Rachel Aaron is the author of twenty-plus novels and the bestselling nonfiction writing book, 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, which has helped thousands of authors double their daily word counts. When she’s not holed up in her writing tower, Rachel lives a nerdy, bookish life in Denver, CO, with her perpetual-motion son, long-suffering husband, and far too many plants. To learn more about Rachel, read samples of all her books, or to find a complete list of her interviews and podcasts, please visit rachelaaron.net!
About The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow
Deadwood meets Lord of the Rings in this Epic Fantasy of the West!
Hungry darkness, haunted guns, tunnels that move like snakes—the crystal mines of Medicine Rocks, Montana are a place only the bravest and greediest dare. Discovered in 1866, the miraculous rock known as crystal quickly rose to become the most expensive substance on the planet, driving thousands to break the treaties and invade the sacred buffalo lands of the Sioux. But mining crystal risks more than an arrow in the chest. The beautiful rock has a voice of its own. A voice that twists minds and calls unnatural powers.
A voice that turns men into monsters.
Mary Good Crow hears it. Half white, half Lakota, rejected by both, she’s forged a new life guiding would-be miners through the treacherous caves. To her ears, the crystal sings a beautiful song, one the men she guides would gladly burn her as a witch for hearing. So, when an heiress from Boston arrives with a proposition that could change her life, Mary agrees to push deeper into the caves than she’s ever dared.
But there are secrets buried in the Deep Caves that even Mary doesn’t know. The farther she goes, the closer she gets to the voice that’s been calling her all this time. A voice that could change the bloody story of the West, or destroy it all.
Interview with Rachel Aaron
Tell us about yourself – what is something readers would be surprised to find out?
I’m super nerdy! But that’s not a surprise to anyone who’s read my stuff. I was raised in a nerdy household that loved Fantasy novels and Babylon 5 and I just kept going from there. I draw inspiration from all over and combine my favorite parts of everything into my novels.
Westerns are a new frontier for me (har har), but my husband has always loved them. One he got me reading and watching as well, I was hooked and knew I had to blend them in with everything else. The result was Mary Good Crow!
What is it about the Weird West genre that draws you to it? What are your favorite aspects or examples of this Under-appreciated genre?
The thing I love most about the West, Weird or Otherwise, is the hope. People moved West with their dreams leading the way. That ambition to get rich or start a new life by just the sweat of your brow is the quintessential foundation of the American Dream. It’s powerful, powerful stuff, and it was all built on a lie. The American government signed treaties and then let the settlers do whatever they pleased. Even people who thought they were obeying the law often had no idea they were settling on stolen land, which made everyone feel like the victim when it came to conflict.
It’s just such an interesting and heady time full of larger-than-life personalities and heroism, how could anyone NOT want to write about it? And the mess just gets better once you add magic or ghosts or any other fantastical elements. It really is just the most fun.
What inspired you to write Mary Good Crow?
“The Great Sioux War, but with MAGIC!” That was it. We were playing a game where you add “in space” or “with magic” to any existing idea to see what accidental brilliance we could create (Iron Chef, in space! Murder She Wrote, with magic!) and the idea just popped out. Once I had it, I knew I had to write it, and everything else just followed along.
If you were living in the Weird West, what kind of character would you be?
An Easterner. Seriously, the more I learn about the West, the more amazed I am that anyone survived. It was a dirty, unfair, cut-throat place, and adding the Weird element usually only makes things worse. I would never ever ever want to live there, but damn if it wasn’t beautiful.
Are there any other writing projects you’re working on?
Mary is my baby right now. I just finished the second book in her series and am already sketching out the plot for the third. I tend to only work on one thing at a time, so hopefully I can get this out to fans quickly and we can all enjoy the wild crystal ride! I know I’m loving it!
What are you reading right now?
I’m working my way through THE HEART OF EVERYTHING THAT IS by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. It’s a nonfiction book about the Lakota chief Red Cloud (of Red Cloud’s war). I got it for research purposes, but the writing is really pretty and his life was super dramatic, so I just kept going. I love me a good lyrical non-fiction book, though, and this one definitely fits the bill while keeping me honest about my historical details.
Favorite weird west movie/book/comic/etc. and why?
It might be the basic choice, but I really loved THE GUNSLINGER by King. The man sells a million copies of everything for a reason.
Anything else you’d like to add about writing or the Weird West?
Only that I’m sad more people don’t read it. Where else can you combine High Fantasy ideas with gunfights and have it all make sense? The gunslinger is America’s version of the lone swordsman, and who doesn’t love a lone swordsman story? Especially a magical one!
Seriously, we need more of these stories in more styles so more people can realize what a freaking cool thing they’re missing out on.
Thanks for having me! If you’re a fan of Weird West, Fantasy West, or just magic and sixshooters, I hope you’ll give THE LAST STAND OF MARY GOOD CROW a try!