Monday, November 7, 2011

In the Spotlight: Scott Gese

 Scott Gese AKA Christopher Scott

Today I have with me someone I’m sure most of you will know: especially if you are familiar with his Rope and Wire website, Scott Gese AKA Christopher Scott.

Welcome, Scott, and thank you for agreeing to this interview.
My pleasure, Malcolm. I don't get the opportunity to do this as often as I would like.

First of all I’d like to congratulate you on your second publication of the Rope and Wire Short Stories series which is now on sale at Could you enlighten me as to what gave you the idea for the e-Pulp, as it has now become known?

The ePulp series is a natural progression for my website, Rope and Wire. The premise for the site is to promote western authors and the western genre via the media. So far, this has been basically confined to the Rope and Wire website. I’ve been looking for a way to branch out for quite some time now. I looked into starting a traditional magazine, but found the cost to be way out of my reach. The next logical choice, to me anyhow, was to start thinking outside the box. Once I started doing that, the ePulp idea presented itself and I latched onto it. It’s a great way to promote both current western authors and the western genre to a much larger and constantly growing audience.

I totally agree with you. And when you talk about a growing audience, how do you think the younger generation sees the western, let’s say compared to the horror genre which seems to be so popular today?

If we try to compare the younger generation's current obsession with the horror/zombie genre against the western genre, there really is no comparison. Zombie's rule! I read an article the other day that stated the zombie genre generates about $5 billion per year to our economy, and that was a conservative estimate. I haven't found any statistics for the western genre. It would be interesting to see some numbers. Right now, my website statistics tell me it's basically the 50 and older audience offering the majority of support for the western genre, although I have been seeing, over the past year or so, a slight increase in the 30 something bracket taking an interest. My guess is that the zombie craze is geared toward a younger audience and the middle age bracket is searching for an alternative. This is something we need to take advantage of.
A very good point indeed!
What do you think of the western genre today, and what do you think the future holds for the western and the e-Pulp?
You’ve hit my sweet spot with this question. I’ve written about this subject on several occasions and could go on, but will try to keep it brief. My basic opinion is that our society has drastically changed since the early to mid 1900’s, what I would consider as the heyday of western fiction. Life was less complicated back then. Things like honesty and fair play were pretty much the norm. Things like ethics were understood and most people adhered to them in one form or another. The western genre tends to follow after those things.

The problem I see is that today’s society in general, no longer holds itself to as high a standard, and such things such as honesty, fair play and ethics have taken a back seat to the more complicated and competitive nature of the current generation. And because of it, the western genre has suffered.

I think the genre is definitely down for the count, but not out. We do see glimmers of life coming out of Hollywood from time to time, and there are some great western authors out there who do have large followings. 

My belief is that at some point the western genre will be “rediscovered”, and new life will be breathed back into it. Until then, we need to use all the modern tools we now have at our disposal and continue to put the genre up in front of people.

Pulp magazines were hugely popular in their day, and reintroducing them in an electronic version is one avenue that hasn’t been exploited yet, but needs to be. Rope and Wire is leading the way on this front with its Electronic Pulps, ePulps. I believe they will catch on, and not just in the western genre. 

With the ever increasing popularity of the eBook, where sales were up by 150% this year, and saw the rapid decline of the paperback … do you find it hard adjusting to the digital age of reading? 

I don’t find it hard to adjust to the digital age of reading at all. The writing is on the wall, so to speak. Just take a look at history. Television took the place of the radio. The computer is slowly taking the place of the television. We went from vinyl records to eight track tapes to cassettes to CD’s to mp3’s. Now we are going from hardbound books to eBooks. There will always be a certain number of people who refuse to give up the old ways, and that’s fine with me. I admit I still like holding onto a book from time to time. But as the older generation passes on and the newer generation comes of age, the vast majority of people will be using eReaders. You can’t pretend it’s not happening. If you do, you’ll be left in the dust like so many recently emptied Borders book stores. 

Yes, the Borders store in my hometown has just recently closed its doors for the last time. So sad!
Okay, let’s move on and talk about your writing.  When did you decide you wanted to become a writer? 

This is a tough question. For me, it has been more of an evolution than a clear cut decision. It began in earnest about six years ago when I started a website called, Rope and Wire. The site was a blank page that needed to have some content on it if I expected it to get off the ground. I convinced a couple of authors I know to add a story or two, but realized quite quickly that if I wanted the site to succeed, I needed more content. So out of necessity more than anything else, I started writing my own stories. I wouldn't go so far as to say I was really good at it, at least technically, but I always thought I could tell a good tale. This is the point where I realized I actually enjoyed writing and wanted to continue learning the trade. Maybe I'm being too modest, but I feel I still have a long way to go before I would consider myself worthy of being called a writer. My work has definitely improved over the past six years, but right now, I feel I'm still in a learning mode, and still wanting to be a writer. 

Did anyone encourage you to write, and if so whom? 

I wouldn’t say I was encouraged to write by any individual, at least in the beginning. I think it was more self motivation. There are writers in my family including an Uncle who is a well known published author, and a brother who also writes. I think seeing others, especially those close to me being successful at writing, motivated me more than anything.

