Thursday, October 21, 2021

Craig Johnson: Longmire novel exposes ‘horrifying’ reality for Native women

NEW YORK, September 22 (WNN) — Writer Craig Johnson says he hopes morning star daughterHis 17th Sheriff Walt Longmire Mystery, makes readers aware that thousands of Indigenous women go missing and murdered each year in the United States.

“If you look at the percentage that natives make up of the population, and you look at the state of women missing and murdered, it’s appalling,” Johnson told WNN in a recent phone interview.

“When I put [Department of Justice-FBI] The figures in the first draft, my publisher, Viking/Penguin, couldn’t even believe they were right,” he said. “It’s one of those things that gets swept under the rug a lot of the time. Nobody talks about it. Nobody deals with it.”

The novel went on sale Tuesday. It follows Walt and his lifelong friend, Henry Standing Bear, from their Wyoming homes to Montana, where they investigate death threats against talented high school basketball player Jaya, niece of tribal police chief Lolo Long. The story takes place a year after the disappearance of Jaya’s elder sister Jenny.

Johnson gave one of the most memorable lines in his book to the character of Lonnie Little Bird and summed up the situation perfectly: “You are never defeated until your women’s hearts are on the ground, but what What if there is no woman and no heart?”

“I’m a married man with two daughters and a granddaughter. It’s very close to home,” said Johnson, who lives near Native Reservation in Wyoming and frequently visits friends, does research, and promotes his books.

“These are my friends, my neighbors and their opinion is very important to me. They are just extraordinary people, and it is important to me that I get them right.”

Johnson said that if he’s going to spend the better part of a year writing a book, there has to be a good reason for it—and a clever idea just isn’t enough for a plot.

“If you’re just trying to write a 350-page book where you stack bodies like cord wood, you’re missing the point,” