The Roundup: A Conversation with "Longmire" Author Craig Johnson

Tune in to The Roundup, a podcast featuring voices, opinions, and perspectives from interesting people in the Cowboy State. Episode 5 features "Longmire" author Craig Johnson.

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Wendy Corr

January 05, 202434 min read

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The Roundup: A Conversation With Craig Johnson

Wendy Corr

Well, hey there, folks, and welcome to the Roundup! I'm your host, Wendy Corr. And I am so excited, today we are kicking off 2024 with one of my genuinely all time favorite guests, one of my favorite interviews. This is Craig Johnson. And you folks know Craig Johnson, you know Longmire. And even if you don't live in Wyoming, you know Longmire. And Craig Johnson is not just the voice of Walt Longmire, and all of these amazing characters, he is the heart of what Longmire really stands for, which is that wonderful Wyoming culture and Wyoming way of life.

And so I just have to say, Craig Johnson, I'm so glad to see you today. How are you?

Craig Johnson

I'm great. And I just have to say that's one of the most wonderful introductions I've ever had. Thank you so much. Yeah, I appreciate that.

Wendy Corr

Well, you are very welcome. And I'm telling you, this is one of the things Craig, you and I have been doing interviews for years on radio and for Cowboy State Daily for stories. But we're doing a podcast now, which is a lot of fun. And Craig, I wanted to just start out by saying, you chose Wyoming -- just like so many of us -- you chose Wyoming. And tell me when and where you were at when you said I want Wyoming to be my home?

Craig Johnson

Oh, well, it was actually pretty simple. I was actually working up in Montana, near Dillon, and delivered some horses down for a rancher out there. And I was supposed to meet a guy, who was coming up from Oklahoma City to pick up these horses. And I don't know how it is they chose Ucross, but they chose Ucross -- well you know what, I know why they chose Ucross. Because Ucross has a public corral, which anybody can use, and so the rancher I was working for was pretty cheap, he didn’t really want pay to store the horses, while he was waiting for this guy from Oklahoma to get up here. And so he sent me off with his eight-stall horse trailer, and I came down here and I got here. And the guy from Oklahoma City had not shown up, and I said, I called, I went over to the U-Turn Inn, which was the bar at Ucross at that point in time, an old Texaco station that they had converted into a bar. And it's actually the model for the Red Pony Bar and Grill, which is in the books and in the television show. But I went over there and I called up the rancher I was working for, and I said, “Hey, the guy's not here. What do you want me to do?” And he goes “Well, don't worry about it. He hasn't left yet, but he'll be there any time. And I was like, “He hasn't left yet from Oklahoma City?” And he goes, “Yeah.” And I was, “Well, what do you want me to do?” And he goes, “Well, just unload the horses there in the public corral, and he said this bucket up from Clear Creek, there's an old bathtub there that you can fill up with water and they should be fine.” And he says, “It's baling season, and so just go get a couple idiot cubes, bring them over, they’re 75-pound bales, and throw ‘em down for the horses.” And I said, “Well that's all perfectly fine for the for the horses, but what about me?” And he said, “Well, Craig, like I said it's baling season, I'm sure they could use a hand down there, like, throw some bales.”

And so I spent like three days down here waiting for the guy from Oklahoma to show up, and just bailing, throwing bales, like at for all the ranchers around here. I never paid for a meal, I never paid for a Rainier beer. It was just a spectacular three days of sleeping up on top of the horse trailer with my saddle for a pillow.

And, boy, I mean, as I'm looking at the window right now it's like the wind’s blowing of course, but it's pretty warm for December - kind of an unseasonable warmth here in Wyoming for the last couple of days, but we'll take it, because it gives you a chance to haul more firewood and do everything else.

But I just remember sleeping on top of that horse trailer looking up at that splay of stars, which the Northern Cheyenne and the Crow called the hanging road, that thicker part of the milky way that you look back through. And it was in the fall and the trees were starting to change and there was snow up on the Bighorn Mountains and I just thought to myself boy, this is it. This is where it is that I want to be.