I probably get more encouragement now that I’ve been at this for awhile and have some decent work out there. Author Cody Wells, (Malcolm Davey) is turning out to be a good friend who has been encouraging and helping me quite a bit. People are beginning to see that I actually have some talent. Family and friends have been the most skeptical, but now that they’ve had the opportunity to read my work, they’re starting to come around. I’m beginning to get some good feedback from them, which is always nice. 

Thank you … Tell me, what is the biggest challenge for you when writing a western?

I think researching what I’m writing about is my biggest challenge. I’m also a woodworker. When I build a project, I don’t draw out elaborate, detailed plans before I start. I know what I want to build and other than a scrap of paper with a few crude measurements written on it, I don’t plan much in advance. I just do it. I tend to write my short stories the same way, and it seems to work for me. I’m in the process of writing my first novel and I’m finding out I can’t do this project the same way. There’s much more planning and research involved. My notes have to be much more detailed. There just seems to be a lot of preliminary work, and for me, that’s a challenge. I’m sure this is true concerning any genre, not just the western. 

Now that you’ve mentioned writing your first novel, I’m sure you’ll find it a great learning experience, and without giving too much away, can you tell us a little about your book’s protagonist, plot etc? 

Basically, the book is about how some people tend to be their own worst enemy. I'll leave it at that. 

Don’t want to give too much away, eh! Well, with the book being in its early stages, I can relate to that. 

After reading a handful of your short stories, there always seems to be a twist at the end. Is this something that you purposely set out to do? 

Yes, It’s a conscious decision to put a twist at the end of some of my stories. They don’t all end with a twist, but I think it’s an important element that shouldn’t be completely overlooked. A publisher I know once told me that the twist at the end of my stories reminded her of the American writer, O. Henry. It was a wonderful compliment. 

Yes, it’s always nice when someone compliments you in that way. What appeals to you about the western genre? 

I grew up in the 50’s when Hollywood westerns were at their height of popularity, so western movies and television shows were part of my formative years. The openness of the country appeals to me as well as the smell of barns, horses and hay. I have relatives on my side of the family who are farmers and my wife has cattle ranchers on her side, so I’ve been around both and can easily relate to these things. The exposure naturally makes it easier for me to write about the west. 

I know how important it is to have your family's support, especially from your partner.  I personally get a lot of feedback, suggestions and moral support from my wonderful partner, Sherry, who takes an active interest in all of my writing.  Can you tell us how your partner and family support and encourage you? 

My wife, Rita, gives me quite a bit of moral support. She does proof read some of my work and encourages me at times when I wonder if it's all worth the effort. 

As I mentioned earlier, I have an uncle who is a published writer. His name is Dave P. Fisher. He's been very supportive of my website, Rope and Wire, and there are others, outside of my family who have given me some really great support in both my website and my writing. I can't leave out all of the many writers who have contributed stories and poetry to the Rope and Wire website. Without their support, none of this would be possible. 

There are some authors who base their characters on people that they know. Have you ever done this and if so, do those individuals know they have been written into a story?
To be perfectly honest, no, I’ve never done this. As a fiction writer, I base all of my characters on what my imagination can come up with. I came across this great ball cap recently. Across the front it says “I Make Stuff Up”. It was so perfectly appropriate, I had to buy it. 

Is there a western which you wish you’d written, and why? 

There are a lot of great western’s out there, written by some great western author’s. The book I wish I’d written is the one I haven’t written yet. I want to write my own great western novel.

That, my friend is a brilliant answer, and talking of novels, can you tell us some of your favorite western authors you are reading at the moment? 

I collect old westerns from many different authors, some you may not have never heard of. The one I just finished is called, 'Circle C Moves In' by Brett Rider. I've enjoyed reading books by authors such as Zane Grey and Max Brand, but also lesser known authors such as Peter Dawson and Stewart Edward White. 

I do know of Brett Rider, but I must confess I’ve never read any of his books. 

With the release of Rope and Wire Short Stories Vol.2, with ten wonderful traditional stories by some of today’s creative writers, several of whom I might add are award winners,  do you have anything planned for a Christmas Special just like the Pulps of yesteryear? 

That’s a great idea, but I think it’s too late in the year to put something like that together. I’ll plan on it for next year. 

Well, I for one will look forward to it. 

Now to roundup the interview, Scott, I would like to thank you once again for chatting with me today and I wish you every success with future ePulps. 

Thank you, Malcolm. It's been a pleasure.

If you like anything western, books, movies, music etc. Then I highly recommend you join the Rope and Wire social side, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll meet some great, helpful, friendly people just like you. 
Scott is one of the nicest guys I know, and I’m sure if you have any questions about Rope and Wire, he’ll be more than happy to answer them.

ROPE and WIRE is a gathering place for Western Writers, Cowboy
Poets and Old Western Movie Buffs.

Here is their opening statement:
If you have an interest in the American West you’ve come to the right place. Relax, stay awhile, take your hat off and make yourself at home. Read a western story or two. We have a barn full.

You’re more than welcome to roam around some. Click a few buttons and see where they take you.

Follow this link for the main Rope and Wire website:

Follow this link for the social side of Rope and Wire:

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