Monday, August 22, 2016

Weird Western Spotlight: Joseph J. Bailey

As promised, I'll be taking a closer look at some of the authors and books in the Weird Western StoryBundle, which is available through September 8. Today I'm happy to welcome Joseph J. Bailey, author of Spellslinger.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
When not at play with my family, I enjoy reading, writing, and relaxation. When I can, I also practice various martial traditions in which I have attained the Victim level of proficiency.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing my first novel, which eventually became the Chronicles of the Fists trilogy, in 2004. I love exploring the possible, trying to make the imagined real. I enjoy diving into new places and times, where other rules and potentials exist, and bringing those visions to life. Honestly, I cannot imagine doing anything else.

3. What drew you to writing weird westerns? What do you enjoy about it?
Most of my story ideas start with a "what if". What if wizards used guns instead of wands? What if the Wild West had magic? What would a world that contained gunslinging wizards be like?

I was drawn to the genre by these and other questions and then finding the answers to them. Exploring the answers to these questions, living in this world while I write, exploring its characters and nuances, is its own reward.

4. What particular flavor of weird western is your book that's in the Weird Western bundle? Science fiction, fantasy, horror, other, none of the above, all of the above?
Spellslinger is, like many Westerns, a tale of revenge. Except, instead of the protagonist seeking vengeance against outlaws, bandits, or a crooked lawman, his quarrel is with a dragon.

Where there are dragons, there is magic.

Where there is magic, there is mischief.

And where there is magical mischief involving dragons, there is fantasy.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your book.
Ilaeria, Koren's home, is a diverse, magical world where knights often wield arcane guns instead of swords, where cowboy hats not only protect the eyes and skin from the sun but the mind from demonic attack.

In Ilaeria, there are very good reasons to wear a hat.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Koren D'uene, Spellslinger's protagonist, is a ja'lel, a gun knight, who wields his pistols with true wizardry. I like Koren's singularity of purpose, his focus, and the purity of his vision. He is a man of few words but much action.

Smoky, Koren's mount, is a mystral, a flying, fire-breathing demon steed. I like that Smoky can say more with his body language than Koren can with any words. I also enjoyed the challenge of creating interest and depth in a character that cannot speak.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Although only touched upon cursorily in Spellslinger, Ilaeria is part of the greater macroverse of the Chronicles of the Fists trilogy. There is some intersection between those story arcs through paratechnological trade.

Koren is witness to this offworld trade when he visits Sky’s End Ranch in search of his brother's killer.

8. Where can we find out more about you and your books?
The easiest place to visit would be my blog ( From there, you can explore my worlds, read about some things I find interesting, and visit me pretty much anywhere else (Facebook, LinkedIn, and assorted retail outlets).

Happy reading!

Kyra here: I read Spellslinger last May, before I ever got wind of the Weird Western StoryBundle. The money quote from my review is "What King's The Gunslinger should have been," and that isn't just something I put in because it sounds good. That's literally what I was thinking as I read Spellslinger (and I loved The Gunslinger!). If you're looking for the perfect blending of fantasy and western with a hint of science fiction, I highly recommend you give Spellslinger a read.

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