Sunday, August 19, 2012

Background Check on: Hired Gun by James R. Tuck

Anyone who's read James R. Tuck's Deacon Chalk urban fantasy series (and you should) know he's an expert in writing tough guys. It should be no surprise that he can't just write fantasy but is also a great crime writer. He was kind enough to give us the lowdown about his short story collection, Hired Gun.

Tell us what to expect from Hired Gun.
Hired Gun is a collection of six short crime stories. They are quick and deadly little tales set in Culvert City, a place where bad people do bad things to each other.

How long did it take you to write it?
Off and on stretched over a few months. Each story would come in a burst, get written in a short amount of time, then set aside while I worked on something else. After a bit of time away I would pick them up and revise them with fresh eyes.

Did it take a lot of research?
Not specific research. I have been a long time crime fiction fan and a gun fan so it all swirls in my head and comes out as stories.

Where did you come up with the plots; what inspired you?
Most of them came to me from that soup of ideas in my head. I don't remember any specific sparks that set off any stories. They are scenes that came into my brain when I was looking the other way.
But the concept that started it all, the one that the nameless hitman is built around came from a song by the band Bride called "Hired Gun". It's a song about a hitman who uses the line "I hope you and Jesus have it all worked out." I loved that song as a teen and it really stuck with me. When watching Tim Burton's Batman and seeing the Joker ask "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" I always thought back to that song and felt that it was so much cooler.

Which stories did you enjoy writing the most?
I really like the first story BIG TONY LIKES A SHOW. It really sets the tone for the collection. It's a nasty little tale with a sharp twist at the end and I am really proud of the snappy dialog I accomplished.

Who is your favorite among the characters in the collection?
I really like the nameless hitman that is the main character in this collection. He's the reason I put it together. He is featured in the majority of the stories, each on giving a different aspect of him and seeing him at different parts of his life. CANCERSTICK is him when he's kind of young and he still has some pep, the same character in TREATMENT is much darker, far more bitter and jaded.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about Hired Gun?
Thanks to everyone who buys it, I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

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