgeous, and dark. Congratulations! What can readers coming in fresh to your work expect from this book?
Thanks so much for having me, Ray! I’m thrilled to be here. Guns of Perdition is a genre mashup of Western and Horror, commonly known as ‘Weird Western’. So, readers can expect cowboys, guns, supernatural beasts, blood, and bullets! And hopefully a few thrills along the way.
2. Have you always wanted to write dark fantasy? What fantasy books or authors are dear to your heart?
Yes, I have been a dark fantasy aficionado, probably ever since I could read. The reason being, my mum had fantasy tastes, and I used to read her books while my friends were all reading ‘The Babysitters Club’! Her favorites were Stephen King (where my horror penchant comes from), and classic high fantasy (think Anne McCaffrey, Tolkien, Raymond Feist). These soon became my favorites too, though I found my taste wandered more to fantasy which held darker overtones, such as Sara Douglass, Steven Brust, Brent Weeks, and Andrzej Sapkowski.
3. The wild west’s setting is so atmospheric… Was the setting inspired by any real place(s) that you read about or visited, or have lived in?
I’ve always been interested in America’s Wild West. Television shows like Brisco County Jr, and books like Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, made me love the setting, and on a visit to the US, I saw some of the great plains and just knew I had to write a book featured there. No small challenge being an Aussie girl!
4. I imagine that researching certain aspects of this book were quite challenging. How and when do you work with the research for the story?
Research for GoP (Guns of Perdition) was immense. As I mentioned, I’m a modern (Gen X) Australian girl, so writing about a gritty 1880s band of cowboys in the Wild West was a bit of a stretch. Thankfully, the internet is such a huge resource for writers. I’m lucky enough to have two computer screens, and literally, as I write, I have Google open on another screen, usually with ten tabs open, to research as I go! Getting the lingo right was about the hardest aspect of GoP.
5. How much of yourself do you see in your characters? Did any of them reveal any truths about you that you hadn’t thought about until you saw it on the written page? For example, Grace Dyer is a powerful protagonist, and she’s backed by several equally strong, unique, highly memorable characters (as Jessie, for example). What did you do to ensure each narrator was distinct?
There are some aspects of each of my characters within me, sure. Grace’s impatience is definitely from me! Jessie’s caution and compassion comes from me too. I only wish I had the power to shapeshift like another of my characters! I’m a ‘character-driven’ writer, meaning characters come first, the story later, and as such, the characters usually come to me well-defined already, with their own voices. So, I’m pretty lucky that they tell me what to say. Again, the Wild West lingo helped define characters (such as the more refined characters speaking more properly than, say, rough and tough Grace).
6. What do you hope readers will discover about the world OR themselves after reading your book? What is the lesson (if any)?
I don’t intend to write books and incorporate a lesson in them, though I did notice the motif of Good V Evil, or Justice V Injustice, did come out rather strongly in the course of the story. So, I would say I hope readers pick up on that and think about doing The Right Thing in life… though, as my characters learn, sometimes it’s not always easy to work out what The Right Thing actually is. 😉
7. When you think back to writing this book, are there passages/scenes that you remember writing more vividly than others?
Certainly, two come to mind. The very beginning, where Jessie meets Grace for the first time. I intended this to be a short story when I wrote the beginning and then realized I had interesting enough characters to make a whole book. But that beginning was where it all came from, and I remember writing it vividly.
The second scene I remember well is very near the end. A powerful scene that I can’t go into too much detail about (SPOILERS😂): suffice it to say, it took a lot out of me to write that scene.
8. If you were to pick any horror or fantasy classic to revisit, what would it be and why?
There are a number of Stephen King’s books I absolutely adored that I often daydream about having a sequel to (The Stand, Needful Things). But, a) I wouldn’t dare try to write a sequel to Mr. King’s novels (the temerity!), and b) I worry about sequels sometimes. Some of them end up being a grab for ratings and don’t add anything new to the lore. I’m not a fan of sequels for the sake of them.
9. If you could dream up another Earth, a unique paradise just for you, what would it look like?
Funnily enough – it would look like Covid-19 during the lockdown (without the virus obviously). I’m a natural introvert, and I find too much ‘peopling’ wears me out. During the lockdown, I had the perfect excuse to stay home, read, game, and write. It was peaceful. The streets were empty when I did have to out, and I learned how to do online shopping and food delivery, and was having a wonderful time by myself (husband is an extension of me, so when I say myself, I mean ourself). That would be my ideal paradise! ✌️
10. Did you have a favorite library or bookstore as a child?
I grew up in a ‘one-horse’ town. It was so small – there was only one library. No bookstores (and back in those days, no online books or Kindle either). So that meant all my books had to come from the one public library. But, geez I loved going there. 📚When I was really little, there was a book I would always run for, and spend the entire time flipping through, while mum browsed for horror and fantasy. I rarely checked out any of the kids’ books for myself, and ended up reading whatever mum checked out. Great place though. Great memories!
11. As a teen, did you ever feel a strong connection to a fictional character/s?
Oh God yes. As I mentioned above, I’m an Introvert. I’m also an Intuitive, Feeling, Judger – meaning, I’m a weirdo loner. Consequently, I never really clicked with the kids in my school, never really had best friends. Instead, I had a bunch of fictional characters I loved. And being that weirdo loner with a horror/fantasy penchant, it was usually the Bad Guy I loved most! 😂 Lucas Buck – the devil antagonist from the TV show ‘American Gothic’ was a favorite. Raistlin Majare – the antihero main character of the Dragonlance saga, was another.
I’m still kind of the same now at thirty-something years old; I love fictional characters almost more than any other human being I come across (husband excluded, of course 🙃). My current love affair is with antihero star of Rockstar games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur Morgan. What a character!
12. What’s up next for you – and for the heroes of the Armageddon Showdown Series?
I’m currently three-quarters of the way through Armageddon Showdown Book II – Sins of the Lamb – and have been making miserable progress this year. However, the journey for the heroes is all mapped out, and it is not going to be a pleasant journey at that! The heroes start this book on the trail of the Big Bad from Book I, and soon learn trailing him is the least of their problems…
And for me, finishing the Armageddon Showdown is on the horizon, plus I have a few short stories going to be published in a horror anthology – Wings and Fire – collated by fellow blogger, Dan Alatorre. Then, in the far distance, is a new series I’m planning, a dark fantasy series about necromancers. So, lots ahead when my muse shows up and starts cooperating again!
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GUNS of PERDITION (blurb)
IT TAKES GRACE TO HUNT WHEN IT’S DARKSOME
Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace, with her pearl-handled revolvers, and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.
Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.
The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.
Join Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict… the Armageddon Showdown.
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