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Sunday, 29 August 2010

The golden age of the western is tomorrow

Let's talk westerns - when the Archive started out it was all westerns - back then I was keyed up for the publication of my début novel, The Tarnished Star with the wonderful Black Horse Western line from Robert Hale LTD. Since then the Archive's grown and includes much more than westerns but the genre, my first love, has never been far away - the Wild West Monday initiative, The Black Horse western weekend, the interviews with western authors and enthusiasts - we even talked to son of legend, Louis L'amour. Now that was a honour -  and Mr John Hale, the publisher of the Black Horse Western range agreed to an interview which is something he doesn't normally do.And don't forget we also presented the Chap O'Keefe novel, The Sheriff and the Widow for free online for all readers and it can still be found in the Archive's sidebar. In fact do a Google search on ,"wild west" or "western" and chances are some of those results will point you to the Archive. Yep the Archive always been at the forefront of spearheading the western revival.

And now, as well as everything else going on, the Archive will become the place for all the news on the new Solstice Publishing's Western Line. That doesn't mean there'll be no more Black Horse westerns - on the contrary, next year I will publish The Ballad of Delta Rose with the imprint and Arkansas Smith 2 will also be going to Black Horse. In fact I fully intend to continue writing for the Black Horse imprint as does, I'm sure, my co-editor Nick Morton. This just means that I can write for Solstice Western too and besides publishing one western a year is not enough for me and I feel that the Solstice deal with allow me to grow as a writer and  try new challenges. I don't want to just write westerns - I want to produce something that is up there with the very best the genre can provide. It may take me some time but I'll do it. As Clint Eastwood said in, Bronco Billy, one of the screen's finest laments for times past, "a man can be just want he wants to be. He's just got to go out and become it."

And as the submission come in for the Solstice westerns and the slush pile grows then maybe there'll be another Lonesome Dove hiding away in there - now that would be good.

I also think the fact that Solstice are chiefly a digital first publisher is exciting and we need to make sure westerns are firmly represented in this new medium from day one if the genre is going to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other popular fiction out there. The fact that the line has recently published the first in the classic Edge series by George G, Gilman means that we are already making waves with the genre that  is too tough to die. Fashions in reading come and go but the western's never truly gone away and when it comes back it will be with a bang more forceful than a .44.

So the next time someone tells you that the western's had it's day, just smile tell them that, the golden age of the western is tomorrow.

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