Friday, December 16, 2011

Western Influences of Guns of Seneca 6

  The world of my bestselling book Guns of Seneca 6 is equal parts sci-fi and western.  I've described it as everything you know and love about the Wild West crumpled up into a big ball and cast out into the depths of outer space.
  People often compare the book to Joss Whedon's Firefly and are always saying how they can picture actor Nathan Fillion in the role of either Sheriff Sam Clayton or Outlaw Jem Clayton.  To be honest, I've never seen the series and wouldn't know.  These "Browncoats" certainly seem serious about it, so I must respect it.
  My personal choice for Sam Clayton would be Brad Pitt.  Not because he's a famous movie star, but because it was his turn as Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that inspired Jem Clayton.
  There are references to Jesse throughout the book.  If you know anything about the man, or have read Ron Hansen's brilliant novel, you'll see them immediately.  I thank Hansen at the end of Guns.  His influence was manifest on my decision to write the book in the first place.
  The reason I pick Brad for the role of Sam is that Brad is older now (Too old for Jem anyway), and has that sad faraway look I picture in Sam's eyes.  Truth be told, I have no idea who could play the role of Jem, but I picture someone meaner looking than Nathan Fillion.
  I initially began writing Guns of Seneca 6 with the John Wayne character from True Grit in mind for Marshal Jimmy McParlan. Just as I finished the first draft, the Cohen Brothers released their version of True Grit and it was hard to picture anyone other than Jeff Bridges in the role after that.  Jimmy McParlan was named for a real person incidentally.  James McParland was a Pinkerton detective who infiltrated the Molly Maguires in the 1870's.
  The most obvious character in Guns of Seneca 6 who is a nearly direct lift from history and the films about him is Doctor Royce Henry Halladay.  Doc Holliday is the stuff of myth and legend, and no one has ever portrayed him better than Val Kilmer in Tombstone.  People talk about pipe dreams, and I've got my fair share of them.  Craziest among them is the conversation I have with Mr. Kilmer where I ask him to reprise his role of an older Doc in Guns of Seneca 6 The Movie.
  If you're looking to understand why I chose the name Royce and spelled his last name the way I did, what can I say?  I'm a born and bred Phillies fan. (Go Fightin's!)
  Music plays a large part in any book I write. I create playlists of songs that inspire me and help set the mood for the book and listen to them while I'm driving.  The ones that stand out for me from Guns are:

  1.  "Rebel Within" by Hank Williams III 
  2.  "The Wolf" by Shooter Jennings
  3.   "F*ck the FCC" by Steve Earle
  4.  Every Goddamn Thing Ever Sung by Johnny Cash (But if I HAD to, I'd pick "Pocahontas," "Big Iron," "I See a Darkness," and "The Mercy Seat.")
  5.  "Mexican Home" by John Prine
  6.  "Jesse James" by Bruce Springsteen
  7.  "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" by Bob Dylan
  8.  "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Rage Against the Machine 
  9.  "Search and Destory" by Iggy and the Stooges
  10. "Long Hauls and Close Calls" by Hank Williams III

  I'll revisit this topic later on to talk about the sci-fi influences on Guns of Seneca 6.  Until then, do yourself a favor and check out some of the things I've mentioned here.
  PS: To read about my visit to Wyatt Earp's grave, click this link.


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