And that was my gosh, I guess I bought the property like at something like maybe 35 years ago? I think it was? and then got out here -- and did you know you have to pay for property, Wendy? Did you know that that they won't just give it to you? (laughing)

Wendy Corr

I did, I did actually know that.

Craig Johnson

It's outrageous. I couldn't believe I had to pay for that - and so I had to squirrel away enough money to be able to buy the property. And then after overcoming the financial destitution of buying the property, got enough money scraped together to buy a log cabin kit. And I use the term euphemistically “kit,” okay, basically, when they show up, they drop off the logs, and say, there, you've got enough logs to build what it is you want to build. And that's it, and I figured anything you fine tune with a chainsaw, I can probably handle.

And so I built our little cabin that I'm speaking to you from this morning, a little 32 by 24, and got the windows and doors put in and we got Judy out here, my wife, and that's when we started living in Wyoming. I guess it's been coming up on close to 30 years ago, I guess it was.

And Judy had a store she wanted to start over in Sheridan, which is now the Bucking Buffalo Supply company that's in here in Buffalo. But I always wanted to write, you know, that was what I was trained to do and what I wanted to do. But, wanting to be a writer, as I've said before, it's kind of like wanting to be an astronaut, the odds against you are so great. You might as well not tell anybody about it and just keep it to yourself.

And, and the thing is, you got to have something to write about. I had this idea. I thought, well, everything in crime fiction at that period in time you hear about 25-30 years ago, was all Noir. It was all these gritty urban stories of alcoholic detectives, divorced alcoholic detectives burying bodies in their backyards. And I thought, what, what if you did something a little bit different? What if you did something like the Sheriff of the least populated county in the least populated state, that would be something that would be kind of unique and new. And so that's how Walt Longmire came to be. And here I am, 20 years after getting started.

And I guess the 20th book in the Walt Longmire series comes out on May 28. That's called “First Frost,” which is actually a term that I learned from one of the old sheriffs. I was talking to an old Sheriff down in Texas, I was doing the Texas Sheriffs Association meeting, and he looked at my hat. And he goes, Oh, well, it must be staying warm up there in Wyoming. And I said, What do you mean? He goes, Well, you still got your palm leaf hat on, and I said, Yeah. And he goes, watch when you switch over, like get into your felt at first frost. And I was like, Oh, that's a title for a Walt Longmire book. That is good. So that one's coming out on May 28. And already the next one after that is already, I've gotten started on and so we're just hammering away.

Wendy Corr

You have 20 Longmire books now you just mentioned, which is great, and the adventures just keep going. I've honestly heard, Craig, and you tell me about this -- it seems like Walt should be getting far too old for these adventures now. Help me out. Tell me what it is about Walt, that just keeps him going. And I'm sure there's a little artistic license in there.

Craig Johnson

Oh, there is I mean, obviously, I mean, whenever you have a successful character in a series of books, there's always the qualm of, okay, well, do you allow these characters to continue to grow older? Or do you just ignore that completely. And I guess in the period of time, basically, what a lot of the really big name mystery authors did was just completely ignore the fact that the characters were getting older, they were 35 whenever they started the series of books, they stayed 35 all the way through the entire end of the books.

But I decided to, pretty early on, that I was going to do something a little bit different. I mean, I have Walt being a Vietnam veteran, he's got a granddaughter, all of these aspects of his character that kind of lend the thought that he's a little bit older.

