Ep 40 Vigilante justice with author David Heska Wanbli Weiden

‘People come to me all the time and tell me about the metaphors I built in, and I tell them, “Man, I just threw it in there.”‘

David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation and the author of Winter Counts. His debut novel, Winter Counts was the winner of the 2021 Thriller Award for Best First Novel, the Spur Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel, the Barry Award for Best First Novel, the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, and the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing. He lives in Colorado.

Winter Counts is the story of Virgil Wounded Horse, a hired vigilante on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Through a compelling crime story, David reveals the profoundly broken criminal justice system on American reservations.

In episode 40 of James and Ashley Stay at Home, we ask David what it means to be a Super Indian (and discuss the term ‘Indian’ in the American context), his starting place for the novel’s narrative, Lakota and Indigenous cuisine and food culture, and the surprising and heartening reader responses to the book.

Plus, if you’re ever in Nebraska, David recommends checking out Carhenge, a replica of Stonehenge made of out actual cars. Seriously.

Books and authors discussed in this episode:
– Jim Thompson, US noir author
– Don Becker, Denver comedian
Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby
These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall
They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice
The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville
– The Shadow House by Anna Downes (our guest from episode 5)
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Listen to episode 40 of James and Ashley Stay at Home here, or on Apple podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, or your favourite podcast app, and find out about past episodes here.

Big thanks to Craig Sisterton, author of Southern Cross Crime, for recommending Winter Counts.

The best news yet

Way back in July, I was shortlisted for the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. I’m immensely pleased to share that my novella was selected as one of the award finalists and is now an e-book! It has a new title and a snazzy cover.

A thriller set in 1980s Sydney and drawn from true events, including a series of international terrorist attacks, My Name is Revenge is the story of a young man seeking justice.

My Name is Revenge fiction by Ashley Kalagian Blunt, writer
My Name is Revenge is available from Booktopia and Amazon, as well as iBooks and wherever ebooks are sold.

You might like to read it, particularly if you like thrillers, new insights into 20th-century history, or fiction set in Australia. It’s a novella, which means it’s short as. Plus there’s an essay at the end that delves into the story’s historical context. And I heard you saying just the other day how much you love essays!

You might like to tell your friends about it, since word of mouth is still one of the main ways people find out about new books. You could send them the link right now.

If you read it, you might like to leave a review on Booktopia or Amazon, since the number of reviews a book receives is a key factor in its success on these platforms, thanks to the magic of algorithms. Plus you’d totally be my hero.