Forum Featuring Livia J. Washburn

When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?

I used to watch “Gunsmoke” with my daddy. It was one of the few TV shows he watched. I liked stories of good vs. evil where good won. That’s not always the case in real life, but it should be. Also, I liked the humor they’d work into the plots. Who can’t use a good laugh?

Who are your three favorite Western writers?

Of course first is my husband, James Reasoner. That man can write, and he always entertains! Next is Leonard Frank Meares, aka Marshall Grover, an Australian author who loved writing American Westerns. His books follow the same theme as “Gunsmoke,” with great characters, action and humor. At one time we may have had the biggest collection of his books in America. We would get big cloth bags full of books shipped over from Australia. And Len was a heck of a nice guy, which does influence my reading. So staying with the heck of a nice guy theme … Kerry Newcomb. He was another one who could add humor to his writing, and yet he could also handle action.

Which Western do you wish you’d written?

“True Grit.” How cool would it be to have John Wayne portray a character out of one of your books?

What is the most recent Western you’ve read?

“Innocent as Sin” by C.A. Asbrey. It’s a mystery Western, which I have a fondness for.

The “Desert Island” question. What are your three favorite Western books?

“Shane,” “The Ghosts of Elkhorn” and “Flint.”

What are your three favorite Western movies?

“Quigley Down Under” (Tom Selleck, enough said), “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (just because of the music), and “The Magnificent Seven” (the 1960 version directed by John Sturges).

Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?

You know this is an impossible question. Almost like asking which of your kids is your favorite. Okay, I’ll pick “Epitaph” as my favorite Western, since it was my first. Add the fact that it was written with humor as payback to Kerry Newcomb for making a character named Washburn in one of his novels a dirty, no good rascal. Of course I ended up falling in love with my dirty, no good, possum-carrying Buffalo Newcomb character. Oh, and I don’t have a favorite child. I didn’t want anyone thinking this first rule worked for that, too. They are both pretty darn amazing.

What is the most recent Western you’ve written?

That would be a Lucas Hallam short story set at the turn of the century for a Western Fictioneers anthology coming out this fall. I’ve been writing about Lucas Hallam for 35 years. The day I came up with Lucas Hallam I called James at work to tell him about the character to see if he thought it was a good idea. He said he thought it would be fun to write, but he didn’t think I could ever sell it. “Hallam” came out in the mystery anthology “The Eyes Have It,” which was the first place I submitted the novella. Now I’ve written about his young wild days, his Pinkerton life, his Hollywood riding extra/PI life and more. James was right about one thing. He is definitely fun to write. I enjoy Westerns, mysteries and humor. With this character, I can have all three. For any that have read one of my Lucas Hallam stories or novels, in my head he’s James Arness. So “Gunsmoke” did influence my career.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

No, I am back at the plotting stage trying to decide what to do next.

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?

No, no and no. I like my modern conveniences. I’m spoiled and like central air and my keyless vehicle with GPS. Now if we could go forward … I’m ready for that flying car.

Is there a question you wish I’d asked?

What part of Western fiction writing do you most enjoy?

The answer?

Research. I love reading dusty old research books and magazines.

8 Comments on “Forum Featuring Livia J. Washburn

Charles Gramlich
September 7, 2018 at 9:44 am

Enjoyed that. I need to read more of Livia’s books. So far I’ve only read a few.

Cheryl Pierson
September 7, 2018 at 9:49 am

I learn something new every time I read an interview here, Scott, and this one really made me smile. Always love to know more about Livia–she’s a very interesting person and a dear friend. Great answers! I enjoyed this!

Charlie Steel
September 7, 2018 at 11:37 am


Smart woman, short and sweet—keep them wishing for more.

As Cheryl Pierson says, “One of the good ones.” A smart, hardworking, energetic lady who gets the work done.

AND…she has helped so many with publishing their books! I for one, am very grateful.

Charlie Steel

Kaye Spencer
September 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Livia and Scott,

Entertaining responses to interesting questions. Livia, I enjoyed this little peek into your life as a writer. Thank you for that.

Elizabeth Clements
September 7, 2018 at 5:27 pm

I loved getting to know a little bit more about you, Livia, other than you’re great at creating awesome covers. I absolutely LOVE the cover you did for me and look forward to the next. I love humor in writing and appreciate it even more because it’s not always easy. I will definitely have to get some of yours. Great interview!

Sarah McNeal
September 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Loved your answers, Livia.
I’m with you on research. I can get lost in it.

You are an outstanding author and a talented artist.

All the best to you…

September 11, 2018 at 7:45 am

Thanks everyone. I’ve been having internet problems and wasn’t able to get back here until now. I appreciate all your kind words. They mean the world to me.

Nik Morton
September 13, 2018 at 4:25 am

Great interview, Livia, Scott. My wife and I are viewing the second box set of Gunsmoke and, yes, enjoy the moral tales and the humour too. Looking forward to The Ballad of Edendale, Livia, in The Untamed West anthology, which is on my TBR pile already.


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