Weird West Author Spotlight: Katie Berry

Welcome, Katie!


I am a transplanted easterner from Ottawa, Ontario, now living for the last several decades in the beautiful West-Kootenays of British Columbia. I am a long-time writer (I wrote my first short story in grade 2) and voracious reader with a life-time fascination with all things macabre, supernatural and unexplained.

About the Claw Series

Caleb Cantrill is an Irishman whose luck may have just run out. He has two vast fortunes and can’t remember the location of either. And that’s the least of his worries. 

A gang of blood-thirsty bandits are riding north to claim his first fortune, sovereign gold, which he stole from them. His second fortune, a vast gold strike, comes with a monstrous blight attached, one he unleashed onto a small mountain town nestled in the heart of a remote Canadian valley.

Now, after running all his life, Caleb must make a stand and fight not only for his friends and fortune but also his future, knowing that if he does, he will likely die trying.

Interview with Katie Berry

Tell us about yourself – what is something readers would be surprised to find out? 

Here’s a few: I have played keyboard and organ most of my life and am now learning the piano. I have also been in a ‘local’ Broadway musical, as well as a burlesque show, and used to drive a bus for a living.

Some readers may be unfamiliar with the Canadian Old West. Could you give us a brief overview of how it is similar to and different from the American Old West?

The Canadian Old West shares many similarities to the American Old West and they developed in similar ways. Like the US West, numerous gold and other metal strikes played out across BC’s interior from the mid-1800s to the early twentieth century all of which helped to forge the province, quite literally. And just like south of the border, there were bandits and claim jumpers and bloodthirsty madmen hiding in remote cabins in the woods. The differences between the two countries mainly come from the continued British authority that Canada experienced until its confederation in 1867, while those of you in the USA had shed that influence back in 1776. 

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? 

Since its settling by Europeans, the North American west has been full of numerous strange and unexplained happenings on both side of the border. With the vast amount of open spaces, there’s plenty of room for things that go bump in the night, and the day, and the afternoon –things that might go rarely seen, or perhaps never. This has resulted in many tales and legends of strange happenings and creatures, from the Wendigo and Bigfoot to Tommyknockers and Ogopogo; there are just so many strange things wandering around out there that a writer is spoiled for choice. 

What inspired you to write this story?

It didn’t start out as a Weird West story. The original CLAW started out as a modern-day horror/thriller set in Western Canada where I live. But when it did well, I wrote a sequel, CLAW Resurgence, also set in modern times. But that got me to wondering what it was like back when it was a wild west gold town, with monsters as well of course. That resulted in the tales of Caleb Cantrill and Kitty Welch, whose novelettes sparked the idea of the CLAW Emergence trilogy.

If you were living in the Weird West, what kind of character would you be?

I would run a blood bank and half-way house for vampiric cowboys trying to shed their addiction to cattle mutilations.

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

I have just finished writing a short story for an upcoming weird west horror anthology called Shut Up & Bleed helmed by the prolific B.L. Blankenship. As well, I am currently working on the next two novels in the CLAW Emergence prequel trilogy with the next one coming in late spring and the final in late summer. By late fall, I will be releasing the final novel in the present-day CLAW series, CLAW Resurrection. After that, I will be writing a new Lively Deadmarsh novel, my other paranormal, Western Canadian series which I write.

What are you reading right now? 

The Maw by Taylor Zajonc, The Growth by Adam Hulse, and Christopher Coleman’s They Came with the Rain, along with numerous insightful books about advertising on Amazon by Robert J. Ryan.

Favorite Weird Western Book/Movie/Comic (or other medium)?

Favourite weird west movie: Westworld (which covers the movie and the book question). I love Yule Brynner’s portrayal of the unstoppable cowboy from Michael Crichton’s novel, which, as you may know, is something which influenced James Cameron’s creation of the Terminator, I would be willing to bet. And I would like to add my own book series, CLAW to my favourite western-themed novels, especially the new CLAW Emergence novels since they’re set in 1895 in the middle of the Western Canadian gold rush. Monsters, gold, greed and gore, what more could you want?

Favourite weird west comic: DC’s Weird Western Tales that ran through the ‘70s and into the early ‘80s. That always had some of the most intriguing stories to spark the mind of an impressionable youth like myself. I read a few Jonah Hex comics as well, but was not drawn to them like the Weird Western Tales.

Anything else you’d like to add about writing or the Weird West?

I would just like to tell people that are thinking of becoming a writer that they need to believe in themselves and their abilities, and to not let other people’s opinions get in the way of their creative vision. If you have a story to tell, tell it to the best of your ability, and then edit and polish it until it shines. And though I realise a lot of people look at being ‘traditionally published’ as the end-all and be-all of writing, I don’t believe that is the case anymore. With the advent of self-publishing, anyone can put their story out into the world. Gone are the days when you had to rely on an agent or submissions editor who might not ‘get’ your novel. If you believe in your story and wrote it with passion and care, it will find an audience. I always hear the tales of people who had their manuscript rejected dozens of times only to have one insightful editor decide to finally run with it, and to then have it be successful. Without self-publishing I believe the world would be a far less interesting place, with many amazing stories never seeing the light of day.

Learn more about Author and His Weird West Tales:

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