Sunday, 18 April 2010

A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS: Darke Bounty by Peter Averillo

At the age of sixteen most kids are studying for their GCSEs; chatting on Facebook or their mobiles or taking time out playing on a games console. True to form Chantel was no differant to any other teenager yet she was adding another string to her bow as a writer.
In her own words writing was not at the top of her agenda - she did enough of that at school. Like many of her age she did keep a diary and dabbled in poetry writing.
So why attempt a western? And in an age when young people were unaware that the genre existed.

"The challenge. I took a book to school and found a boy who did read westerns. He had not heard of the writer but when I told him that it was about the way child abuse had affected the bad guy it raised a lot of interest among my friends. I mean the writer highlighted things that affect us in the modern way of life."

So, the story itself. Three men hold up a stagecoach driven by a female known as the breed woman. It is said that it is bad luck to hold her up and that proves true as a bounty hunter catches up with each of them.
A simple story but there is so much more within the prose.
A female bounty hunter - could such a person exist?

"Yes, such a person could have existed.
The internet has been a good place to go. First off, Charlotte Parkhurst better known as Charlie or Charley Parkhurst was a female stagecoach driver though she dressed as a man to do it. After her death stagelines did take on female drivers though they were just a handful.
Then there was Sarah Skull (or Scull) who shot down twenty three men. More than Billy the Kid. Add to the list Pearl Hart the stage robber and haulage wagon driver and Belle Starr who led a bunch of outlaws. Makes me wonder if Martha Jane Canary (Calamity Jane) did more than is attributed to her.
So along those lines a female bounty hunter like Morgana Darke could have existed - but, then, as the Sheriff Rick Blaine says 'what man's going to admit to be taken by a woman.'
But then again each character has their part to play and I think that it all comes across."

What was your ideas behind the creation of your character?

" I wanted to get away from the stereotype. You know, the woman who had to rely on a man to back her up. Read books like 'Lone Star' or 'Angel Eyes' series there's always a hero there. Nor did I want a character who was some kind of sex object. Something like 'Hannie Caulder' who does what she has to after the death of her mentor. A liberated woman who was not totally feminist. A survivor.
Morgana Darke, is also half Romany gypsy. Most times a gypsy turns up in a movie or a book then they are Basque gypsies. But there were Romany's who settled in South Carolina and Tennessee and some of those moved west. Their roots go back to the 1600s and were brought to America as prisoners on the transportation system. Many were horse traders."

Why did you write under the name Peter Averillo?

"Read the story and take a look at Morgana's last lines."


Evan Lewis said...

Fine interview, you two. With your kind permission, I'd like to reprint it on my own blog at some point down the line.

Ray said...

Not a problem, Evan. Please quote anything you like.

Nik Morton said...

Helpful interview, both. Gives added insight into the story. And it also shows what can be thrown up by a little research of the period. Even if you don't have a story in mind, do some research, and usually a story will cry to be written from some aspect of your research!

Steve M said...

Great post, very informative.

Ray said...

Nik - I'm with you there. Young Pete has found another story on the net. She wants it ready for the next anthology. The first draft looks good.