Monday, January 17, 2011

Treadmarks in the cattle trails...

 There are many who will say the Wild West never truly died - it only upgraded transportation and weapons. I live out in the Four Corners, where the 'Old' wild west still exists, where it remains unchanged, if you drive away from the cities. Texas is a wonderful place to see that as well, and you don't have to drive far. In certain places, here in the West - along the great river - things only got wilder. The Mexican/American deserts can be wicked places, not only because of the snakes and cactus. There are treadmarks in the dust of the trails now. Outlaws rule vast, open expanses, just as they did in the 1800's.

The land cannot be tamed, and the outlaws are hardly more modern, but for those vehicles and weapons.  William T. Prince, a Texan, brings all this reality to life, far more eloquently than I just have. He does it with a single character, who, amazingly, embodies most of the gun slinging good guys you've grown up reading and watching on TV. Clint is as real as the Wild West gets. He attracts outlaws, almost as easily as he attracts women.

I wished, reading The Legend of Sasquatch - Clint's story - that I was born to grow about 76 inches tall. That is a perfect height to live a perfect life. I'm stuck at Tom Cruise. Not much to brag about. But I weigh 76 inches worth, so, there!

Mr. Prince must be 78 inches tall, because he writes it well. The way...birds can really explain how to fly; if you are it, you can tell it. But, that also means that William T. could drink me under the table. Someday, we might try that. Over a steak the size of our boots. See, the Wild West lives on, because we LOVE IT!

Clint - William - both - exist where extremes are permissible. Big land, big guns. Big people, big ideas. Big hearts - very big crimes. Guess what one thing brings Clint - William - me, for that matter - to tears and trembling? Wide open arms of forgiveness. That is about as extreme, in this West, as you can get. Boundless love, when it doesn't feel deserved. Boundless love, in a place where you may still die for being in the wrong place, near the wrong transportation, speaking to the wrong person. Clint could handle the bad guys, and does, but he was desperate for that love. I adored the chapter where he found it.

 Now, I've mixed a lot of elements into all this. So does William T. You can read how he did it, by reading his book. It is the best blending of modern crime and Old West that I've read. Here is my review of it. The story sweeps through its own pages like a twister, picking up every element possible and mixing them together. And it is perfectly written, perfectly - destructively told. William Prince seems to dare you to disbelieve a word of it. And, you won't. Because of Clint.

Watch the book trailer here.
Or visit William's website here.

William Prince writes his character, Clint Buchanan as though he lived that boy's life. He may have, his occupation away from writing is corporate security; he knows law enforcement. He has put Clint in a tailor-made environment, and it reads beautifully - every bigger-than-life moment of it. So, if this is not actually an autobiography hidden within a fiction...Mr. Prince's superhuman life condensed to quick-turning pages...then it must be a biography still. I'm convinced that 'Clint' was someone Prince knew. I'll just ask. The settings are real enough. I've been there. The author mentions so many familiar places, it only helps to cement his character in my mind, as a breathing human. I like that a lot. In a place so big, they like to say it's like a 'whole other country'...and it is all known to me. The whole damned State of Texas within those pages.

Yes, the whole thing is large enough, there will be a second book, sometime early this year. After meeting Clint, you will be waiting for his return: The Education of Clint Buchanan. Watch Mr. Prince's website for news about that. Well, he's reachable in lots of places. Here, here, and here.

Do steak joints really cook steaks, big as your boots? Hell yes! You don't get out much, do you? Not out West, that's for certain. And, stop thinking they are cooked. That's city talk. Damn! You need to read The Legend of Sasquatch. It's a travel guide for non-Texans, and will teach you at least enough that you won't look too silly when you come out. Leave the dorky clothes home when you come, too. We can tell you've never worn boots, by the way you talk.

I turn the space over to my guest:

I always begin fresh with an author, hardly reading other interviews until my questions are written. I’m very curious to hear how Clint became a character in your mind. What brought him to life?
Clint was rolling around in my head for many years.  I had some very basic ideas about the character and his story (and the opening line) as early as the 1980s, but I never really thought that I could write a novel.  In October 2007, I finally decided to give it a try, and I typed the first chapter in a single sitting that really didn’t take very long.  That gave me some confidence, so I just kept writing.  Once I really got rolling, Clint kind of brought himself to life.  His story had to be told, and I was thankful to be the messenger.

How long did you write in this book?
From start to finish, it took about five months, but I was actively writing for only about three of those months.  Frankly, I was surprised that I was able to do it so quickly.

You work in corporate security. Does that mean you get to chase bad guys?
No, not really.  I don’t do a lot of chasing.  The goal of my job is to be proactive—to prevent.  If I never see a bad guy, it means I’ve done my job well, and it keeps the lawyers happy.

Do you carry a weapon? (At work; I meant.)
No, I worked briefly in law enforcement, but since then, I’ve never been required to carry a weapon as part of my job.  In fact, security directors are generally opposed to weapons of any kind in the workplace, and I practice what I preach.  If guns are required, that’s police work, and it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Do you ride a Harley?
I wish!  No, I don’t ride a motorcycle anymore, but if I did, it would definitely be a Harley.  If I sell a million copies of my novel as a result of this interview, that will probably be my first purchase.

What’s the longest you’ve lived in a tent?
Well, that was certainly off the wall!  Uh . . . I don’t know, probably not more than two or three days, and it’s been a very long time.

Are you a native Texan?
Yes, I was born and raised between the Red and Rio Grande.  (By the way, only someone who was both born and raised in Texas can claim to be a Texan.)

Remember the year the Houston Astros were in the League Championships with the Mets? (1986?) That damned final game went to nearly 17 innings. Do you watch baseball?
I remember that year, and I did watch some of that series.  As a rule, though, I don’t watch a lot of sports of any kind.  I follow sports.  I read box scores, standings, and the occasional recap.  I keep up with how my teams are doing, but I don’t have time to watch games.

