#18: Things That Go Bump In The Night

26 Pickup—The Half Ton

#18 Things That Go Bump In The Night

I have seen a theme of visions and spirits in your stories, beginning with The Cold Dish. I love it, and it appears the theme is getting more intense–especially in Daughter Of The Morning Star. Does this have anything to do with Walt’s deep connection with the land and the Cheyenne?

-Liz Snair

Hi Liz,

I like doing what I call writing in the margins–it gives me the opportunity to include things that may or may not normally be included in crime fiction like humor, history, social commentary, or mysticism. I think it adds a component to the novels that provides a richness they might not otherwise have. It’s a risk, in that there are always going to be people who don’t like those kinds of things, but I think it’s a risk that’s worth it. Anything you do in a book that raises it above the mediocre is going to risk incurring the ire of some reader, whether it be humor, politics, religion, or spirituality. All these elements have a personal taste involved with them and one reader’s devil is another reader’s detail. I think it’s worth the risks becausepeople who are looking for a reason to not read your books are usually going to find one, but the people who enjoy all those layers are going to find something unique. 

In answer to your question, I think it would be hard for me to not include the mystical qualities in my books, but especially the spirituality that’s such a big part of Native life. For the Northern Cheyenne and the Crow that other-worldly element infuses everything. One of the things I’m consistently aware of when I’m standing around a campfire with my buddy Marcus Red Thunder is that my kind of people have only been around here for a couple of hundred years, whereas his have been here for a couple thousand and might know a little more about what’s going on around us.

The next Longmire book, Hell And Back, certainly exemplifies that and it’ll be interesting to see the response. It’s a different kind of book that goes off the diving board and into the pool of mysticism that I’ve toyed with over the years, so after seventeen books, I thought it was time to shake things up a bit. They say all haunting is regret, and I think Walt has carried that burden so long that it’s time to deal with it.

It’s always a fine line with the good sheriff simply because he’s not a believer, and you must make room for the readers that aren’t of that persuasion and allow them to see something else.This novel is going to push those elements about as far as I’m willing to go, but it’s also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing career and maybe one of the most revealing of Walt Longmire to date.

See you on the trail,

Craig

4 thoughts on “#18: Things That Go Bump In The Night

  1. Ry – I believe you are the artist who gives us these amazing portraits that accompany Craig’s writings. Your work is wonderful and I look forward to seeing them as much as Craig’s words.

    Thank you,

    Pat Hartman

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  2. One of the many things I love about Walt as a character is his struggle on the edge of the mystic. A pragmatic person who is faced with something beyond what he sees as practical. I lived in the boonies of NM and hung with the Apache for many years, and it was one of the most mystical/spiritual experiences I ever had, a reality beyond expectation. And I, too, am a very pragmatic counseling psychologist and ex-Deputy Sheriff.

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  3. Your response to Liz’s question–last paragraph–raises an interesting question: “…he’s not a believer…”

    In what is “the good sheriff” not a believer…faith, Christianity, God, mysticism, all the above or none of the above?

    Like

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