Craig Johnson sent us this week’s installment before following the Call of the Wild on a fishing trip. Embargoing this jewel for over a week has sorely tested my patience, but we surely appreciate how he sets his priorities!
“I really love the legends and beliefs of the American Indians incorporated into the Longmire stories. Is it possible you will start a new series (books first, tv/movies later – I hope) perhaps following another/other aboriginal Wyoming residents?”
I always enjoy doing the research on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow legends, social customs, and history. I don’t think I’d be comfortable not including these amazing people in my books for numerous reasons but mostly because they’re my neighbors. Not including them and their lore would be, excuse the term, criminal. I find the tribes of the high plains infinitely fascinating in the historical sense, but that pales in comparison to the people I enjoy having in my life on a daily basis; they’re my neighbors, but they’re also my friends and family.
I’m fortunate that the books and television show are popular on the Rez, and I think that’s just because I treat them as people with the same passions, fears, desires, and hopes as all of us. The one thing I hear over and over again is an appreciation for the native humor. I don’t think there’s ever been a group of people who have been portrayed as not having a sense of humor and that’s simply not true. I think the reason that that has happened is that it’s a way to marginalize an entire population. If you’ve ever been around natives, you’d know that most of the time they’re working on about twenty levels of irony, and if you don’t get it, you get to be the victim of that irony. I think Steinbeck said it best in America & Americans, “The Indians have a marvelous sense of humor, and they’ve had to considering they had to put up with us for two-hundred years…”
There are other projects I’m working on for TV and film, and due to contractual obligations I can’t really discuss them until they come to fruition, but I’m awfully happy writing the Longmire series of novels. When I first started out I was concerned that the characters would become stale or that the books might become formulaic, but I think I lucked out when I stumbled upon Walt and the ensemble of characters who make up the books–it’s a world that never ceases to surprise me. I write one full-length Walt novel a year with a novella thrown in every couple of years but I think trying to write more than one series might be a little confusing. I guess there are writers who do that type of thing, but the Longmire series allows me to explore just about everything I care to from year to year. I’ve started a number of stand-alones, literary fiction, a thriller, a period western and others, but I can’t help but think that another mystery series would just be a duplication of effort for me.