Larry D. Sweazy, Author….Interview (part 2)

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

LS. As a kid I played with Hot Wheels cars like a lot of little boys. I liked making up stories about where the cars were going and why. It started there. On the floor as a six year old boy, under the feet of adults, listening to their stories, and to the voices in my head.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

LS. Characters. Always.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

LS. Yes. Those are the good days. When the world and time disappears. I hope the writing does the same thing for readers.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

LS. My muse has always been my desire to become a better writer.

Q. Tell us about writing westerns.

LS. I have always loved westerns. I grew in the 1960s and there were a lot westerns on television. Bonanza, The Wild, Wild West, The Rifleman,

cowboy larry 1968

etc. And we could only get three channels on our little black and white TV in small town in Indiana. Add in that I grew up in a house without a father, those cowboys became my heroes, the good guys who stood up to the bad guys, and showed me who the bad guys were. I needed that. I learned a lot from those westerns.
Time went by, and westerns kind of fell out of favor. Detective stories took over. I grew up and went about my life. After I started writing seriously, an editor asked me to write a mystery short story with a modern-day Texas Ranger as the main character. I’d published in the small press, and this was my first chance to publish professionally in an anthology, Texas Rangers, to be published by Berkley (Penguin Random House). The editor, the venerable Ed Gorman, liked the story, “The Promotion,” and bought it. What I didn’t know was that story was going to be published in a western anthology, not a mystery anthology. And then the magic happened. My first professionally published short story went on to win the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur Award that year. I was floored. I went to the convention in Spokane, Washington and met a lot of great writers; Elmer Kelton, Don Coldsmith,

Larry is part of ‘and others’

Robert Conley, and Loren Estleman to name a few. Westerns felt like home. I knew the stories and the characters, so I started writing westerns in hopes of getting one published. Three years later, my agent, who I met at that first WWA convention, sold the first two books in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series. I went on to write six books in that series, and I’m happy to say the series is still gaining readers today, almost ten years after the first book, The Rattlesnake Season, was published.

The demise of the western has long been forecast, but I don’t believe it. Westerns are mortality tales, crime stories, and the only all-American genre we have. Westerns are like jazz, an American contribution to world of literature. Hollywood still makes westerns and they seem surprised when one of them draws a big audience. But I’m not surprised. Western characters are our people. We know their struggles of their stories. All readers ask is that westerns are authentic and honest. And that’s the kind of novels, and stories in general, that I try to write.

The conclusion to this Interview with Larry will appear March 16th.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here 
MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory.  March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
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