Please welcome author James R. Tuck to the blog! James is the author of the novella That Thing at the Zoo, which is a prequel to his upcoming urban fantasy Blood and Bullets, and introduces his hero, Deacon Chalk. James is here as part of his blog tour, and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. The man is the coolest and has great taste, seriously, so read on and be sure to check out the review and order links for the books!
James, you’ve gone from tattoo artist to published author, with the debut of your brand new urban fantasy, Blood and Bullets! Can you tell us a bit about your journey? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Truthfully, the writing bug really hit me fairly recently. I had dabbled before, but it wasn’t until the last half of 2009 or so that I seriously applied myself to it. I spent a lot of time, a decade and a half, building my career as a professional tattoo artist. I learned skills, got some work published in magazines, worked conventions, and opened my own shop. Now I am still a tattoo artist, it’s something that is pretty ingrained in my blood and literally, in my skin, but I am also opening up my life to a career as an author and loving every minute of it.
Can you tell us a bit about Blood and Bullets?
BLOOD AND BULLETS is my ode to all things that I love in Urban Fantasy. It’s monsters and guns and action, and scares. I put a lot into this book. It’s my first and I really pulled out all the stops. But it is a dark book. I tried to pour into this book a realistic sensibility. I was like: “If all this crazy monster stuff were real, then how harsh would that life be?” The book pulls no punches.
It’s about a monsterhunter named Deacon Chalk. His family was killed five years ago and after hunting down the monster who killed them he just kept on hunting. One night a vampire tries to hire him to protect her from a vampire hunter named Nyteblade. But Deacon has one solid rule: He doesn’t work for monsters, he kills them. After enforcing his one and only rule he goes to warn this Nyteblade that the vampires are out to get him. He finds Nyteblade is the bait in a trap for him. A trap of a horde of waiting vampires.
Someone has set Deacon up.
Someone should have sent more vampires.
It’s a crazy book.
When you started writing, did you have in mind about how many books you’d like to write in the series, or will you just see where Deacon takes you?
Well, I do have the next 10 books planned out. Lol. I can see the series going beyond that. But the stuff I have outlined for the future is insane. I plan to really push the boundaries of what is out there in the world of urban fantasy.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Hands down Robert E. Howard and Don Pendelton. Both of them really influenced my early reading years and they still stick with me. Howard’s Conan books are still some of the best books written. They are excellent. Dark and poetic, with a simple brutality that works as an illustration to the nobility that you find in the character of Conan.
Don Pendelton wrote the Mack Bolan series, which still goes on but not by him. But his character is similar to Deacon. He lost his family and that drives who he is and what he does. But those early books are pretty rough. The writing isn’t very good, but the character is terrific.
What’s one of your most unusual writing habits?
I write in fits and starts. Like a house of fire for a few days and then nothing for a few days. I swing between 5-6,000 words a day to 0 words a day. Beyond that I just write when and where I can… a lot of it happens at the tattoo shop.
But I can’t write while the tv is on. Nothing with dialog, unless I want that dialog to end up on the page. Which becomes really awkward when the Missus is watching Hoarders.
If you could read a book again for the first time, what would it be?
I don’t know. I actually enjoy rereading the good stuff. I frequently make runs through the Anita Blake series, the Dresden Files, Andrew Vachss Burke series, and the book High Fidelity. So the first time again? Probably doesn’t apply to me since I love the reread. I get a lot out of it the second time because I am not so looking forward to what is going to happen. I can concentrate on how it happens instead.
What are you reading right now?
I am working through Charlie Huston’s books. They are really good, well-done crime books. I love crime books. I will write one. One day.
When you’re not busy writing (and tattooing) , how do you like to spend your free time?
I hang with the family. I love my wife and kids and dogs. We all get along great and they are truly a joy and wonderful to be around.
That and watching 24 on Netflix. Jack Bauer will save the world!
Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Well, I am knee deep in writing book 3 in the Deacon Chalk series. I also have the third e-novella to write and then I am on to something new. There will be more Deacon, believe that, but after the breakneck pace I have been writing (195,000 words in the Deaconverse in about 1 year) I am ready to shift gears and write something different. Maybe that crime novel I was talking about earlier.
As for events I have booked in Con Nooga in Chattanooga TN, Timegate in Atlanta Ga, and Con Carolinas in Charlotte NC. There are others but they still have to be finalized.
Folks can grab all the details at my website www.jamesrtuck.com
Keep up with James: Website | Twitter | Goodreads