“Robert Who?”

52 Pick-up 2.0, #25, 6/30/2020

Roxanna Posey- “Lucian as a younger sheriff. Walt and Henry as children. How did Omar get rich?”

Hi Roxanne,

That’s a great name, by the way. I love collecting names for future projects so when it pops up down the line, you’ll know where it came from.

One of the wonderful things they don’t tell you about when you start out writing a series about a character is the fun you have circling back around and discovering more about them. I love doing that and have sometimes devoted entire portions of novels or novellas to that end—not just Walt, but all of the characters.

Omar’s wealth was at least partially inherited from an uncle, which I could get into but I think it’s more enjoyable to read the details in the novels. I believe this information is in The Cold Dish.

Lucian, as Walt’s mentor is an easy target for these forays, and being the age he is, I really had no choice but to turn back the clock. When I came up with the idea for Spirit of Steamboat, I knew that at his advanced age, Lucian wouldn’t be able to operate a very difficult airplane like the Mitchell B-25, so I was going to have to liven him up a bit. I backtracked to a period where Walt had just taken over as the new sheriff, and I think it worked. It was also fun to see the relationship between Walt and Lucian and how it had developed over the years—which helps to remind me that these same relationships continue to evolve in every novel.

I’ve got another novel on-deck with Lucian as a central figure and a much younger Walt and Henry who are forced into public service as teenagers. There’s a strange synchronicity in your life, a cyclical effect that I’ve learned, through my Native neighbors to the north, to not ignore… When Robert Taylor (the younger) got the role of Walt in the TV show Longmire, I couldn’t help but see similarities to Robert Taylor (the elder) who had a cabin above Buffalo, Wyoming, the basis for Durant in the books. Voted by movie-goers as one of the most successful actors for decades, Taylor (the elder) was an Omaha kid whose life-dream was to have a cabin in the Bighorn Mountains.

I’ve heard stories about the man, how he used to enjoy being in Buffalo where people would leave him alone and treat him like just another resident. Another tale was relayed to me by ex-sheriff Larry Kirkpatrick about how by the time he was in Wyoming in the sixties, his eyesight had gotten so bad that he ran his Cadillac into everything in town and that the sheriff’s department would send out deputies to all his usual haunts to keep him from backing into people.

My buddy Richard claims to have the actual silver-encrusted saddle that Taylor (the elder) used in parades in the area, which got me to thinking… He was an interesting guy with a number of complexities that included naming names in Joseph McCarthy’s House Unamerican Activities Committee that destroyed innumerable lives even though he referred to the experience as a circus. It got me to thinking about what would happen if a younger version of Walt and Henry were to have interacted with the old actor in the early sixties when he was headlining a weekly show on CBS, The Detectives…

People meet at different points in their lives for reasons, and I like the thought of being at those intersections like a traffic cop, helping everybody on their way.

See you on the trail,

Craig

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