Chuck Buda writes across multiple genres including westerns, horror, and crime thrillers. He loves to eat pizza, drink whiskey and craft beers, listen to Norwegian Black Metal and search for answers about Bigfoot and UFOs. Plus, he works very hard to fit quotes from Seinfeld or Big Bang Theory into every conversation. That’s a ton of fun in one man.
About Redwoods Rampage
James Johnson, illegitimate son of the legendary Wyatt Earp, joins the Phillips Mining Company with his mentally disabled friend, Carson. The trail takes them across the Shasta Mountains into the Redwoods, where they will work the mines to earn their keep until they figure out their next move in the Pacific Northwest.
With a nasty boss who will use any means necessary to motivate his miners, James and Carson hope to avoid confrontation. But they are headed for a showdown when the boss treats their new friend like an animal. And when Carson finds something lurking in the forest, the mining grinds to a halt. The boys need to fight all the monsters – the hairy ones in the woods and the human ones all around them.
Interview with Chuck Buda
Tell us about yourself – what is something readers would be surprised to find out?
I wear everything on my sleeves so I am not sure what would surprise folks about me. I used to sing and stage act many years ago. When I was in college, I planned to hitchhike across the country to Hollywood to become an actor. I envisioned myself following Kerouac on a warped journey to California. It never happened, but I would have been bigger than Matt Damon. It’s true. I’m much taller than him. Everything worked out for the best in the long run. Matt wasn’t overshadowed by my talent and I didn’t end up a Betty Ford Clinic tragedy.
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 Weird West genre combines horrific/fantastical elements with westerns, and that is why I started writing stories in this vein. I was exposed to horror and westerns at an early age. My father would watch The Rifleman and Gunsmoke. My babysitter would watch Creature Features on Saturday nights. I was supposed to be in bed, but I would sneak down the hall and watch over her shoulder from behind the couch. Both experiences had a profound effect on my interests going forward. Surviving in the Old West was difficult. Adding elements of horror heightens the drama of each story because it forces layers of trouble on the protagonist.
What inspired you to write Redwood Rampage?
Bigfoot is an obsession of mine which started with Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of… Fitting the hairy man into one story was a non-negotiable for me. I wanted to treat Bigfoot a bit differently than other authors have handled it. Adding more human characteristics and family dynamic to accentuate the relationship shared between the protagonists throughout the series. I really like the result of my intentions. Some readers have said it is the best book in the saga to date.
If you were living in the Weird West, what kind of character would you be?
I would love to be the quiet, lonely stranger who battles the bad guys. Who wouldn’t? But I would most likely have supernatural powers like cloaking abilities or an iron fist that sprays bullets without ever needing to be reloaded. A sort of Gatling-gun hand. Naturally, I would look like Cthulhu in chaps (ass-less thank you!) but smelling more like tumbleweed than fish. Let me make a note of this–I may have come up with a new story idea thanks to your questions. The story might have a title like “Hu-ey Lewis and the Short Fuse.” Nothing beats an ancient sea monster strapped with guns and a bad temper.
Are there any other writing projects you’re working on?
I’m currently working on a classic western adventure series called The Sentinel. Fulfilling another personal dream of mine, I am tackling the authentic western tale with my special brand of darkness. The main character is a conflicted former sheriff who battles his conscience as much as the outlaws. Surrounding the Sentinel is a bunch of outcasts that he feels compelled to care for–people who have lost their way like he has. Likewise, they look after the Sentinel since he has become their father figure. For me, this series is very emblematic of my own struggles as a man, husband, father, son, etc. While some stories are shoot ‘em up gunslinger fare, I have blended mystery and drama as well. Each book stands on its own with a different feel and I’m really proud of that.
What are you reading right now?
I am a Sagittarius, so I read multiple books at a time. Right now I am reading Man Down by Armand Rosamilia, Savage Run by C.J. Box, Lou Prophet by Peter Brandvold and Confederado by B.L. Blankenship. There are so many talented writers out there and my TBR pile grows exponentially year after year. My favorite go-tos are Edward Lee, Craig Johnson, Lane Warenski, Dan Padavona and Jeff Carson, besides the aforementioned books in progress. I like to read about Stoicism and other philosophies as well. The late Jay Wilburn (author extraordinaire) rekindled my reading interests in faith and personal growth, too. Everyone should read Jay’s work because it is complex and incorporates so much of his brilliance. The world lost a great one when he passed.
Favorite Weird West Stories and Why?
Picking favorites is difficult for me. But if we held a Peacemaker to my head, I would say Ravenous is my favorite weird west movie. Cannibalism is so dark and primal. It’s a subject that terrifies me. The original Westworld with Yul Brenner would be a close second. I have read lots of terrific weird west books by Joe Lansdale, Kristopher Rufty, Ed Kurtz and Peter Brandvold. But I have to admit I like my own books the best. I’m not trying to be controversial. I wrote the stories that I wanted to read and that is why I consider my work to be my “favorites.” It is an opinion and one worth arguing over because the rest of the authors are GREAT. All these authors deserve to be read for their contributions to the weird west genre.
Anything else you’d like to add about writing or the Weird West?
The fans of my weird westerns are a treasured band of readers. They are loyal and enthusiastic. I love to create fresh adventures for their pleasure. It’s their support that keeps me creating in the backdrop of the Old West.
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