Monday, April 16, 2012

James R. Tuck -- The Man Behind the Deacon

You don't want to meet James Tuck in a dark alley. Sure, he may be mostly harmless (to quote Douglas Adams), but he looks like he'd mug you and then write you into his latest novel as a soon-to-be corpse.

Okay, maybe that second part is correct. But what a way to go.

I met James this year at Connooga and was impressed by not only his work and work ethic, but the way he approached his stories and I just had to get some time with him to pick his brain a bit.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

It's about an Occult Bounty Hunter named Deacon Chalk. Five years ago, Deacon hunted down the thing that killed his family.  All he wants in the world is to go and be with his family. The only problem is that he is Catholic. If he kills himself it's a mortal sin, do not pass go, do not collect $200. So now he hunts down monsters, throwing himself at them, hoping and praying that one day one of them will be monster enough to take him out and send him on his way.

The first book BLOOD AND BULLETS is the night that a vampire sets him up to be killed using a wannabe vampire hunter as bait. It's a violent, bloody night as Deacon has to find out who set him up and stop whatever plans they have. The book is full of vampires, undead strippers, cursed immortals, Were-spiders, and a ton of ass-kicking.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Loss of family is huge. What it takes to drive a man into doing something completely insane like hunting monsters. Plus missing eyes. Lots of folks lose eyes in my work. It's a weird thing that I haven't figured out why I keep going to it.

Oh and priests. Priests keep showing up. And if it's not a priest then it's a backwoods preacher who deals guns or something like that.

What would be your dream project?

I want to write comic books. Specifically DC Comics. Specifically a Batman family title. Give me the Huntress and let me make her what she is supposed to be. Especially if you let me take the Huntress into the Vertigo line... hells yeah. I would also like to do a 70's throwback Power Man and Iron Fist. Back in the "Sweet Christmas!" days. Other than that I have my dream project. The Deacon Chalk books are exactly what I want to write. They are the unvarnished example of what I love in Urban Fantasy.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I am really happy with my work. It's all been pretty magical so far. You always grow, always moving forward so you look back and wish you had written this sentence different or used that word instead of the one you used, but overall, I am good to go.

What inspires you to write?

Deadlines. LOL. I am under a heavy deadline for book 3 and novella 3 in the Deaconverse so I am furiously writing everyday to make it. Hell, I don't really have time to do this interview.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I am a huge Robert E. Howard fan. I don't think I anywhere near the poetic writer he was, but as for the violence it is right up there. My books have a pretty high bodycount.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

It's a mixture of both. It's like cooking. Anyone can read a recipe, follow it, and make a serviceable meal, but give that recipe to a chef, let him add the style he has to it and you will have a gourmet meal on your hands.....well, not on your hands. You should use a fork. Didn't your momma teach you any manners?

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Book two of the Deacon Chalk series hits August 7th. It's called BLOOD AND SILVER and it'll be available everywhere. There will also be another e-novella release called SPIDER'S LULLABY that will be available from all fine e-tailers June 26th.

Other than those, just keep watch on my website ; and my social media for updates.