GCE Exclusive: Interview with Arianne “Tex” ThompsonAugust 6, 2014
Recently, I had the chance to chat with author Arianne “Tex” Thompson about her new book that is sure to be a big hit; One Night in Sixes, a ‘rural fantasy’ novel, and as she explains, “…it’s a cowboys and Indians story, except that the cowboy’s accidentally shot an Indian, and if the victims family doesn’t come after him, the fishmen will.” It’s also the first installment in the Children of the Drought series, and is joining the Solaris family of writers that are working hard to create exciting, innovative and inclusive science fiction and fantasy.
Are you nervous about the release of One Night in Sixes?
You know, this is going to sound weird, but I’m less nervous about the actual launch day than all the things that need to happen between now and then. I’m worried that I’ll forget to do something important, or that my friends will get sick of my spamming/attention-sucking, or that I’ll do something really stupid. I think by the time the actual launch day gets here, it’ll be a relief!
The five year journey of getting Appaloosa Elim and Sil Halfwick is over; that must be quite the relief to see all your ideas and work coming to fruition.
It absolutely is! I always find reasons to be nervous, because in some ways it’s like sending the kids off to the first day of school (what if they get in trouble? What if nobody likes them and they don’t make any friends?) But looking back at everything so far, I really feel like this book has had the best of all possible worlds – the perfect agent, the perfect editor, the perfect publisher and cover art and everything – and there’s really not one thing I could wish to be different. I am so grateful for that.
Over that five years I imagine that a lot of changes went into it.
Definitely! The biggest complaint I had from people who read the first draft was that the characters were cool and the story was interesting, but the setting felt bland and flat. Eventually, I realized that I really did have to stop and do a bucketload of research and world building – which is funny, because I think the world and the town of Sixes have turned out to be one of the book’s biggest selling points.
Oh I wholeheartedly agree with that. Did you take inspiration from anything specific when you were world building?
Absolutely! For me, the spiritual home of this book is in New Mexico. In big, eclectic cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, in little rickety old towns like Cerrillos and Madrid, and in living indigenous communities like Acoma and Taos, I am just wildly in love with the sense of living human layers that I feel out there. No matter where you visit, the history of the place feels so real and alive. More than anything, I really wanted to recreate that feeling of present-day residents living alongside the people of the past.
When I read the book I noticed a lot of parallels with other pop culture out there; Firefly, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, and Unforgiven among others, all of these elements that you wouldn’t normally see together. Were you nervous about combining these elements together originally?
You know, I was really flattered that you mentioned those in your review! I’m a big fan of Firefly and Game of Thrones, but I haven’t seen Supernatural or Unforgiven (needless to say, I’m going to have to check them out!) To answer your question, though, I think it’s way easier to introduce a story like this if you have one or two familiar-looking things that people can latch on to in the beginning. Cowboys, Westerns, fantasy, magic – the ingredients are familiar enough to get readers interested, I think. And then when the story goes totally off the rails into uncharted territory… well, hopefully by then people are invested enough to go along for the ride!
One Night in Sixes is only part one of a series; are we going to see the larger world in the next installment?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked! The short answer is yes, absolutely: Sixes takes place pretty much entirely within the town itself. In the second book, Medicine for the Dead, we’re hitting the road and venturing out beyond the city walls, into the high desert – and it doesn’t take long for our heroes to realize that they are not prepared to deal with what’s out there.
Should we brace ourselves for more Martinesque swerves?
[laughs] I’m so glad you’re not bitter about that. Well, I tell you what: I don’t intend to go on a massive main-character-murdering rampage, but I will be hugely disappointed if I can’t yank the rug out from under you at least once or twice!
Understandable. Do you have a timeframe that we can look at to anticipate the next installment?
Yes! Solaris are shooting for a release date of March 2015. That’s not guaranteed yet – we still need to see how much work needs to be done in the editorial stages – but the book’s written and I’m itching to get it out there!
Any advice you can give to aspiring writers looking to get their work on the shelves?
Oh, that’s a good one. Well, I don’t consider myself an authority or an expert, but I will say this: the people who have enjoyed my book so far really seem to think of it as something different, something they haven’t already seen a million times already. And when I think about the books my friends are writing that I’m most excited about (like the one about the 50-year-old menopausal vampire, or the alien sex diplomat!), they’re stories that are really exceptional, truly one-of-a-kind. I know it feels sometimes like it’s all been done before, but for anybody who wants to rise up and grab a reader by the ears, I think the trick is not to ask yourself, “is this a good enough ______ story”, but “what new, original things am I doing that ______ readers are going to love?”
What am I adding to the bookshelf that a hundred other books haven’t already done? What’s my contribution?
I want to thank Arianne for her time and we can’t wait to read the next installment in the series! Check out our review of One Night in Sixes here and the book is now available everywhere for you to pick up. You can also follow Arianne “Tex” Thompson on Twitter, @tex_maam.