The only thing that kind of guarded against me having him getting too old to be able to do the job anymore is that I did this thing called what I refer to as the “Vivaldi.” And what that is, is we were just discussing earlier as far as the weather is concerned, what's the biggest thing that has the largest scale effect on us, as Westerners? Well, it has to be the weather. And so, for me, it became important that,  when you're using a kind of an isolated kind of environment, like the smallest, least populated county in the least populated state, you can very easily become a victim of what I refer to as the Mayberry incident, which is, everything's kind of friendly, happy village, and things kind of go along. And it's a cozy and all that, which is fine. That's a fine type of book to write, but it's just not the type of books that I write. And so I thought, Okay, I need to like change it up a little bit, so that there's a different kind of environment for each of these books. And I thought, the easiest way to do that is for it to be a different season. And so I write the books in what I refer to as the Vivaldi, in the sense that there are four seasons to each book, each book is a completely different season. And it gives me completely different environments for each book. And then I have to take that into consideration whenever I'm thinking about what book I'm going to write. I mean, obviously, if I'm writing a rodeo book, it can't take place in January, unless I guess it would be NFR, so I guess maybe it could, but nonetheless, the thing it also did, though, which was really kind of a wonderful added benefit is that it takes me four books to get through one year of Walt's life. And so I'm doing the 20th book, and Walt is only five years older than when we first met him in The Cold Dish. And I laugh about that a little bit, because on social media, sometimes there are these tirades of people that are trying to do the mechanics, to see mathematically exactly how old Walt Longmire is. And I'll get these emails from people that will be like a full two pages, where they'll go through every distinct moment in Walt's life, in the chronology of it all, to tell me exactly how old Walt is and argue with me about it, and I always write them back and go, I don't care. I don't care. I'm not gonna kill him off. He and I are getting along quite well, so I'm not gonna throw him off the Reichenbach Falls like Arthur Conan Doyle did with Sherlock Holmes. He’s still good company, and so being only five years older than when we first started, I'll be back. And The Cold Dish gives me a little bit of an advantage as far as that's concerned.

Wendy Corr

It most certainly does. Oh my gosh, I love it. I did not know that, all these times that you and I've talked, I did not realize that you did it a different season. So Vivaldi. That's it. But talking about your books, and the seasons and the places I'm assuming that all the locations that you have taken Walt, you go and you get to know the people and the places and the culture of all these places. Does that include Mexico when you did that one? Because that was a dark book, “The Depth Of Winter,” that was dark.

Craig Johnson

It was, it was. I mean, obviously the ones in Wyoming are a little bit easier, because I'm gonna jump in the truck and drive, which is kind of wonderful. And then I do spend a lot of time, because I do a lot of library events here in the state. And, and I only charge the libraries as I have since the beginning, a six pack of Rainier beer as an honoraria. I actually started out, I think it was Meeteetse over in Park County was actually the first library to ask me to do an event. But I travel around a lot within the state and that makes it very easy.

But then there are the ones that are a little bit more difficult. And then the ones that also in the chronology, can be a little bit difficult. I mean, the fourth book, Another Man's Moccasins, took place in Vietnam, half the book, but it took place in Vietnam in 1968. So, it's yeah, I could jump on a plane, and I could go to Vietnam, but I can't jump on a plane and go to 1968. So, then you really have to rely on a lot of the research, and then again, and there's a lot of people that were in the Vietnam War and that were around in 1968, including me. And there, it's really kind of easy to do that research. I mean, I'm not writing about the Crimean War here, so for me, it's a wonderful opportunity to go and talk to people about these things like and make sure that you get it right.

But yeah, the one of the wilder ones was actually that one that takes place in northern Mexico. That was a different kind of book for me, Depth of Winter. And I knew that I'd gotten to a point with Walt's antagonism with this one character, that I knew it was going to come to a head, and he was smart enough to not try and take Walt on in Wyoming where Walt had all of his resources and all of his backup, and all of this, so instead, he would lure Walt into the cartel regions, like out of northern Mexico. And, yeah, I mean, I've been in Mexico, years and years ago, and I know, relatively well, at least the border towns, Juarez, I got Nogales, and a lot of places, because I had worked down there   and going across the border, and it was relatively safe at that point in time. Now, it's gotten a little bit more dangerous, it's a little bit more difficult. But it also was within striking distance.

