Way back in June 2011, I interviewed Edward Erdelac, author of the Merkabah Rider series. Now that the series has come to it's conclusion, I've posed a few more questions to the Merkabah Writer himself.
How much forward planning did you do for the Merkabah Rider series? Once Upon a Time in the Weird West seems like you had a clear picture of how the end was going to shape up even in the first book.
I think I figured out the ending about midway through writing the second book. The character progressions almost wrote themselves. There was one last minute change. Belden was supposed to die at the end of book three, but I decided I liked his secular interactions with the Rider and Kabede, and it made sense to have him there at the end.
Were there any Westerns in particular that inspired Once Upon a Time in the Weird West?
Definitely the titular Once Upon A Time In The West had an impact. I think I got the idea for the train's inaugural run as a central event from that. Blue Moon Fugate probably came from Henry Fonda's character a little bit too, as well as a character in Richard Matheson's Journal Of The Gun Years. There is a scene in the cantina when the mariachis are playing, I had characters from maybe half a dozen different westerns and movies that had an influence on the series pop up in the background.
Was there a reason you decided to ride solo and publish through Createspace for the final volume in the series?
I wasn't really happy with the quality control of the publisher. Things I had caught in editing kept making it through to the final product as well as plenty I missed. The second book, I edited almost entirely myself because the guy they assigned me just flaked. I also wanted to regain all the rights to the series. The first book's contract expires next year, and then the other two in subsequent years. I didn't want to tie up the rights to the last installment with a brand new contract. I don't know that I will self publish again if I can help it, but a couple different authors I really respected suggested I go that route if I wanted to finish the series without waiting three years for the other contracts to expire, so I gave it a shot. I ran it through two editors besides myself, so hopefully it turned out alright. It was originally supposed to have eight interior illustrations but the artist pulled out on me the month before it was due.
Any plans for a return to the Merkabah Rider universe?
I've thought about writing prequels that have been alluded to in the series - the Rider's war years with Belden, his adventure with Misquamacus which is plotted out and could probably make a novel or novella, and his first meeting with the Rev. Mr. Goodworks, but I'm not in a rush. I was approached by somebody about pitching a modern day version of Merkabah Rider to a major publisher and I came up with a way to pick up the story in the same universe with different characters (mostly - some of the immortal characters might return) in the present, but I probably won't write that unless they go for it.
What's next for Edward Erdelac?
I've got a very very dark themed western novel called Coyote's Trail coming out from Comet Press in July. It's about an Apache kid who survives a massacre and enlists the aide of a Mexican prostitute to lure out the soldiers responsible and kill them en flagrante delicto. Kind've a psycho-sexual revenge story, almost noire-ish, with no fantasy elements. I'm finishing up a novel set in World War II involving the Holocaust and Frankenstein. A couple other short story projects, and I'll be in three different Mythos-themed books this year. Nothing else really definite yet.