Weird West Author Spotlight: Catherine Lundoff

Welcome, Catherine!

Catherine Lundoff is an award-winning writer, editor and publisher. She is a recipient of a 2021 Ladies of Horror Fiction Writing Grant and the Author Guest of Honor at Marscon 2022. Her books include Silver Moon, Blood Moon, Out of This World and Unfinished Business and, as editor, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). Her short stories and essays have appeared in such venues as Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives Vol 4, Fireside MagazineNightmare Magazine, the SFWA Blog and several World of Darkness anthologies and games. She is also the publisher at Queen of Swords Press and teaches writing classes at the Rambo Academy and Clarion West Online. 

Learn more about Catherine at her websites www.catherinelundoff.net and www.queenofswordspress.com or on Twitter at @clundoff.

Queer Weird West Tales

About “Grimwood” in Queer Weird West Tales

Mavis Travern has come to Grimwood on the steam coach looking for a way to quench her grief and bring her beloved Enid back from beyond the grave. She meets a woman named Sam on her way into town and soon learns that Grimwood has a monster walking its streets. She’ll need to work with Sam and the townsfolk to stop it before it’s too late.

Description of Queer Weird West Tales, edited by Julie Booza:

Frontiers have always attracted the Other – where they find that the Other is always already there. These 22 stories explore what happens when queer characters encounter weirdness on the edge of the worlds they know.

Authors include: Julie Bozza, J.A. Bryson, Dannye Chase, S.E. Denton, Miguel Flores, Adele Gardner, Roy Gray, KC Grifant, Peter Hackney, Bryn Hammond, Narrelle M Harris, Justin Warren Jackson, Toshiya Kamei, Catherine Lundoff, Bunny McFadden, Angus McIntyre, Atlin Merrick, Eleanor Musgrove, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Lauren Scharhag, Sara L. Uckelman, and Dawn Vogel.

Interview with Catherine Lundoff

Catherine Lundoff
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? 

My story in Queer Weird West Tales is actually my first foray into writing Weird West stories, though I’m certain it won’t be my last. I do write other fiction with historical settings, including 3 Sherlock Holmes sequels and a series of stories about a f/f pirate and spy couple in the 18th century Caribbean. Weird West is fun too, though! So much room for interesting possibilities and plot lines. I’m a big steampunk fan so there’s a lot of crossover there too. I think something that those of us living in the here and now fail to grasp is how diverse the American West was – you’ve got people from all of the world gathered together in one large geographic, many “cowboys” weren’t white or boys, for that matter and a lot of the things we learned in history classes were, shall we say, skewed. From a writing perspective, there some great story fodder in that time period as a result.

What inspired you to write this story?

I’m fascinated by the kind of scope you can get for a story when you take something that readers think they know (the American West, in this case) and pull in the supernatural. It creates the fascinating connection between the familiar and the unknown, which I think is the essence of good horror and good fantastical fiction, in general. Most of my characters are either explicitly or implicitly queer so that’s a pretty regular feature of my fiction. I’m also fascinated by turn of the century spiritualism and mediums. There is a direct women’s history line between the spiritualist movement in both England and the U.S., the abolition movement and the women’s suffrage movement because women learned to give speeches and organize, then applied those skills to other causes. It’s a thing I like to play with and in this case, it’s my jumping off point.  Mavis has come to Grimwood because she’s exhausted her access to mediums and she’s heard that there’s a witch woman in town who can help her. And we go from there.

Are there any other writing projects you’re working on?

I have an f/f fantasy novel in progress that I’m serializing on the Queen of Swords Press Patreon  – it’s about a cast of characters in a city where each form of Death is personified (the Death of the Blade, etc.) and someone has control of the Deaths. I’m also working on my next menopausal werewolves novel, Blue Moon. I also need to get to work on some new short fiction too!

What are you reading right now? 

A mix of reading for pleasure and manuscripts for editing, which is how my reading generally shakes out these days. I’m also reading a book on Gothic style to prep for my October Gothic horror class. Fun reads, but nothing currently set in a Weird Western milieu. I’ll have to change that now I have my ARC copy of Queer Weird West Tales!

Favorite weird west movie/book/comic/etc. and why?

TV show: Wynonna Earp (runner up: the original Wild, Wild West)

Book: Wireless and More Steampowered Adventures by Alex Acks

Comic: Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.

All three of these hit my sweet spot for strong, complex women fighting and embodying supernatural forces. The Western setting makes them feel familiar, but the stories themselves go off in some fascinating and totally unexpected directions. Wynonna Earp is a fun Syfy show (also on Netflix at the moment) about a pair of demon-hunting sisters who are descended from Wyatt Earp of OK Corral fame and possess his demon-killing gun. Lots of great queer rep, excellent world building and often pretty funny. Wireless is a book that I published through Queen of Swords Press and it is an excellent series of linked steampunk novellas set in an alternate American West. The first book is more steampunk, the second is more Weird West and features fast-paced adventures, zombies, railroad pirates and more. Pretty Deadly is about Death’s daughter who rides a horse made of wind and travels the West in different time periods seeking retribution against supernatural and mundane foes; the artwork is also gorgeous.

Learn more about Catherine Lundoff:

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