When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?
We didn’t have many books when I was growing up, and I only got to visit the library once in a while. Fortunately, my brother-in-law, Roger, was a big reader. Roger lived only a mile away; the library was 6 miles away. Between the ages of 10 and 14, I borrowed every book Roger had. I read what Roger read, which was mostly John D. MacDonald and, especially, Louis L’Amour. I still love both those writers today, but it was L’Amour’s exciting tales of lawmen, cowboys, gunfighters and explorers that eventually made me want to write myself.
Who are your three favorite Western writers?
I like a lot of different Western authors, but L’Amour remains a favorite. Ed Gorman is right up there with him. James Reasoner is in that mix too.
Which Western do you wish you’d written?
Good question. I’ll say, “Lonesome Dove,” by Larry McMurtry. It’s not my favorite Western novel, but I admire many things about it. It would have been a lot shorter if I’d written it, though.
What is the most recent Western you’ve read?
Actually, the very latest one I read was the Western flash fiction collection “A Dark & Stormy Night,” which you put together. I have a story in there under the Tyler Boone name. I really enjoyed reading these short but hard-hitting tales. Before that, it was “Deadman’s Road,” a weird Western by Joe Lansdale.
The “Desert Island” question. What are your three favorite Western books?
That’s a very hard question because I’d like to choose a hundred. Being forced to pick, however, I’ll take “To Tame a Land” by Louis L’Amour, which is the book that I’ve reread more than any other. Then there’s “No Survivors,” by Will Henry, a story about a white man who has “gone native” and ends up at Custer’s Last Stand. Finally, I’d take “Apache Tears” by Robert MacLeod, basically a revenge story but one that really captured my emotions.
What are your three favorite Western movies?
That’s a much easier question: “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “Tombstone.”
Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?
Another hard question. I love them all, for various reasons. I guess I’ll say, “Cold in the Light,” which was the third book I wrote but the first to be published. It’s not a Western but a thriller, but I can see the Western influences in it. It’s the longest and most complicated book that I’ve written. It’s the one I’ve gotten the most love from readers for over the years.
What is the most recent Western you’ve written?
I finished a Western called “The Scarred One” back at the end of 2017 and am happy to say that it has been accepted by a publisher and should be out pretty soon. It’ll be under the Tyler Boone name.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
I’ve actually completed two books in the past 10 months. Well, one book and a novella. That isn’t much when you talk to prolific writers like James Reasoner, or Robert Randisi, or that Scott Harris fellow. But it’s quite a lot for me. Right now I’m working mostly on short stories and kicking around ideas for longer works. Something will grab the reins pretty soon and I’ll be off.
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?
I’ve always enjoyed history, so there are many possible answers to this question, so many fascinating historical events that I would have loved to have witnessed — the Klondike Gold Rush, the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the great cattle drives, the buffalo herds. If forced, though, I’d pick 1881, in the town of Tombstone, the Arizona territory. That’s when the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral happened. But there were plenty of other fascinating elements to that boomtown at that time.
Is there a question you wish I’d asked? The answer?
Is there a Western novel that you didn’t think you’d like but ended up loving?
I found the book “Appaloosa” by Robert B. Parker at a used book sale back about 2010. I’d heard that Parker had turned his hand to some Westerns toward the end of his life, but I’d never bought any because I just didn’t think I’d like them. Turned out I loved this story of the characters Hitch and Cole, and immediately bought the two follow-ups, “Resolution” and “Brimstone.” “Resolution” was as good as “Appaloosa,” while “Brimstone” was weaker.