Forum Featuring Meg Mims

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

I was in eighth grade when I went alone to the local movie theater to see “True Grit” with John Wayne. I’d always watched “Bonanza” and the Duke’s Western films on TV with my dad, but I didn’t want to miss seeing this new movie on the big screen. And boy, did I get an eyeful of the fabulous setting (hey, so it wasn’t Indian Territory — what did I know back then?), an earful of the accurate dialogue from Charles Portis’ novel, and an edge-of-the-seat experience of the action. So while I truly enjoyed Westerns on TV, that theater screen opened my eyes to truly experience the Western expanse, the violence, the adventure.

Who are your three favorite Western writers?

I’m not a traditionalist reader of Westerns, although I have read a few of the greats. But the first Western I read was written by Charles Portis, one of the greats. I also enjoy books by Loren D. Estleman and Anne Hillerman.

Which Western do you wish you’d written?

Hmm. “The Ox-Bow Incident” by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. Classic, gripping and quite sad. A study in how a mob takes over the rule of law—which is universal.

What is the most recent Western you’ve read?

“News of the World” by Paulette Jiles — an excellent adventurous Western. An incredible character, Captain Kidd, takes newspapers around to small towns in Texas and reads for dimes. He’s also saddled with a child who was once kidnapped by the Kiowa — and the novel alternates point-of-views so the reader can understand each character’s world.

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

Books – “True Grit,” “The Ox-Bow Incident” and all of the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I don’t care if people don’t consider them Westerns — I do.

Movies – “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (Newman and Redford), “The Magnificent Seven” (Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen) and “True Grit” (Coen brothers version.)

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

 I can’t choose a favorite, because every book has interesting characters for that particular setting and adventure — but I did enjoy writing Ace Diamond, the hero of the “Double” series.

What is the most recent Western you’ve written?

I’ve written a few Western-themed novellas since my “Double” series, the latest being “Winner Takes All,” which has more romance and humor than a traditional Western.

Can you tell us anything about your next book?

Right now, I’m working on a cozy mystery series for Kensington — the “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” mysteries. “Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder” (which I’m writing as Meg Macy) will be out in late September, and I’m working on books 4 and 5. But they’re set in Southeastern Michigan, although I’d love to get back to writing a Western!

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’d love to have been in Denver at the turn of the century. It sounds intriguing!

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