I've plenty of new writing sizzling on the laptop keyboard but I want to tell you about my latest novel just published in ebook and paperback. Broken Spur, a classic Western, tells the tale of a hard-bitten gunfighter who discovers he has to make a moral choice in a life that has no morality. The book is written in a gritty style true to hard lives lived in hard times on the western frontier.
Broken Spur begins a new string of Westerns that take an old gunfighter - he calls himself "Mr. William Sumpter of Georgia" - from the Legacy of the Gunfighter series and lets him show what he can do in his own series. And what he does makes powerful reading.
The Legacy stories, if you haven't had the chance to read them yet, are about an abandoned orphan boy named Ronas whose dreary life changes in the instant Wyatt Earp tosses him an outlaw’s gun and hauls him into a wild chase after a string of psychopathic killers. Ronas must become an accidental gunfighter to save his life. His growth across all his wild adventures drives the three books in the Legacy series.
Writing all these stories became for me an exploration into the United States in the ten most turbulent years of the Old West – 1876-1886. From the political end of Reconstruction through Wyatt Earp’s “vendetta ride” after the OK Corral shoot-out to Geronimo’s surrender.
It seemed to me writing about those ten years required a deep rooting of the stories in historical fact. Particularly in the wretched failure of this country in those years to maintain the great achievement of a new national freedom won for us all at Appomattox. And how that failure played out in the West.
True, I began to write the Legacy books as genre Westerns with the usual strapping heroes, sniveling villains and gun-totin’ schoolmarms. I did not plan for them to shapeshift into something so very different. But they did. And that led me to begin writing a new series called Gunfighter Nation that begins with Broken Spur. These will be stories of supporting characters in the Legacy series set free in their own series. Each of those characters stunned to find himself called to a never-expected moral choice. As each of us is called, sooner or later.
I hope you’ll read Broken Spur and let me know what you think of the novel. I'm already hammering the keyboard writing the next in the series - tentatively called Dead Hand - and could use your comments.