When — and why — did you first fall in love with Westerns?
I grew up with them — a Western on TV virtually every night of the week in England in the 1950s. I read the Roy Rogers, Pecos Bill and Lash LaRue comics, among others, and the Buffalo Bill annuals. And in those days there were plenty of Western movies to see at the cinema. Why? Probably for the color (except for the black-and-white TV!), the excitement, the action and the basic good vs. bad ethos.
Who are your three favorite Western writers?
I don’t have any favorites, really. Off the top of my head, I’d opt for Louis L’Amour, Elmore Leonard and Max Brand, but there are plenty of others…
Which Western do you wish you’d written?
Probably “True Grit”…
What is the most recent Western you’ve read?
“Battle on the Plateau” by Scott Harris! Before that, it was “Little House on the Prairie.”
The “Desert Island” questions: What are your three favorite Western books? What are your three favorite Western movies?
Again, I like too many to have any particular favorites; but here are some:
Books – “True Grit,” “Hondo” and “Valdez Is Coming”
Movies – “The Searchers,” “The Shootist” and “Dances With Wolves”
Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite — and why?
Of the 30 books I have written, nine are Westerns, and I couldn’t really single out any particular one. I could choose “Death at Bethesda Falls” as it was my first published book (in 2007), yet “The $300 Man” served as a useful template in my guide “Write a Western in 30 Days.” For another, I set myself a difficult task in having the main protagonist struck blind at the beginning of “Blind Justice at Wedlock,” and enjoyed the challenge I’d set. Finally, I was pleased to write a noir Western that was also a homage to Edgar Allan Poe, “Coffin for Cash.”
What is the most recent Western you’ve written?
That would be “Death for a Dove,” another adventure in the Cash Laramie series, but it still has to be published by BTAP.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
It won’t be a Western. It will be the fourth in a fantasy series, “Floreskand: Prophecy,” which I co-write with the creator of the mythical Floreskand. This will be followed by my first Leon Cazador novel (currently he has only appeared in a collection of short stories, “Leon Cazador, P.I.”)
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?
A year would give me time to make a lot of notes for another Western, that’s for sure! As for the place and time, it can be quite arbitrary as any period in the Old West will have its attraction: say, 1881, St. Joseph, Missouri, to watch Sarah Bernhardt in “Camille”!
Is there a question you wish I had asked?
The question – Do you write Western short stories as well as novels?
The answer – Yes, and I’ve collected seven of them in volume 3 of my collected short stories, “Visitors”: http://authl.it/B06XK4K5C3
Thanks for inviting me, Scott. It’s an honor to join this illustrious company.
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