When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?
I was raised around Westerns. Both my mom and dad watched them. This was in the 1950s when they were so popular. Saturday mornings were spent watching all the Westerns on the first TV we got. Even after I left home, Mom and Dad subscribed to the Western channel and watched all the old shows again. Today, in addition to writing Westerns, I enjoy reading them and watching the movies. It’s hard to get away from your raisin’.
Who are your three favorite Western writers?
Louis L’Amour, Johnny Boggs, Mark Henry, Larry McMurtry, Craig Johnson, C.J. Box, Tony Hillerman (that’s seven, sorry).
Which Western do you wish you’d written?
“Shane,” “Lonesome Dove,” the “Longmire” series and all those by C.J. Box, among others.
What is the most recent Western you’ve read?
“Mojave” by Johnny Boggs.
The “Desert Island” question. What are your three favorite Western books?
Anything by L’Amour, “Killstraight,” “To Hell and Beyond,” the “Longmire” series and “Riders of the Purple Sage” are some favorite fiction books. “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” “The Oregon Trail” and “Dodge City” are some favorite nonfiction ones. (Are you beginning to see a trend here? Not that I can’t count — I just have lots of favorites.)
What are your three favorite Western movies?
“The Searchers,” “Red River,” “Hostiles,” “The Cowboys,” “True Grit,” “How the West Was Won,” “Stagecoach,” “High Noon.” (See? Still carrying on that trend.)
Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?
“One Last Chase” because I can identify with the older protagonist and his desire to get his granddaughter back. I’m in his age range and have granddaughters. Sadly, this one didn’t really seem to be favored by readers. Of course, if I were totally honest, I would say the one I’m working on currently, whichever one that happens to be. I tend to get very involved in the stories I write, so each one becomes my latest favorite.
What is the most recent Western you’ve written?
“The Unwanted” was just published. Be sure to go to Amazon and buy a few copies. I need the money; I’m retired and living on a fixed income.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
I’m going in a little different direction with a protagonist that isn’t like my usual ones. I don’t have everything solidified just yet, but it will be a good book. In a recent edition of Roundup, the magazine from Western Writers of America, I read an article about Western topics that aren’t written about very much. I’m working on one of (actually, two of) those topics in this next book. This one is about a slave boy who is captured by the Sioux and becomes one of their most trusted medicine men.
I keep asking myself, is this the one that’s gonna be a movie? That’s my ultimate goal in writing, other than to make each book one that meets my readers’ expectations.
If you could go back in time, what would be the time and place in the Old West you’d like to have lived in for a year?
The 1850s when the wagon trains were going to Oregon and California. What an adventure! It would be interesting to see if I have what it takes to make that kind of trip.
Is there a question you wish I’d asked?
What is the future of Westerns?
I think there will always be a desire on many people’s parts to know about the time in our country when we took chances, when we saw something we wanted and went after it. Sure, there were things that happened that were not good — the decimation of the Indians for example — but overall, it was a time in our country’s history that showed what we’re made of. We desperately need to be reminded of that now. People need to remember that we’re capable of great things. We have, unfortunately, become complacent and soft.