When the next western anthology from Express Westerns hits the shelves it will be a remarkable collection and not only for gathering together a bunch of fine western writers between the covers, but because newcomer, Peter Avarillo is actually the pen name for a sixteen year old British girl. The Archive wouldn't mind betting that this makes her the youngest writer to have a western in a professionally published book.
Western's run in the family because Chantel Foster is actually the granddaughter of Ray Foster, otherwise known as western writer, Jack Giles.
'Westerns have always been around at granddad's house. ' Chantel told the Tainted Archive. 'Books and films. When I went to live with granddad two years ago I began to take an interest. Watching films like 'Lonesome Dove' and 'Broken Trail' I could lose myself in the story. Then I began to look at books like George G Gilman's 'Edge'. I'm not a fan. But I do like 'Herne The Hunter'. Then I read Lance Howard's 'The Devil's Rider'. Oh, my God what a book. This had stuff in it that young people could relate to. I thought if only. Just before Christmas last year I found an interesting story about a western 'legend'. And I got an idea and wrote what was to become a good story.'
Apart from her western interest Chantel is into all the usual trappings of being a teenager. I wondered what her friends thought of her western writing?
'They laughed at first' Chantel says. ' But there are some closet western interests there. One boy in my class was surprised to find another person who read westerns. At the moment only my family know that my story is going to be published. The others can wait until I have the real thing in my hand.
Me and mum went down to Swansea market today and I brought back two carrier bags full of westerns. A lot by Max Brand. I need something to read when I get home this weekend.'
The Archive applauds Chantel and grandfather, Ray for guiding her towards some pretty darn fine reading habits and hopes that other young readers can follow her example and discover the western genre. But Chantel's inclusion in the forthcoming anthology really is a remarkable achievement. Having a grandfather who is well known in the western genre meant nothing during the selection process and Chantel's story had to stand on its own merits. And this is just one of the 21 stories of the old west that will fill the book to bursting. And and of course, as announced in the previous post, western legend, James Reasoner is penning the introduction.
'Wow. It's beginning to register with me,' Chantel says, 'that all the hard work has achieved something. Granddad believed in me. So did Nik Morton and Charlie Whipple (anthology editors). I will never be able to thank them enough.
I mean I'm going to be in the same book as some of my 'heroes'.
If you had the chance to appear on stage playing with 'The Beatles' I think you might have some idea how I feel.'
Thanks Chantel but is my Fabs fixation that obvious? Anyway I may have never appeared on stage with them but the Beatles Rock Star game is out on 9.9.09 so I can at least fantasise.
The complete line up is republished below:
DEAD MAN TALKING – Derek Rutherford
LONIGAN MUST DIE! – Ben Bridges (David Whitehead)
BILLY – Lance Howard (Howard Hopkins)
THE MAN WHO SHOT GARFIELD DELANY – I P Parnham
HALF A PIG – Matthew P Mayo
BLOODHOUND – Courtney Joyner
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE – Gillian F Taylor
BIG ENOUGH – Chuck Tyrell (Charles T Whipple)
ONE DAY IN LIBERTY – Jack Giles (Ray Foster)
SHADOWS ON THE HORIZON – Bobby Nash
ON THE RUN – Alfred Wallon
THE GIMP – Jack Martin (Gary Dobbs)
VISITORS – Ross Morton (Nik Morton)
THE NIGHTHAWK – Michael D George
DARKE JUSTICE – Peter Avarillo (Chantel Foster)
ANGELO AND THE STRONGBOX – Cody Wells (Malcolm Davey)
THE PRIDE OF THE CROCKETTS – Evan Lewis (Dave Lewis)
CRIB GIRLS – Kit Churchill (Andrea Hughes)
MAN OF IRON – Chuck Tyrell (Charles T Whipple)
CASH LARAMIE AND THE MASKED DEVIL – Edward A Grainger (David Cranmer)
DEAD MAN WALKING – Ed Ferguson
The first anthology - WHERE LEGENDS RIDE is still available and is just the thing to get you in the mood for the so far untitled second anthology.