Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Co. virtual book tour for Rance D. Denton’s Weird Western novel His Ragged Company! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main character from the book, Elias Faust!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, and links to purchase a copy of His Ragged Company for yourself! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule here or at the top of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
His Ragged Company by Rance D. Denton
Series: The Testimonies of Elias Faust
Genre: Weird Western
Intended Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Self Published
A pissed-off warlock with a taste for revenge.
An army of sand-golems with fistfuls of magic.
A wishing well with a mind of its own.
No wonder Blackpeak, Texas never got its spot on the map.
Town marshal Elias Faust thinks that he can make any problem go away if he throws enough lead at it. The living’s easy for a lawman. Bloody, but easy – that is, until Magnate Gregdon arrives with his undead syndicate to tear the town of Blackpeak, Texas apart.
When a shootout with a pair of outlaws goes sideways, Elias Faust accidentally draws the Magnate’s attention. As if dealing with arcane sorcery, reanimated corpses, and the Magnate’s personal vendetta aren’t enough, Faust finds himself at the center of a power-struggle for Blackpeak’s eldritch secrets.
Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot more complicated.
Hunted by a cadre of sandshades and hounded by sinister spellcraft, Elias Faust may be the only bag of skin defiant enough to keep Blackpeak from being destroyed. To outlast the Magnate’s disciples, he’ll need to shoot straighter, run faster, and live longer…even if it means sacrificing a part of himself to do just that.
I’m your Huckleberry • Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation… • You’re my faaaaavorite deputy!
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/His-Ragged-Company-Testimony-Testimonies-ebook/dp/B0976H4BNL/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/His-Ragged-Company-Testimony-Testimonies-ebook/dp/B0976H4BNL/
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Name’s Elias Faust. I suppose there’s a few others with the same name out there in the world. That’s just how it happens, sometimes – folks only got so many names to choose from, and I happen to have an unlucky one. Don’t go giving it to any warlocks or spellslingers, you hear? They can do some real carnival shit with a man’s full name.
What music do you listen to?
I don’t got no real taste for music, to tell you the truth. Couldn’t carry a tune even if you put it in a saddle bag and strapped it to my ass.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
My friend Cicero gave me a copy of The Collected Works of Shakespeare that I’ve beat all to shit, gone and gotten all bloodied, but still reads pretty good. And you see this? This here’s a little enchanted tinderbox that I could do a little work and trap you in – if I had a mind to, that was.
And smokes. Yeah, frown as you want, High and Mighty, but a good smoke’s what keeps a body going now and then.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
Peggy Winters. You ever met her? Christ, that woman must be made out of mountain range, because she’s got shoulders on her like rockfaces. I’d bring her if I could; she’d just snap down a tree like a toothpick if you asked her kindly enough.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Next to soggy-bottom muffins? Not much else. Any other problem I’m liable to shoot, but you can’t shoot a soggy-bottom muffin. No, all you can do is just sit there and eat it, and regret the whole damn thing.
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
Those hard-as-nails pastries – those Fat Bastards – over at Aremeda De Santos’s. You ever had one? I’ll be sure to pick you one up. You could kill a fellow with a good swing from one. She must bake’em with stone powder or something. They’ll do a real number on your gut-works, but whenever something untoward crawls out of the shadows in Blackpeak, you’re bound to find four or five of her regulars chucking them like weapons.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you’re sick as a dog, all throwing up and the like, and you feel something hairy tickle your throat? That’s your asshole – swallow quick.
What’s your favorite animal?
Pretty partial to coyotes. They’re scrappy little bastards, and a pack of them could take down a mountain-lion without barely a blink. You stay out of their way, they’ll stay out of yours – mostly. Sure, they’re not as good as a dog on a cool winter night, but I ain’t ever taken a brain-ride inside a dog, either. Coyotes, though? I’ve seen what they think once or twice…
What do you think about Morgan Kallum, the Mayor of your town, Blackpeak?
He listening in? You sure he ain’t? Because that slippery turd’s got a curious streak wider than the crease in a working girl’s britches. I work with him fine and dandy when I must, but mostly I just stay out of his way. Whenever he can get his hands on something powerful or magical, you can be sure he’ll do whatever he can to make it his, add it to his collection.
Do you have favorite saying?
“Ain’t a big fan of plans. Most of them go awful wrong.”
What is your favorite holiday?
Sundays. Sundays are mostly good, holiday or not. Especially any Sunday where you can drink. Now those are the best.
How would you define happiness?
You expect me to philosophize with poetry, that’s Grady Cicero’s territory. I don’t have much of a way with words. But I’ll tell you this: happy is simple. Simple is happy. If I don’t have to think much or make choices, that’d make me a happy soul. Lots of busybodies out there thinking they’d go farm, they’d go find a wife or a husband, that’d make them happy – but all that does is make more work, make more heartache.
Happiness is a cold beer. Happiness is listening to crickets sneak out their holes to sing a song just before the spring breaks open wide. Happiness is breathing and knowing the people you love are still breathing too.
What are you passionate about?
Well, breathing. Because I like to do it. And if someone I care about isn’t breathing anymore, you can be goddamn sure I’m going to make sure the sonofabitch who did it doesn’t breathe much longer.
How do you feel about your government?
You couldn’t get a finer mess unless you shoved a firecracker up an undead jackrabbit’s ass.
What’s your biggest secret?
OFFER NO ANSWER.
HUMANS MEDDLE. HUMANS HAVE ALWAYS MEDDLED.
AND SHOULD THEY COME TO KNOW YOUR SECRET, IT WOULD BE THE DEATH OF THEM.
What do you hate?
MEDDLERS. CURIOUS ONLOOKERS. AND ELIAS FAUST.
What’s your biggest fear?
Jesus, this is getting dark. First secrets, then stuff I hate, now my fear? Look, I could say something like spiders or rumbling train-tracks or a gunbarrel ready to fire, but all that would be superficial.
I’d have to say not being there when shit goes down, whatever the shit might be. Being somewhere else. Being ineffective. Being alone.
What do you think your best quality is?
Besides this killer smile and an absolute refusal to stay down? Good question. I’ll get back to you on that. Maybe my best quality’s not being dead.
How would you describe the world you live in?
I can’t imagine it’s much different than yours. It’s hot as hell nine months out of the year down here in Blackpeak, Texas, and can’t seem to make up its mind the other three. Sure, we’ve got our worries – Helen Scoresby just found another shed vampire fang in her guest room the other night, or so she thinks – but just like you, we’re trying to make a living, paying our bills, finding something to make it all worth it at the end of the day.
Blackpeak’s a little pimple on the ass of the world, but thankfully, it’s the hole in the bottom of the bucket. Everything runs down here and drains through it, eventually. If there’s something terrible haunting the world, we’ll find it one of these days, and probably do as good a job as we can at sending it back to its maker.
Did I mention there’s a general store? There’s the Citizen Militia up in Crown Rock. You ever been up that way? They’ll shake you down like they’re looking for spare change if you give them a chance. If you’re particularly bored of not having sores on your crotch, there’s The Horseshoe Junction Inn, too. You might catch something, and it won’t be trout or the common cold.
Don’t let that dissuade you, though. We’re generally kind folk here in Blackpeak.
On a good day, that is.
About the Author
Husband. Son. Cat-dad. Dog-dad. Self-professed synthwave addict. Podcaster. Moonlighting actor. Historical reenactor. Martial artist. Rance’s poetry, prose, academic publications, and journalism can be found littering the Internet like time-bombs. When he isn’t writing, he is one-half of the podcast duo The Quarantine Book Club.
Rance lives in Baltimore, MD with his lovely partner and mountains of debt.
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