Why West?

Wild Frontiers is out in the world. With all of the niggles that seem to surge forth just prior to release out of the way, I can focus on the fun bit of my job again: great stories. Over the next several days, I’ll be sharing a little more about the tales, not all weird but all wonderful. But first, I wanted to share my reasons for getting involved with the anthology.

And what better way to do it, than by sharing an extract from my introduction:

The cover of the Wild Frontiers anthology, showing a woman in a sheriff's hat riding a horse through a cloud of dustThe wide open spaces of the West, filled with freedom and danger in equal measure, where a person might forge a destiny by the strength of their own hand or hide from a life gone off the rails.

As a child, I lived in a two-bedroom bungalow. Like most children, I went through a period of waking up early. Normally, I’d go into the living room to watch television. However, because we lived in a two-bedroom bungalow, whenever we had overnight guests someone would be sleeping on the sofa and I’d have to stay in my room quietly until a more sociable hour. So, I read in my room. I had plenty of books but I kept returning to a stack of illustrated annuals (the precursor of the graphic novel); there were some classics in there (Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, &c.) but many of them were cowboy stories.

Working through them one-a-morning for the duration of my grandparents’ stay, I must have read them all every Christmas for years. I was too young to properly understand some of the nuances, especially any romantic tension there might have been, but those stories held my attention even after all that rereading.

As I got older, my tastes broadened; but there was always something about the archetypal cowboy tales that I came back to. Watching reruns of Rawhide while I ate lunch. Staying up until the early hours of the morning to watch The Good, the Bad and the Ugly again.

My reading (and certainly my own work) is mostly speculative these days: I’m more likely to read The Dark Tower than Lonesome Dove, watch Wynonna Earp than Gunfight at the OK Corral. But the forays into the limitless opportunity of the Old West are still going on.

So, while the leather waistcoat and gun belt I got when I was six don’t fit me any more, when I heard Jeffrey was looking for submissions for an anthology of Westerns, I wanted to add my own (slightly weird) voice to the campfire. When I later discovered he also needed a publisher for the project, I saddled up and vowed to bring the project home.

Fortunately, it’s not a ride I need to take alone.

Who will join our daring author on his journey into uncivilised places? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

…or pick up the anthology from your favourite retailer today.

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