Not all of my published novels are traditional westerns. Twelve of the historical novels had mountain man protagonists. Three more focused on events on the early frontier -- that is to say, east of the Mississippi. But I enjoyed writing -- and reading -- the traditional western novel most of all.
Though many educators and academics these days have tried to debunk and deconstruct the cowboy myth, the cowboy remains deeply embedded in the American psyche. He represented the "ideal of individualistic freedom" in the words of Eric Hobsbawm in his book Fractured Times. [You can read an excerpt printed in the UK Guardian here.] I think of the westerner as a laconic loner who adapted to his environment and didn't need police and politicians and volumes of ordinances to tell him the difference between right and wrong. Is this an idealized view? Certainly. Is it a wholly fraudulent view? Certainly not. And what can be wrong with an ideal that fosters honesty, self-reliance and courage?
I didn't know my father until i was seventeen years old. But I didn't lack for a father figure. I had John Wayne to look up to, and I feel like my idolatry stood me in good stead -- even if it does sometimes make me feel like an anachronism these days.
Most of my western writing has been published but some of the earlier work could do with some revisions. And I'm not quite out of new tales to tell. That's what this section of the website is for.
And let me go ahead and mention that my favorite western writer is Ernest Haycox. The best western I have read has to be Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. And my favorite western film is Tombstone (1993). But the single best scene in a western film is in my opinion the last scene in John Ford's classic The Searchers (1956), with Ethan Edward, who has delivered his teenage niece into the loving arms of her family after her abduction by Comanches, standing alone and silhouetted in a doorway against an expanse of desert and sky, watching the joyous reunion occurring inside from the outside, very much isolated and in that moment unneeded, though he would never be forgotten.