Monday, 3 September 2012

QUICK-FIX: Jason Hunt

Right now I’m reading …

Mostly research for the sequel to A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S GUNFIGHT. Stuff like Death on the Gallows: The Story of Legal Hangings in New Mexico, 1847-1923 by West C. Gilbreath, Massacre on the Lordsburg Road: A Tragedy of the Apache Wars by Marc Simmons, Moby Dick because my new book has a federal marshal who’s a lot like Ahab, and The Complete Lyrics of Hank Williams because…well, because I reread it every few years to remember what it feels like to be lonesome and tormented.

Three things I can see from my writing chair are …

An yellowed old map of territorial New Mexico in the 1880s

A 2x3 foot poster of the cover of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S GUNFIGHT (to remind me I’d better get my ass in gear and finish the sequel, MUCH ADO ABOUT DYING)

My beagle Lulu, tail wagging, waiting for an opportunity to distract me.

The biggest time-suck that stops me writing is …

Gainful employment.

It might surprise you but I like reading…

Old Marvel comics – and Batman from DC. It seems funny to me that these are now the subjects of hit movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the films, but there is a little nostalgia for the old days when Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk were only available on cheap newsprint – like the old pulp magazines. I feel sort of the way I felt when Springsteen went from playing bars and small venues to Born in the USA and stadiums. Something gained, something lost. So now, after watching the films, I go back to my cardboard boxes full of torn and flimsy old comic books with their action-packed drawings and timeless one-liners.

Speaking of great one-liners, I also like reading the ancient Greek writer Herodotus. I have always considered him not just the father of history, but also the father of comic books and action-adventure films. Seriously. A perfect example is Frank Miller’s 300, which was a comic before it was a movie. Miller’s version of the story and all the best lines are straight from Herodotus:

Persian:     “Our arrows will blot out the sun.”
Leonidas:     “Then we'll fight in the shade.”
Leonidas:     "Ready your breakfast and eat hearty, for tonight we dine in hell!"


The fictional character I’d most like to meet is…

It’s a toss-up between three: Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, and Robert Parker’s Spenser, the father, the son and the holy ghost of the wise-cracking, ass-kicking, hardboiled detectives. If I had a million bucks, I’d easy dump a hundred G’s to spend just one night drinking with those palookas!

One writer who should be much better known is...