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Oklahoma City author hopes to keep the Western alive and well



After growing up on a public library-fed diet of Western paperbacks, Sean Chandler was destined to write about cowboys when he first decided to tackle fiction five years ago.

There was only one problem: "I don't think people read Westerns anymore," the 36-year-old postal employee said. "It may be something I feel passionate about, but I'll go to a book fair or something and people will come up and say, 'Well, we really don't read Westerns.'"

Having interest in a terminally ill genre hasn't deterred Chandler from writing fact-based novels on the old frontier. Not only that, but he publishes them all himself. His third and latest is "Gospel of the Gun," which he will sign at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway.

A religious allegory wrapped inside an action-adventure, "Gospel of the Gun" marks the start of a new series starring Jeremiah Irons. Part of the Disciple Gang, he has two pistols always at the ready, one inscribed "Heaven" and other "Hell." Irons' travels begin in Tombstone, Ariz., and end closer to home in Wewoka.

The novel comes on the spurred heels of Chandler's debut, "Ebony Marshal," and its sequel, "Ebony Marshal: Bitter." All three feature black heroes and have been issued under Chandler's Branded Black Publishing imprint.

"I don't believe there's a lot of black Western novels," Chandler said. "That's part of the reason I starting writing. I had read some nonfiction books that discussed black deputy marshals (who) actually worked in Oklahoma in about 1872 to 1889, 1890. "¦ I had never heard that information before, and it just kinda fell in line with the stuff I wanted to write." "Rod Lott

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