Ten Questions About Blood And Magick, by James R. Tuck
James Tuck is equal parts bad-ass and bonafide sweetheart, but when it comes to writing, he’s all business — his Deacon Chalk series is already three books deep, and here he’d like to sit in the terribleminds hot seat and answer ten questions about Book 3, Blood and Magick:
Tell Us About Yourself: Who The Hell Are You?
I’m the big scary guy at the bar who’ll actually talk to you, assuming you aren’t an asshole or trying to puke in my pockets. Hell, I’m a normal guy who just happens to write a series of books about a hyper-violent, die-hard Catholic, death wish havin’ monster fighter and his oddball crew of allies including a Were-rabbit, a Were-spider, a chain-smoking priest, and stripper with murderous ghost spiders straightline jacked into her brain. I’m a husband and a dad and a tattoo artist and a Southern boy and an asshole and a fanboy and a best friend to my dog, and a lover and a fighter.
I’m James R. Tuck, spinner of yarns, teller of tales, and professional maker up of shit.
Give Us The 140-Character Story Pitch:
Witches come to town and all Hell breaks loose.
Where Does This Story Come From?
It’s a logical progression from things that I set up in books 1 and 2 (BLOOD AND BULLETS and BLOOD AND SILVER for those keeping score at home).
But I really wanted to show Deacon’s progression, how his faith really configures in his fight against evil and how an extended, chosen family and love interest might affect his war on monsters. To really put him in a crucible and see what he’s made of. Plus, I got to really go all Hammer movie modernized with the witches. These aren’t wiccans on a bad day, these are real deal daughters of the Devil satanic witches and they are awesome!
How Is This A Story Only You Could’ve Written?
The story only works if it is told portraying both Deacon’s faith in Catholicism AND his propensity for brutal violence as a solution to all situations in an honest light. The juxtaposition of a character who honestly prays the rosary and shoots monsters in the face is something I enjoy. I work hard to get the religion and the weapons right. I busted my ass to give this book a raw honesty with everything the characters go through, no matter how brutal it is. I never pull back, never look away, never soft sell it. You need to see the brain matter on the page and I give you that right next to a tender kiss between lovers, all without a fucking flinch.
What Was The Hardest Thing About Writing BLOOD AND MAGICK?
Because the book is a result of things that happened in book 1 and 2 my biggest struggle was to write in a way that allows new readers to get on board without being lost and still not info dump for the readers who have been on board from the start. NO BACKSTORY IN THE FIRST 50 PAGES! Damn hard advice to follow, but it’s true. I held to it . . . mostly. One day the publisher will let me do a PREVIOUSLY ON: sum up section at the front of the book where I can do a quick couple of paragraphs to get new readers up to date without having to put any of it in the book itself. One day.
What Did You Learn Writing BLOOD AND MAGICK?
I learned a lot about craft. It’s the third book I ever wrote ever and I’m pleased with my progression as a writer. I held onto the things I rocked in the first two books and cut out the things I sucked ass at. I tend to get pretty repeato-James and I think I killed almost all of that this go around.
What Do You Love About BLOOD AND MAGICK?
I love the villains. The witches are both deliciously evil but at the same time have great motives for what they do. One of them will creep you the fuck out, one of them just might make you cry.
I love the new character I created in this book. (read it to find out)
I love the dialog. It’s snappy and funny in a very noir kinda way. I’m pleased.
Finally, I love that I just went THERE. Balls out, 90 MPH into a brick wall, gonzo cross-eyed crazy THERE. From the get with this series I said I wouldn’t hold back and baby in this one I really didn’t hold back. It’s all hanging out there on the page for you to see. All the sex, all the violence, all the creepy, all the tragedy, all the humor . . . everything I could put in this damn book is there.
What Would You Do Differently Next Time?
There is a crucial scene, a powerful scene, that happens. I won’t spoil it, but it is HUGE in the book and huge in the mythology of the series. I would have stayed in that scene just a touch longer, really let what happened stay in our sight as readers for a minute.
Other than that, nothing. Not a damn thing.
Give Us Your Favorite Paragraph From The Story:
She drove that midnight blade deep through the center of my chest. It slid in slick and sharp. The witch behind it rushed in, pressing close, leaning her weight into it. Her eyes were wild, spinning like loose marbles of basalt. This close I could see things rippling through the inky surface, maggots under the thin skein of a cornea. Her breath was hot on my face, carrion sweet and rotten vegetable musk like compost.
What’s Next For You As A Storyteller?
Holy shit 2013 is busy for me.
I’m finishing an urban fantasy based off the Lovecraft Mythos that is really dark and disturbing and totally kick ass. In some ways it’s even darker than the Deacon books, cutting the urban fantasy with some straight, hard-core, Ed Lee level horror.
I’m editing a Sword and Sorcery anthology from Seventh Star Press and will have a story in that.
Being part of the Outlaws Of Fiction (Me, Brady Allen, Steven Shrewsbury, and D.A. Adams) we’re doing a novella 4-pack of weird westerns.
I’m writing a not-for-public-consuption-yet collaboration with a terrifically talented, NYT Bestselling author friend of mine. It’s an urban fantasy retelling of a classic fantasy story. It is gonna rock. We are a few chapters in and it’s off the chain.
The next 3 Deacon books are proposed and in the inbox of my editor so there should also be some more crazy ass Deacon Chalk from me.
And if I find the time there is a 40,000 word YA faerie love story banging on the inside of my skull next to a post-Biblical apocalypse weird western fantasy epic.
James R. Tuck: Website