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Apr 17

Welcoming back Robert Swartwood to the Author’s Cafe with his new release, Walk The Sky (and a book giveaway)

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How about a little Western to spice up your work week? I’m happy to “reintroduce” a good friend who has been here before (though before I had that cool little bookstore/cafe image above), Robert Swartwood. Author of horror, suspense, and thrillers (including one of my favorite reads, No Shelter, with the butt-kicking Holly Lin) has dipped his toes into a Western genre for his brand new release, Walk The Sky.

Check out Robert and his work on his site, follow him on Twitter for some off-the-cuff food remarks. Plus he’s got some swag to give away, so read through and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Ladies and gents, Walk The Sky:

One of my favorite genres is the Western.

And I say this as someone who hasn’t watched nearly as many Westerns as he should.

In fact, considering the amount of Westerns out there, I’ve probably seen only a handful.

But for some reason it’s still a favorite genre.

Yes, there are tropes that seem to constantly pop up — the anti-hero, the cavalry, show down at high noon, and wanted posters, just to name a few — that our understanding of life in the “old west” is probably nothing like what it was really like to live back then.

Still, the setting seems to make for great storytelling, or at the very least, exciting storytelling.

Walk the Sky, a short novel I co-wrote with the late David B. Silva, is a subgenre of the Western: the Weird Western. It starts out as a typical Western — two men on the run from a posse — but then quickly veers into supernatural territory.

It was great fun to write, but also challenging, as we tried to stay true to the time period.

A lot of the Westerns you see on TV nowadays take liberties with the setting and characters and even weapons. Originally there was a scene in Walk the Sky where a jar of gumballs falls off a table and shatters, sending a scatter of them everywhere. A friend who read an early draft did some research and found that gumballs hadn’t been invented during the time that the novel takes place. It wasn’t a big problem — we easily changed gumballs to penny candy — but still it was something we initially overlooked.

Another thing we needed to research were the weapons used back then. When we think of Westerns, we immediately think of six-shooters and Winchesters, but many of those guns weren’t invented until the early 1900′s, and as Walk the Sky takes place in 1875, we needed to be conscious of which weapons that were featured (we didn’t, for instance, want to feature a gun that wasn’t invented for another three years). Sure, we could easily have fudged the weapons to make them work, but it was important to us to keep the setting and time as realistic as possible.

And that, I think, is one of the reasons I enjoy the Western genre so much. Nowadays there’s just so much technology that it makes it almost too easy for the good guys and bad guys. But back then, there were no cell phones or computers or Internet. If someone was in trouble, they couldn’t easily send out a text message. It helps ramp up the suspense. And it also helps us remember a time when we didn’t take all our technology for granted.

ABOUT WALK THE SKY:

Things are bad for Clay Miller and George Hitchens.

For starters, they’re on the run from a posse out for blood. Then, as they ride through the Utah desert, the two come across the crumpled body of a young boy on the brink of death. The boy can’t speak, but it’s clear he’s frightened of something nearby. When asked what’s got him so scared, the terrified boy writes three letters in the dirt …

DED

By nightfall, Clay and George are tied up in jail. They can’t move. They can’t speak. They can do nothing but listen to the boy, outside, screaming for his life.

Yes, things are bad for Clay and George.

And they’re only going to get worse.

Walk the Sky is available in paperback and on Kindle (US and UK) at a special introductory price of 99 cents.

Enter to win a free copy of the paperback at Goodreads.

What’s your favorite Western, either book or TV show or movie? Let us know in the comments section by Friday 4/19 midnight EST, and Robert will gift five copies of the Kindle edition to random participants.

Many thanks, Robert, and much appreciate the kind giveaway. Wanna win an e-copy of Walk The Sky? THEN DO WHAT HE SAYS.

steve

About the author

Steve Umstead

Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten+ years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.
Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption was his debut novel, published in February of 2011.

4 comments

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  1. Terri Powers

    Great review. Sounds like a good read. I have two favorites – one has been a favorite of mine since I was young called Westward the Women. Love the storyline about a group of ninety-nine (I think) women who trek across desserts, marshes, quicksand, and Indian lands to get to a group of men for the purpose of marrying the one in the photo they are carrying with them. Loved the trials and tribulations and the final semi-happy (hey, a lot of them perished) ending.

    The second western I can call a favorite is a blend of western and sci fi called Cowboys and Aliens. You mention the lack of technology, now pit the good guys against aliens intent on destroying them. Good action, Loved the trials and tribulations.

  2. Blu Gilliand

    My favorite Western TV show would have to be DEADWOOD. I love the little details, the authentic dirt and grime rubbed into every frame of that show. They sugarcoated nothing.

    DEADWOOD’s star, Timothy Olyphant, also stars in one of my current favorite shows, a sort of modern take on the Western – JUSTIFIED.

    1. Steve Umstead

      I’ll second Justified – best show on television.

  3. Martin Roberts

    The Killing Box from director George Hickenlooper and sadly not available on DVD. Matt Leblanc’s film debut, but don’t hold that against it! It’s a creepy civil war western with voodoo. A quick look on imdb reveals that a longer director’s cut was released in 2005! Hurray for multi-region players and Internet completions like this one that made me recall my love for this spooky western.

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