The four C’s include cars, don’t they?...making that ‘five C’s’.
Joel, I’m 6-8 and about 375.  Cars don’t fit me.

How much time to do you spend at the gun range? What do you shoot?
This may surprise you, but I don’t shoot much.  When I was in graduate school, I bartered all of my guns to my roommate for rent, and for many years, I never felt the need to replace them.  I’ve purchased two firearms (a pistol and a shotgun) in the last year, and those are the first guns I’ve owned since 1990.  I’ve taken the pistol to the range three times, and all I can say is, “I’ve still got it!”

Was the competition between Clint and a few other officers based on a real event? (I know the steaks are.)
Yes, you could say that.  That particular episode in the story is a composite of real events—and, yes, I was eventually put in my place.  I was so brash during my firearms training in the police academy that my instructors gave me a baggy half-full of blanks during a night-firing exercise, and they didn’t come clean until three months later.  I spent those three months praying that I wouldn’t get into a shootout at night!  The lesson took.  My pride took such a beating that I dialed down the cockiness several notches after that.

Houston is the only place where I’ve driven 80 mph in bumper to bumper traffic. That was in the mid-80’s. Is it any better?
No, not really.  That’s just how things are in Texas.  In fact, I’d say that Dallas is even worse.

Galveston is my favorite spot to just stand and breathe. Where is yours?
I prefer the mountains, especially the Rockies.  If I could live anywhere, that would be it.  My favorite place is Rocky Mountain National Park.  It’s so beautiful that even this big Texan gets misty-eyed.

Has your wife nicknamed you Clint yet?
Only in the bedroom!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that!)  Seriously, no, she calls me “Will” just like everyone else—well, everyone aside from my blood relatives, who still use my full given name.

Was book two simmering in your mind before you finished ‘Sasquatch’ or did you begin to feel the need to write it, later?
It was always there.  I have a rough outline of a story in my head, and “Sasquatch” was only the first chapter.  I see this as a series of three to five books.

I have two boys, close in age; perfect monsters – filthy beasts. They actually leave a trail. You, have twin girls, same age as my boys. I cannot imagine the blessing. Please tell me...what is it like, to have sweet, neat, polite children?
I wish I knew! ;-) 

Where did Ruth Willis come from? She’s not just a creative bit of text, is she?
Actually, Ruth is entirely fiction.  She’s one of the few characters in the story who is a complete fabrication.

Have you been in a life or death situation before, in your line of work?

What led you into law enforcement?
I’ve always been interested in crime and criminals, and after about a minute-and-a-half in law enforcement, I realized that I was primarily interested in studying crime and criminals as an academic pursuit and not as a vocation.  Besides, police work is arguably the most complicated job in the world.  It requires multi-tasking, and I’m far too linear to be good at it.

Which is more difficult?...writing your book, or marketing your book?
Oh, that’s easy—marketing the book.  Marketing is not my bailiwick, and selling the book has been difficult.  Sales have picked up some since I started offering it as an e-book, but we’re still talking about a trickle.  I’m a long way from retiring from my day job.  I try to take inspiration from how Ron McLarty (The Memory of Running) was more or less accidentally discovered by Steven King, but it’s hard not to get discouraged.  I didn’t write the book to get rich, but I’d like to sell more copies.  I just can’t seem to get the word of mouth help that I need for it to go viral.

I ask nearly everyone if they are actively seeking traditional publishing. Are you sending out queries?
No, I haven’t started doing that yet.  I would like to, but the traditional publishing industry is essentially closed.  The door is cracked ever so slightly, and it’s tough (nearly impossible) for a self-published author to sneak a foot in that crack.  I think I need to sell a lot more copies before I could even get an agent to notice me, much less a publisher.

Were you surprised, that you had an entire novel at your fingertips?
Truthfully, once I got that first chapter out of the way, I knew I could do it.  My only real question was where to end the first one and start the second.

When presented with a larger-than-life character, in a larger-than-anywhere else setting, it stands to reason there would be more to come. But, Mr. Prince sliced out a major piece of writing with book one. It brings a promise, the second book will be outstanding. You can expect little else from Clint Buchanan.
Actually, you can hardly expect less than excellence from any Texan. They are after all, as gentle as they are grand. Except in those deserts....

Thank you Mr. Prince.  It has been a pleasure. Watch in the comments for other questions. They sometimes crop up there.



  1. Thanks, Joel! The interview was a lot of fun, and I appreciate the time in the spotlight. I'm glad you liked the book, and I hope you like the next one as well. Your support means the world to me--thanks! :-)

  2. Btw, Joel - here's a steak that makes the Trail Dust Bullshipper look small:

  3. Oho! Fun interview, boys!

    It was great getting to know more about you and your books, William! I must admit, The Legend of the Sasquach sounds like a real page-turner. I have it on my reading list!

    Now. What does a true Texan author like yourself do with a water-logged keyboard?

  4. Water-logged? Now, how did that happen--blogging from the tub again? Hope you like the book!

  5. Another captivating interview from Sir Bojangles! I think I've become a groupie. Is that a problem? :)

    Will, it was fun getting to know more about you. I bought your ebook awhile back. Sadly, it still sits on my waiting list. That's sort of like a doctor's waiting room, far too many books (people) in far too small a space. But I plan to get to it soon!

  6. I fully understand, Darcia. Whenever you get around to it, I hope you enjoy it--and the second one, too!

    Btw . . . Heather, you should know that this book contains some adult material, definitely R-rated. I've told my own daughters that they can't read it until they're 25! ;-)


You are more than welcome to leave a comment. We reserve the right to remove anything unseemly.