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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WRITERS ON BOOKS ~ PETER BRANDVOLD

WRITERS ON BOOKS ~ PETER BRANDVOLD
 
As part of an ongoing series of blog posts, I’ve asked western pulp master Peter Brandvold to give us a personal look into what writers read and what books influence their lives. 

Currently the acknowledged king of the fast-moving, hard-driving western novel, Peter has written over a hundred westerns under his own name and his pen name, Frank Leslie. He has also written thirty Longarm novels under the name Tabor Evans. He’s written several novels under the banner of the late Ralph Compton. Under his own name he writes the popular .45-Caliber books (featuring Cuno Massey), the bounty hunter Lou Prophet series, the Yakima Henry tales, the Rogue Lawman series, and others. Through his own Mean Pete publishing imprint, Peter has also become a dynamic force in the world of self-publishing…
 
Thx for stepping out of the saddle, Peter, and hunkering down with us around the campfire…
 
THE BOOK YOU LOVED AS A CHILD…
 
Oddly enough, it was a bulky, water-damaged, falling-apart fifth grade reading text. The stories I remember liking most and which made me want to try to practice such dark alchemy myself were: Beware of the Dog by Roald Dahl, All Summer in A Day, by Ray Bradbury, Odyssey of the North by Jack London, The Ears of Johnny Bear by John Steinbeck, In Another Country by Hemingway, and Wine on the Desert by Max Brand. I loved that book. I read every word—even those that weren’t assigned. I still remember how that book smelled, the splotches of dried dirty snowmelt and green snot previous students had mashed between the pages, and the Fuck scribbled in spidery pencil on the inside of the back cover. 
 
A BOOK YOU WOULD READ TO YOUR KIDS…
 
Since I don’t have kids, I really don’t know what’s out there for kids these days. At least not for kids young enough to be read to. One of the first books that was read to me was Where The Red Fern Grows, so I’d probably read that one but I’m probably way, way out of date! But I know how important it is to read to kids. My fifth grade teacher even read Ann Of Green Gables to us, and I, a boy’s boy, loved hearing it though I suppose it’s considered more of a girl’s book. But the images remain. It’s important to read any kind of a story to kids. A teacher also read A Wrinkle In Time and Old Yeller to us, as well as The Witch Of Blackbird Pond. I remember them all.
 
THE BOOK THAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER…
 
That fifth grade text but also Huckleberry Finn and Mandingo. I read my father’s old paperback Mandingo he acquired when he was in the army and being transported around the South Pacific. Most of the first books I read came from his somewhat proscribed library which included Tobacco Road and Peyton Place. I loved Mandingo and even though it’s probably not politically correct to say this, I still do. As well as its sequel, Drum. Great vivid writing. Such writing just doesn’t show up anymore. Most of the books published these days would not have been published twenty or thirty years ago. The editors would have told those writers to keep punching away and maybe try a correspondence course.
 
YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC…
 
It’s a tossup between Moby Dick and War And Peace. I reread big chunks of both regularly. Also The Sea Wolf.
 
THE CLASSIC YOU’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO READ…
 
Finnegan’s Wake
 
THE CLASSIC YOU’VE PRETENDED TO HAVE READ…
 
I don’t know...maybe The Bible when I was in Lutheran confirmation class. I think I’ve read most of the whole thing since, though.
 
THE MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE LOVED…
 
Jaws. (I can recite great chunks after a few home-brews...)
 
THE BOOK YOU’D LIKE TO SEE AS A MOVIE…
 
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl, but only if they do it right. It would probably have to be rated X, however. I wish they would do a straight adaptation of either Robert E. Howard or Karl Edward Wagner. I don’t understand why Hollywood keeps trying to rewrite these great writers. Howard is legendary for the stories he wrote, so why doesn’t Hollywood make what he wrote? Why do they think their pastiches are better? Against the evidence!
 
THE IMAGINARY PLACE WHERE YOU COULD LIVE…
 
The world I create in my own books, especially the Stillman books. I like that one though it can be violent at times. 
 
THE GENRE YOU’D READ IF YOU WERE LIMITED TO ONE…
 
I would say westerns if there were better westerns written, but, outside of my own, he-he, and damn few others, there just aren’t. So I’d probably read sword and sorcery just for Karl Edward Wagner if no one else but I probably say that now because I happen to be reading Wagner again. If I were reading Chandler, I’d probably say detective noir. 
 
THE BOOK YOU’VE RETURNED TO AGAIN AND AGAIN…

Probably the book I reread the most often is Hemingway’s collected stories but I have to also mention Smith & Other Events by Paul St. Pierre, little-known (to Americans) Canadian writer, now dead.
 
THE FICTIONAL FRIENDS YOU’D LOVE TO HAVE…
 
Conan. Man, could that guy back you in a bar fight!
 
THE LAST NOVEL TO MAKE YOU LAUGH AND THE LAST TO MAKE YOU CRY…
 
Roughing It by Twain and The Determined Heart by Antoinette May (about Mary Shelley).
 
WHAT YOU’RE READING NOW…
 
Night In The Lonesome October by Richard Laymon.
 
Peter’s newest series features U.S. Marshal Bear Haskell, former union war hero, former Pinkerton agent, current deputy United States marshal. Bear is a big man—over six and a half feet tall and as broad as a barn door. He wears a necklace of bear claws taken from the grizzly who almost had him for supper. That’s the kind of man Bear is. He holds a grudge and he gives no quarter—to grizzly bears or men.
 
FOR MORE ON PETER’S BOOKS CLICK HERE
 
TO VISIT PETER’S WEBSITE CLICK HERE



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