In The Redhead, the Rogue and the Railroad by Jane Jago, immerse yourself in a Wild West that never was. Journey across the land with Mir and Cuchilo as they pick apart interconnecting conspiracies that threaten their country and their lives.
Three days later a modest buckboard drawn by a single horse made its way along a dirt road that ran between stockyards full of bawling cattle. Closer to the buckled iron railroad track, there were a couple of warehouses and a dispirited looking hotel. The driver pulled up outside the building and tied his horse to the hitching rail. He was a big man, with a shock of white hair and the beginnings of a belly. His companion, who he handed down from the carriage with exaggerated care, was a small woman who wore a black dress made high to the throat and a close bonnet. As her feet hit the pavement she looked up into his eyes and spoke very quietly.
“Sheesh Cuchilo. How in hell do women manage to put up with dresses?”
He laughed. “I dunno Miri, but just you hush up now. A wife should be seen and not heard.”
Promising herself he would suffer for that one at a later date, Mir put her game face on and followed meekly at his heels.
The sour-faced man behind the desk ignored them and carried on reading a dogeared book.
Cuchilo bashed one big fist on the tarnished bell that sat on the desk. The clerk bestirred himself sufficiently to look up.
“Chu want, mister?”
“A room for the night.”
“You want a room?”
Mir knew how difficult it was for Cuchilo not to grab the rude clerk by his scrawny neck and shake him until his bulging eyeballs rattled. But he did well, merely leaning on the the desk and clearing his throat.
“This is a hotel ain’t it?”
The clerk blinked twice and pulled a leather-bound volume towards him. “I guess we got a room if you put it like that.” He opened the book and pushed it across the scarred wood. “Sign here. Name and add-ress if’n you got one.”
Cuchilo took up the chained pen and wrote.
When he finished the clerk glanced at the page.
“Reverend Green, huh? That’d be your summer name then.”
Cuchilo eyed him and he sort of shrunk into the collar of his grubby shirt.
“Summer, winter. Don’t make no difference to a wandering preacher.” Cuchilo sounded amiable enough, but Mir reckoned the clerk had about a minute to start finding his manners. That worthy must have noticed too, because he spoke with a good deal more civility.
“That’ll be sixty-five cents for the room with another twenty-five to stable your horse.”
Cuchilo flipped him a yellowboy. “Keep the change.”
The clerk handed him a key.
“Room ten. It’s out back. Stable’s out back too. You can get food at Rosa’s Cantina down by the railroad.”
Then it seemed as if he had run out of words because he hunched a shoulder and went back to his book.
A Bite of… Jane Jago
How much of you is in your heroine?
Other than her being younger, prettier and far more capable than me we might be twins.
Facing your demons? How much of what you write could be classed as therapy?
It would be nice to be interesting and claim that I write to exorcise trauma, suffering and unluck. However that would be a big fat hairy fib. All I ever intend to do is tell a story in the most accessible manner possible.
Is it important to include all shades of belief and sexual orientation in a book?
No. But it is important to include the possibility of all shades of belief and orientation.
Why do you write?
Because I can’t not write. I just like the process and the honing of the craft. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
And finally: Chips (fries) or pasta?
Chips. Obviously. Anybody who can seriously ask that question can never be included in the ranks of my intimates as we rampage through life frightening the young with our elderly enthusiasm and total lack of f**ks to give.
Jane is a genre-hopping pensioner whose writing is informed by an attitude that has been referred to as ‘a bad influence’ and an inability to stand on her sense of humour.
Don’t read her books if you are easily offended by the reality of the human condition. You can find her on FaceBook, Twitter or this blog.