Saturday, 29 April 2017

Author interview: Andrew McBride

Please join me in welcoming Andrew McBride. I recently came across Andrew when his blog came to my attention. Like me, he is a Brit writing westerns and doing his best to champion the genre. Here's what he had to say when I asked him a few questions.

How many books have you written?
A bunch of unpublished ones, in various genres! I’ve had 6 published, all westerns. 2 – THE PEACEMAKER & SHADOW MAN – are currently available. The other 4 – CANYON OF THE DEAD, DEATH WEARS A STAR, DEATH SONG (spot a theme?) and THE ARIZONA KID can still be found in libraries but haven’t been on sale for a long time. However Crowood Press are about to re-issue them as e.books, so maybe I’ll be able to talk to you about them soon.

What is your latest release called, what’s it about and what inspired it?
THE PEACEMAKER. The idea came from an episode of the 60s TV Western series ‘The High Chaparral’, although what was on screen would cover only the first part of my novel. I used that as a springboard for what I thought could be a great adventure story. The hero is an 18-year old youth in Arizona in 1871, who, for various reasons, knows a lot about Apache Indians. The Apaches are at war with the white man at this time. The hero is basically conned into taking a U.S. government representative to the stronghold of the great Apache chief Cochise, to talk peace with him. Along the way the hero falls in love with an Apache girl, and they find themselves caught up in the middle of this war, under threat from both sides.

Who is the publisher and where can we buy it?
Sundown Press. You can find it on Amazon and the other usual outlets.

What’s your latest writing project?
It’s so much a departure from what I normally write, I’m keeping it a bit of a mystery, in case talking about it hex’s it! I have just finished a novel about Robin Hood. I think I may have done something amazing there (pardon my immodesty); i.e. I think I found something new to say on the subject of Robin Hood! Let’s see if publishers agree!

(Jo - I'm interested to know more about this since Robin Hood was from my neck of the woods)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about writing westerns?
How about: ‘You must be crazy, don’t do it!’ Anyone attempting to make a living at writing fiction is taking on a massive challenge, and writing in a relatively uncommercial genre like the western doubly so. But, if you love the western and want to write them, nothing’s going to stop you.

What advice would you give to a would-be western writer?
Don’t lazily re-cycle clichés from movies and TV, do some research into the real west and see if you can find something new to freshen up familiar territory. In my experience, truth’s not only stranger than fiction, it’s better. For example, the first time I ever wrote a scene in a western saloon I could have watched a few episodes of ‘Bonanza’ or whatever and given the reader swing batwing doors, tinkling pianos etc. Instead I researched and found a saloon in frontier-era Montana that had this written on the wall: DON’T FORGET TO WRITE TO MOTHER. SHE IS THINKING OF YOU. WE FURNISH PAPER AND ENVELOPES FREE, AND HAVE THE BEST WHISKEY IN TOWN. That had to go in my novel!
 
How many books do you generally read in a month and what are you reading now?
I’ve been ultra-busy of late and I’m ashamed to say my reading has suffered accordingly, so it’s more like I manage a book every 2 months. I’ve only really been active on Social Media for the last 5 months and in that time I’ve made the Facebook acquaintance of some fine writers whose work I plan to pursue – Ralph Cotton, Robert Vaughan, Lorrie Farrelly, Patrick Dearen and others. There’s a western writer called Terry James I plan to check out. Right now I’m reading a highly entertaining thriller called ‘When Somebody Kills You’ by my FB friend Robert J. Randisi.

Is there a book you’ve read that you wish you’d written and, if so, why?
Hmm. Tough one. As an adolescent I really enjoyed Ian Fleming’s Bond books. I’ve read some of the recent Bonds by Sebastian Faulks & William Boyd etc. and would have liked to have been given the commission to update Bond to the swinging 60s – I actually wrote, for my own amusement, part of a novel where Bond gets kidnapped by hippies and carried off to San Francisco in 1967!

Which of your books would you recommend to a first time reader? Why have you chosen it?
THE PEACEMAKER is my favourite of my books. It’s my first published one where I could write at length, get into character in depth, Native American culture etc. It’s not just dependent on pace and action, it also has what John Ford called ‘grace notes,’ quiet, reflective bits. I also liked the challenge of writing a love story inside the framework of what is still a tough western.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which book, song and film would you like to have with you?
Book: SWORD AT SUNSET, Rosemary Sutcliff’s epic re-telling of the Arthurian legend; song: BROWN-EYED GIRL by Van Morrison (Although it’s a great song, it’s not my favourite. However, I’d want it if I was stuck on this island as it always cheers me up.) FILM: THE ALAMO – the 1960 John Wayne version. Not the best film ever made, it’s a flawed masterpiece I think, but it is my favourite. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say the film has a tragic ending, but it always leaves me feeling uplifted.


Thank you and good luck with that Robin Hood story.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to appear on your blog, Jo, and the promotion. I very much appreciate it.

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  2. Good interview, Andrew. Picked up a copy of The Peacemaker and hope to get to it soon.

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    1. Thanks John. I surmised THE PEACEMAKER might be your sort of thing as your latest novel on Sundown Press, GERONIMO MUST DIE, is all about Apaches, Geronimo, Mickey Free etc. - and is picking up great reviews. Whatever, I hope you enjoy THE PEACEMAKER when you get to it.

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  3. Excellent interview! I enjoyed getting to know a little more about Andrew--we are in at least one FB group together.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Amy. What's our mutual FB group?

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