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Friday, 5 October 2012

The Wild Welsh go West

The initial idea for Wild Bill Williams came from a book review by fellow Black Horse author, Nik Morton.  The book in question was Welsh Cowboys and Outlaws by Dafydd Meirion and published by Ylofa Books. Now being Welsh and a western nerd, not to mention a writer of breezy little westerns, I had to get the book. And so, credit card in hand,  I set off on a quest up the Amazon and a day later I had the book.

I'd just completed work on The Ballad of Delta Rose and had no clear idea what my next western would be, but as soon as I read the Welsh Cowboys book I knew that the main character would be, like myself, a Welshman and also, like myself, he would hail from the small village of Gilfach Goch - a fitting birthplace for a Welsh cowboy since the name translates to Red Valley.

As soon as I had that idea the story came to me quickly - especially the character of William Williams AKA Wild Bill Williams.  I found old Bill to be a quirky sort of fellow, and as I started writing of his visit to the town of Stanton he revealed much about himself to me - for instance Bill loves to knit (claims it improves his trigger finger) and carries several balls of wool and knitting needles in his saddlebags, he dislikes and distrusts authority and understands that quite often the law and justice are not quite the same thing.

The fastest stitch in the West.

I figured that the likes of Dodge City and Tombstone wouldn't offer too much of a shock for a man used to the Rhondda Valleys of a Saturday night. The point was how would the Americans find the Welsh cowboy with a bell in every tooth, a penchant for knitting and a deadly fast draw?

There was nary a frown when Wild Bill Williams was in town. He had a way about his manner that enabled most folks to forget all their troubles and become positively festive. It was said that Bill could start off a dance at a funeral and carve a grin out of the most granite of faces.

 I found that the book contained much more humour than my previous westerns, but pulled back from out and out comedy. The humor comes from the  characters, especially Bill himself and the Billy the Kid-alike young man he befriends. There's all the usual action and adventure expected from a western, but alongside that I hope I've created characters that live and breath as real people rather than western stereotypes. When I offered the manuscript to my publishers they called it a, "truly excellent western."

The book is out in a few weeks and I guess the real test is when you, my readers, get hold of it.I do hope you all enjoy it, but the one thing I know for certain is that Wild Bill Williams was a project that I enjoyed from start to finish.

And I sincerely hope you do.

Visit Wild Bill's Facebook page and give him a big old Like - HERE


Shay said...

....just as long as you got the knitting right :-)

Nik said...

I'm looking forward to reading it, Gary!