So it was an opportunity for me to actually go down there and actually see, what it was going to be and a lot of people warned me against that. They said, You really shouldn't do that. But I thought, You know what I'm gonna, I'm gonna go ahead and give it a try and see what happens. I mean, I'm not gonna go down there and interview cartel bosses or anything, I'm just gonna go down and get a feel for the idea for the terrain, for the geography, and the people and everything and see what the situation really looks like.

And so I did, contacted a guy who was what they call a reverse Coyote. And basically, what I did was go into El Paso, look at stay there and then got a hold of this guy. I'd contacted him through the internet. And basically, what they do is they'll take you into Mexico and guarantee as much as they can, that they'll get you back out alive, like and so I went and met with him. And yeah, we had some, some adventures.

There was one point in time where we were going down into the desert region there outside of Juarez. And he warned me, he said, this is kind of a dangerous area, you need to be careful. And he said, I would advise us not to do this. And I said, Well, this is where the majority of the book takes place. And so I really kind of need to go. And so we did. And, and yeah, we got pulled over by some guys in a pickup truck with automatic weapons and bandanas over their faces and everything. And we got out of there, like I slumped against the door, pretending like I was drunk, I'll get it because I don't look particularly Latin. And so I thought, this is probably a good idea for me to just cover my face up with my hat and pretend like I was drunk.

And so and then when we got back to Juarez, there's a little place called the Kentucky club. And we went there, and I said, Hey, come on, let me, we just danced with death. Let me buy you a beer, for goodness sake. And so we went over there, we're having a beer and he keeps looking at me keeps glancing at me. And I'm looking at him and he's looking at me look at and I said what, look at me goes. I just got to ask a question.  He goes, Are you a cop? And I said, No, no, I'm not. And he goes, Are you in the drug trade? I said, No, no, I'm not. And he said, Well, what do you do look at and I said, Well, I read a series of books about a Wyoming sheriff and he looks at me he goes “Longmire?”

Wendy Corr

That’s absolutely fabulous. Oh my gosh.

Craig Johnson

I said, Yeah, actually. He says, I've seen the TV show. And I said well, there are a series of books and I write the books. And we talked for a little bit like and he goes well don't tell that to anybody again. And I said, They don't like Longmire down here in Mexico? And he goes oh no, they like Longmire fine. He said the problem is you know the number one you know industry here you know is drugs like he says the number two industry is kidnapping. And if they find out you're the Longmire guy, you're as good as gone. And so I kind of kept my mouth shut from there on out. I made it back across the International Bridge over into El Paso.

Wendy C’orr

Oh my gosh, Craig, that is a that's a Walt Longmire drama in itself. Right there.

Craig Johnson

It is. It is.

Wendy Corr

That actually brings us to kind of the next natural topic here. Let's talk about the television show. Let's talk about Rob Taylor. And let's talk about Katie Sackhoff and let's talk about these people who have become our friends on the television show. And that really brought Longmire to not only a whole new audience, but kind of brought them to life, gave us a new visual of who we think of. And I don't know, I don't know about you, Craig, but I sure think Rob Taylor, he just -- if I could picture what Walt Longmire would look like, it would be Robert Taylor.

Craig Johnson

Oh, well, I laugh about it. Because people will sometimes ask me, they'll say, well, is there any difference between the characters in the books that you write, and the ones who get into the television show? And I'm like, Yeah, everybody in the TV show is way too good looking. That's number one. But yeah, there are there, there are some slight differences.

But I kind of went into the television thing with my eyes open. I mean, we were very, very fortunate. I mean, we'd already made the New York Times bestsellers list, by the time that Warner Brothers came knocking on the door, and said, we'd like to make a television show out of your books. And it was a it was a good group of people, the producers were very knowledgeable. And they were very curious,   they really, I mean, they were there in Los Angeles. And they filmed it down in New Mexico. And so they kind of needed somebody who was kind of, boots on the ground that could kind of give them all the answers about what it is to be in Wyoming. And then there are specific spot in Wyoming, northern Wyoming at the base of the Bighorn Mountains that I'd been writing the books about for about seven or eight years at that point in time.

