|My favorite bookstore, The Poisoned Pen|
I drove my husband's Jeep. You know, the one that's jacked up high so Denis can negotiate rough trails out in the middle of nowhere. The one that's jacked up so high that there are days when I want to call up to Denis, "Throw down a rope!" Yes, that Jeep, the little beauty. It's a little beauty because it sits up high enough to keep my eyes out of the line of fire from oncoming headlights. That one little detail all on its lonesome is enough to make me dance around the house, but wait-- there's more!
|Craig Johnson and Barbara Peters at the Poisoned Pen|
Getting to meet Craig Johnson was sublime. He's one of the few authors who's come to The Poisoned Pen to sign each one of his books-- even though he had to hop on his motorcycle to come down here when his publisher said "no tour" for his second book.
Craig and the incomparable Barbara Peters (owner of The Poisoned Pen) began the evening by talking about "Longmire," the television series based on Johnson's books that will debut on A&E on June 3. Some of Craig's friends advised him to retain the rights to his books for as long as possible. The wait is over, and the professionals who are filming the series seem dedicated to doing the books and the characters justice. Craig has been enjoying the entire process, especially going over the scripts which is where he feels he's of the most use.
Barbara Peters remarked that "Longmire" reminded her of "Bonanza" which made Johnson chuckle, but Peters backed up her remark by saying that the same things that made "Bonanza" such a long-running television series-- characters, relationships, and place-- were at the heart of "Longmire."
When Judy Johnson first saw the rangy, six foot four Robert Taylor, she said, "He moves like a Westerner." She also looked at her husband and said, "He's the Hollywood version of you: taller, better looking, and with a better voice."
When Craig Johnson first heard that Robert Taylor was being considered for the part of Sheriff Walt Longmire, he said, "He's dead." Once he understood which Robert Taylor was being referred to and had gotten a chance to meet the actor, he was pleased with the choice.
|Lou Diamond Phillips|
Phillips has portrayed Lakota and Navajo characters in the past, and he knows each tribe has its own customs and ways of looking at the world. The actor took the time to spend a few days on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, and he was actually adopted by the tribe. Craig looked at us all and said, "You know... I've been writing these books for eight years, and I haven't been adopted into the tribe!"
When Peters asked him if he thought television was going to have a big effect on how he writes his books, Johnson replied with an emphatic "No!" going on to say that he lives a very insular life. He's only written eight books so far, and the first season of "Longmire" consists of ten episodes. He feels that the series and his books are both free to go their own way and still compliment each other.
He mentioned that he prefers having a completed book "in the bag" before he starts a book tour. He does have a finished book, but he's not happy with the title, so we'll just have to wait to see what the winner is.
When Craig told us that he has a two-sentence contract-- "It must be a mystery. It must have Walt Longmire." -- I had to smile, and I also smiled when he said that there was definitely a non-Walt book in the future. (Of course, I'd start reading the phone book page for page if I found out Craig Johnson wrote it....) There are many possibilities in the future of the Walt Longmire series of books. For instance, how about Saizarbitoria running for sheriff?
|Craig signing As the Crow Flies|
Unfortunately, the bear was a trash can habitué, and the metal objects clanging together sounded like his favorite food containers being delivered right to his door. All I can say is that, by now, I've heard so many ways to scare off bears that I hope I never meet one in the wild... I'm hopelessly confused!
If you get the chance to meet Craig Johnson while he's out and about on his As the Crow Flies Tour, by all means take it-- you're in for a very special treat! (That goes triple if you haven't read any of his books. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of meeting Walt, Henry, Vic, and all the rest of Craig's splendid cast of characters. I won't even go into his stories that keep a person up well past her bedtime!)