Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight. Today I have Diane Morrison visiting to tell us about the first book in her Wyrd West Chronicles series, Showdown. One of the characters from the book, Graeme Walsh, will be paying us a visit as well, but first more about the author.
Diane Morrison lives with her partners and works part-time in a bookstore in Vernon, BC, where she was born and raised. An avid National Novel Writing Month participant, she is proudly Canadian and proudly LGBTQ. Under her pen name “Sable Aradia” she is a successful Pagan author, a musician, and a professional blogger. After a lifetime of putting the needs of her family first, she is striking out to become what she always wanted to be; a speculative fiction writer.
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About the Book
In Queenstown, an untried youth is the only one who can face down a notorious Desperado. But Graeme Walsh is not a Gunslinger: not yet. Will his training and his secret sorcerer’s powers be enough to get the drop on the Outlaw, before the Outlaw gets the drop on him?
Welcome to the Wyrd West, the world next door, where Western meets high fantasy, apocalyptica and a dash of steampunk. This novelette serial will be published bimonthly in e-format, with collections published in print format once a year.
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Keep reading for an interview with Graeme Walsh, Apprentice Gunslinger, from Showdown:
Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
Well, I was born on my folks’ horse ranch, ’bout a day’s ride outside of Queenstown. It’s a region we call the Windpan. Guess they used to call it Saskatchewan? A province in Canada? That was before the Cataclysm, of course. Ancient times now. I guess my upbringin’ was pretty typical of a rancher’s son, except of course that I’m half-sidhe, which ain’t common ’round these parts, and I’ve been trainin’ to be a Gunslinger like my father.
Do you have a close relationship with your family?
Sure I do! I’d say we’re a real close lot. My folks are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Unless you’re a Desperado, of course.
What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
Listenin’ to my momma play piano and sing. She’s sidhe and she has a beautiful voice.
Who was your best friend growing up?
I guess that’d be my little sister Piper. She’s still my best friend, really. But if I had to pick one outside the family, that’d be Jessie Williams. His folks own the cattle ranch just north of us. Sometimes our folks would take us in to town together to do their business, and we’d chum around.
Who is your enemy?
Any right-thinkin’ Slinger has got to regard the Desperados as our enemies.
What makes you enemies?
They’re our dark reflections, so to speak. We Gunslingers try to defend the common folk, and the Powers of Light are kind enough to grant us some abilities to help do that. Desperados make deals with the Powers of Darkness for selfish reasons, mostly power. We got to stand against ’em.
Who do you most admire in your world?
I wish I were half so brave. I’m not quite so naive as to think he’s perfect, but he’s got some mighty big boots to fill.
Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?
Well, there ain’t nearly as many people as you have in your time! I guess the Cataclysm took care of that. Like I said, long time ago now, ancient history; we keep findin’ ruins of the Ancients but we ain’t entirely sure what they all were for. I guess lots of them nuclear power plants blew up when it happened, so some areas you still can’t go or the air and the ground’ll poison you. Most of that’s far to the south and the east, though.
The rest of us mostly live in cities like Queenstown, but there’s still lots of frontier folk like ourselves. Big exodus from the south when the Cataclysm happened, so I guess our ancestors came from both Canada and the United States? Except I know you ain’t got no elves, dwarves or gnomes in your time. Or trolls, or Mantis-folk, or intelligent equines like the Gunslinger horses and the Nightmares.
And I know our technology ain’t what yours is. See, the laws of physics don’t work the same in all places these days, so you can’t rely on them. We’ve started to figure out ways to make tech work in some places, though, like steam engines and dirigibles and telegraphs. So I guess we’re catchin’ up!
There’s Cree in the Qu’Appelle Valley, and we get on fine with them. Respect them and they’ll respect you. Spirit Bear, he’s their shaman, and he’s a friend and a mentor of mine. But the local Mantis-folk can get violent. Inter-tribal warfare bleeds over and truces between tribes change with their chieftains. And someone just got lynched recently. Piper and Henry — that’s our lead ranch hand and a family friend, kind of like an uncle to us — and I found a body on the way into Queenstown to ship the latest young horses off to the Order.
As to “my place in it” . . . well, our family raises Gunslinger horses for the Order. My dad’s semi-retired since he married my momma and he’s been teaching me how to be a Slinger since I was knee-high to the Mantis-folk. He don’t want to, but all the signs say it’s my fate, so he figured I ought to be ready. And I help out with the ranchin’ of course. Me and Momma and Piper too. We’re responsible for the ranch hands and Queenstown is our Protectorate. The local folk tithe us a share of their harvest so we can concentrate on their defense.
What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
Aw, shucks, I get tongue-tied when I try to do public speakin’. My tongue trips over itself and I sound like a fool.
What are your goals?
To do justice to the Gunslinger legacy. To honour my predecessors. Maybe to make a difference in the world, and protect people as best I can.
What is your greatest fear?
I’m afraid of lettin’ people down.
How will you overcome it?
I don’t rightly know how to overcome it; I just keep tryin’ to do my best and hope it’s enough.