So I, I had a lot of ideas and a lot of newspaper articles that I'd cut out of newspapers here in Wyoming and Montana. And I had a file folder of all the things that I thought well, Longmire could get involved with, and I sent that to them, and I made copies of all of those newspaper articles, and magazine articles, like get things off the internet and everything, and sent them - and by golly, to give them credit, in six years, they used almost every single newspaper idea that I sent to them. And it's been kind of funny, because of course,  I was still going to use those book ideas, too. And I have to laugh, every once in a while somebody  they'll write me and they'll go, oh, well, you got the idea for that book from that episode in the television series. And I'm like, no, they got their episode idea from my notes before I wrote the book, it just takes me a little longer to write a book that it did for them to put out an episode of a television series.

But yeah, they were they're great, fantastic people to work with, the producers were, the actors were. I mean, obviously, with us still doing Longmire Days here, what, 13 years of Longmire days, where we've raised, like hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations. It's been a real worthwhile endeavor. But it's also been amazing to see how supportive the actors are, how much that they'll jump in, and really attempt, to try and help us with these endeavors look at and they're just extraordinary people, really approachable, really kind of wonderful to get to have that kind of a group of individuals.

And here we are, six years after the show stopped production, simply because Warner Brothers wouldn't sell it to Netflix any more than they would sell it to A&E. And we're still one of the top 10 to 20 shows on Netflix every other week. I can't help but think that, probably what happened was, after Netflix couldn't buy Longmire because they could make a lot more money if they owned the show, from Warner Brothers and Warner Brothers wouldn't sell I think, can't help but think that what their thought process was, both the thought process for Warner Brothers and for Netflix at that point in time was, we got this little Indian cowboy show that takes place in Wyoming, it'll go for another year or so. And then the ratings will fall off. And we'll just quietly cancel it. And that'll be the end of it. Well, that was six years ago. And the show still is maintaining, it’s one of the most watched shows on Netflix, and it's really kind of wonderful to see that.

Because, I mean, there are a number of reasons why I'm proud of that, with the books and with the television show, and in the sense that I think Walt, really does kind of like embody an awful lot of the aspects of Wyoming that we really stand by. I see an awful lot of things on television and read a lot of stuff. And I think to myself, that just really isn't us, that isn't what we really are, what we stand for.

I mean, Walt's kind of, he's going to do the right thing, no matter what, no matter how difficult the situation. He's also the guy, I mean, the way that I describe him is, if I slide off at in the middle of the night in January in a blizzard and a pair of headlights come behind me there to help pull me out of the out of the barrow ditch, Walt Longmire is the guy that I want in that truck. And so for me, he's a good embodiment. I mean, the books are translated into like a number like a couple of dozen languages and and some remarkably successful - I mean, we're best sellers in France, for goodness sake, okay, which is a bit of a surprise, which is nice, because I can bring my wife to France at least once a year, which is kind of nice. But he just is a good ambassador, I think, for who we in the West really are, where you you stand by your word, you do the right thing, all of those things that I think that we kind of stand for, and I can't help but think that, even with as handsome as Robert Taylor is, a little bit of that philosophy kind of helps kind of carry us through and along with it. I've never had any complaints. Certainly no female viewers have ever complained about Rob’s looks, and I haven't had too many men, male viewers complain about Katee Sackhoff’s abilities as an actress either.

Wendy Corr

Absolutely, no, I can't personally attest to that, either. So, let me talk just real quickly, about Longmire Days. This is an unusual situation for an author, where you get to actually interact with the fans of your characters, more so than a book tour - and you have done, I mean, you do book tours, with every new release, you actually just got done. Because here we are the new year, you just got done doing a tour locally in Wyoming for your Christmas Story, which I just think is phenomenal. You do that every year, but you actually get to interact on a much bigger scale than a normal book tour. And tell me about how that feels.

Craig Johnson

I mean, you can approach this business in two different ways, you can either be kind of isolated and reserved, and not have a lot of interaction with your readership. Or you can just throw that stuff out the window and just really be approachable and be a friend to the people that are - I have a $28 contract with everybody that buys my books. And, and I need to come through and write good books every year, or else I don't expect them to continue that contract with me.

