Eight Questions is an occasional series of interviews that I’m including on the site. Being a naturally gifted (read: lazy) interviewer, I will be using the same eight questions in every interview.
This time, the questions are being answered by genre writer, Johnny D. Boggs. Johnny’s craft spans a broad spectrum in the western genre, including novels, short stories, non-fiction tales and articles, as well as reviews, interviews, and photography. His work has appeared in magazines such as True West and Wild West, and he’s also a staff writer at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Persimmon Hill magazine.
Johnny’s fiction has earned him six Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America across numerous categories(A) and he’s also a Western Heritage Wrangler Award winner for “Outstanding Western Novel”(B). If that didn’t make me humble enough, Johnny has been honoured with True West magazine awards for “Readers’ Choice Best Living Historical Novelist” and “Best Living Fiction Writer”.
If my count is correct, he’s written forty-nine novels as well as two books on the portrayal of western outlaws in movies(C). It’ll come as no surprise that he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1 – What did you do before you did this and what do you miss about it?
I was in newspaper journalism, working on the sports desk, for the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram from late May 1984 to mid-October 1998, finishing my career as assistant sports editor in charge of the night operation. I miss the paycheck every two weeks. And decent health insurance. But I wouldn’t want to be in newspapers today.
2 – How many projects are you working on at the moment and what can you tell us about them?
Not including all the magazine assignments for True West, Wild West and Western & English Today — and maybe a couple more — plus editing Western Writers of America’s Roundup Magazine, I have a novel due at the end of this year titled HARD WAY OUT OF HELL, about outlaw Cole Younger, which should come out late in 2016. Then I have two other contracted to be released in 2017, THE KANSAS CITY COWBOYS, a comedy about a baseball team in the 1880s, and THE RAVEN’S HONOR, about Sam Houston’s final years.
3 – If you had to quit either reading or writing which would you pick?
Wow. Well, it would have to be writing. Because I can’t write without reading. And it would give me more time to watch old movies.
4 – If you could magic another hour into the day, where would you put it and what would you use it for?
The hour before I have to pick my son up from school. That’s right around my peak writing, and it would delay algebra homework help.
5 – What is your pet hate in writing / language?
Using non-verbal words for said. You can’t smile, can’t chuckle, can’t explode words.
6 – Are there any genres that you love to read but which you never write?
I read a lot of mysteries — William P. McGivern, Tony and now Anne Hillerman, James Lee Burke, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett — although I guess I have written some crossover Western-mysteries. I like thrillers — David Morrell, Jack Higgins, Alistair MacLean — and some science fiction — Isaac Asimov, Walter M. Miller, Robert Heinlein. And popular or literary fiction — Russell Banks, Ivan Doig, Thomas Cobb, Sandra Dallas.
7 – Do you have any writing rituals, habits or idiosyncrasies that you can share?
I’m an ex-newspaper journalist. I can write anywhere — my office, a hotel room, on a train, at an airport. It’s a job. I get up in the morning, get my coffee, turn on the computer and work. I just don’t have as long as a commute as most people. My rituals, habits and idiosyncrasies I reserve for baseball and poker.
8 – What are you selling and where can I buy it?
Latest book, I think, was THE CANE CREEK REGULATORS. Next up, probably in June, should be TOP SOLDIER. Try your friendly independent bookstore.
(A) — “Original Mass Market Paperback Novel”, “Short Novel”, “Juvenile Fiction”, “Short Story”, and “Novel”
(B) — 2003 for “Spark on the Prairie: The Trial of the Kiowa Chiefs”
(C) — “Billy the Kid on Film, 1911 – 2012” and “Jesse James and the Movies”
Read more interviews in the 8Qs series here.