'' First Frost, '' his 20th Longmire book, is now out. Will there be more?

'' Depends on how long he'll be good company and have........ interesting stories to tell,'' he says. '' So far that doesn't appear to be winding down.''

.- What books are on your night stand?

I was lucky enough to get a prepublication copy of Willy Vlaitin's '' The Horse. '' I've been a gig fan since running into him at a literary festival in Paris where I thought there's a guy who looks even more painfully American than I do.

Elizabeth Crook's '' The Madstone '' is on deck. And you've caught me at a rereading period with '' Women of Light, '' with Kali Fajardo- Anstine, which is transcendent.

.- What's your favorite book no one else has heard of ?

'' Doctor Dogbody's Leg, '' by James Norman Hall. It's the story of a peg legged Royal Navy Surgeon who enters a tavern in Portsmouth each night regaling the denizens with the implausible tale of how he lost his leg, the twist being it's a different story every night.

.-  What's the most terrifying book you ever read?

'' In the Miso Soup,'' by Ryu Murakami. A little graphic for my tastes, but the tension is what makes the book so utterly compelling and Breath-freezing.

.- What impact did seeing Walt Longmire onscreen have on your continuing to write the character?

Not much, in that I'd been writing the novels for seven years before Warner Bros, knocked on the door and most of the characters in my novels are drawn from people I know.

.-  You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Just to keep from being predictable, I'm going to limit it to the subcategory of deceased western writers.

.- I'd go with Walter Van Tilburg Clark, who, after Owen Wister, is responsible for elevating the oater, to a psychological level of responsible fiction with amazing books like '' The Ox-Bow Incident .''

.- Dorothy M. Johnson [ no relation ] is an all-time favorite with such an un-jingoistic understanding of the true west. Who knew a newspaperwoman and school teacher from Missoula wrote '' The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,'' '' The Hanging Tree,'' '' A Man Called Horse''and my absolute favorite,  '' Lost Sister'' ?

.- Jack Schaefer, whose tight, taut pen produced '' Shane,'' '' Monte Walsh '' and '' The Canyon.''

Then I have to invite my buddy Tony Hillerman because he taught me more about what I do for a living in one four-hour dinner than a classroom ever could.

I know you said three, but I'm a well-confessed outlaw.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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