I mean, I've got a website like at craigallenjohnson.com. And on it, there's a Contact button. And all you have to do is hit that contact button, and that's my email here at the ranch. I always laugh about it, because I get emails from people that always say whoever it is that answers Mr. Johnson's emails, and I'm always sitting here at the table looking at the computer and going well, that would be me. And so sometimes they have a quiz, they want to make sure it's really me. Sometimes I fail, they sometimes know more about the books than I do. But this is a general rule.

I mean, yeah, you get a few cranks every once in a while, or a few people that really don't like the books or don't like the characters, but I laugh at a certain percentage of those, because there will be people who like say, I hate your books, I hate the characters, I'm never going to read them again. And then they write you again the next year and go, I still hate your books, and I still hate your characters. And I'm like, well, you're still reading them. That's kind of interesting that you don't like them that much. But overwhelmingly,  it's wonderful, positive, amazing responses to the characters and to the books. And I mean, I wouldn't cut myself off from that for anything in the world. I mean, it's a wonderful, I mean, some of the things that people say, some of these marvelous commentaries on the books, on the, on the writing, look at it on everything, it's just a, it's just a joy to my life, and I can't imagine not having that.

And then yeah, the embodiment, of course of that, is Longmire Days. The tours, of course, but also Longmire Days. We've been kind of amazed at the thousands of people that show up at Longmire Days every year, people that just want to see that world, they want to go have breakfast at the Busy Bee Cafe, they want to go up to the Jim Gatchell museum behind the courthouse, so they can see Walt's office, and walk down that Main Street. So it's a little bit of a Frank Capra-esque  kind of moment,  I think, for everybody.

And then of course, then you've got all of the actors that are here, and myself. And we're just wandering around on the streets. I had to laugh, because I got an angry email from this one woman that said, I did not get into the autograph session on Thursday that I wanted to get in on and I have something that I want Robert Taylor to sign. And I remember writing her back and going, you can just stand out in front of the Virginian saloon, and hold Robert’s beer, and he'll be happy to sign anything you want. But it's really not that big of a deal. I mean, in that way, I think that the event is a little bit different from a lot of other events where at these Comic Con things, where these people are behind velvet ropes up on stages, and you have to pay $50 to go stand by them and get your picture taken or something like this. At Longmire days, like at our group is a lot more approachable, and they're just wandering around there on the streets, enjoying themselves with everybody, and it's kind of a throwback, I guess, maybe to an older style of event. And it's been kind of wonderful because people are just amazingly open to the idea of like being friendly, and, and going up to people being respectful and everything. So it's kind of nice that way.

Wendy Corr

I think that it's an amazing weekend. That Longmire happens. I love it every time I get a chance to go and again, like you say, everybody's just so approachable. But so many people of course are there to see the stars and things. But it seems to me you have to have a sense of pride in the fact that these are characters that you've created. What does it feel like to have something that was just in your brain, in your imagination, and to see it come to life and create such an impact on people, and on their lives?

Craig Johnson

It’s sometimes very strange, it's sometimes very strange to see the kind of impact and the influence,  that it has, it's something you have to be careful with, it's something you have to be respectful of, and, and not abuse that kind of a fandom. I mean, you really have to be understanding, look at the responsibilities that you have, as far as that kind of thing is concerned. But yeah, it's no, I mean, the question I always get is, did you ever think when you got started at all of this? And the answer immediately is no, no, not at all. My goal more than anything else was, I thought, what if I can just sell enough books to where I can continue writing books? That was my goal, that was all I was shooting for. And to have all of these things happen, like to have the same sales that we've happened in the awards that we've had in the reviews that we've had, the foreign sales, and the television and all of these things happen? I don't know. I mean, it's kind of like being struck by lightning in a good way. It's certainly nothing I can complain about.

Wendy Corr

So your next book is going to come out in May, “First Frost.” And I just have one more question about, you spend hours and days and months and weeks, on creating this book, this this whole adventure, how do you feel when you hit send on that very last? I'm done. Now I'm sending it off to the editors, I'm sending it off to the publishers, do you feel like you you're releasing a little bit of yourself? Because now after you've done with it, it doesn't it's not yours anymore? Really?

Craig Johnson

It's interesting you should ask that question, because I think the answer is probably going to be a little bit different from what you might suspect. There's a sadness that goes along with it, I have to laugh   because I get these emails from people that will say, I always slow down when I get towards the end of your books because I know, I'm gonna have to wait another year before I'm gonna get another one. And so I have this tendency to slow down towards the end, and I was writing back and I go, me too, I get towards the end of a book. And I know that there's going to be more books. And I know that there's going to be more adventures and more time with these characters. But for this one moment, I'm losing them, I've had them for this one moment, this one adventure, and then they're gone. Okay.

And the first thing that I do, whenever I finish a book, the first thing I do is go and open up a new Word document, a blank page, and write the first sentence of the next book, which kind of makes it so that I know that that future is there. I know that those characters, you know they're going on, and it's going to be okay. It helps salve my nerves a little bit, and thinking that it might be over.

And then there's this spectacular aspect of it. I mean, it's like having a child, I think, in many ways . I mean, you do your very level headed best to prepare them and get them ready. And then at one point in time, they're gonna walk out of your life and out into the wide world. You try and make sure that they have the tools that they need to do what it is that they need to do. And you just have to let them go at a certain point, and move on with the next one. Because if I didn't do that, then I would still be rewriting “The Cold Dish” after 20 years. And even though I would like to think that it would have been a better book, I think it was probably better served for me to go on ahead and write some other novels along the way, too.

Wendy Corr

Well, I think that's great. And that's good news for us, as long as your fans know that as soon as you're done with one book, you've got the first sentence written for the next, because we all are anxiously awaiting the next long wire book, which again, is going to come out in May. What's the launch date?

Craig Johnson

May 28 is the date right now. I kept turning the books in early, because I just, I refused to be caught in a deadline. And so I would turn the books in three and four months early, and finally Viking Penguin said are you trying to change your date? Are you trying to? And I was like no not really, like I said, but I don't really care either. I said you know the big thing for me is of course, touring out of Wyoming. The Cold Dish tour happened in January, and they and Viking Penguin learned very quickly, I was gonna get stuck either in an airport in Wyoming or outside of Wyoming and not be able to get back in and or get out, and so they kind of moved me through the spring look at him through the summer and then into the fall and so we've been there, for a number of years now, but you know, as long as I can get the ranch work done, it really doesn't matter to me what time of year it is that I come out. And so whenever they said, you know what we think we are we think we're going to like, since you seem to be getting the books done a lot earlier, this is an opportunity for us to go ahead and have you come out towards the end of May, maybe, with Father’s day and Mother's Day and all these type of things. And they thought, you know what the heck, if you're okay with that, we think that's what we're going to do. And I said, that's perfectly fine by me. As long as you don't get in the way of irrigation season, or me doing firewood or hay, we'll all be fine.

Wendy Corr

Your priorities are there. That's absolutely great. Craig Johnson, this has been an absolute delight. Thank you so much for your time today. And for bringing us these wonderful adventures that help us to really feel proud of being Wyomingites. Longmire, he's our ambassador. And Craig Johnson is the man behind Walt Longmire. Craig, thanks so much. Say hello to Judy, and tell her thank you for being your inspiration because we're sure grateful for it.

Craig Johnson

Well, thank you. And thank you so much for having me. This is always a blast. My most enjoyable interviews. You're an absolute charm, I tell you.

Wendy Corr

Well, thank you. And folks, thank you for tuning in to our podcast, “The Roundup,” a Cowboy State Daily podcast. I’m your host, Wendy Corr. Tune in next week as we chat with another great Wyoming personality about news and views that are important to you. Have a great week!

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Wendy Corr

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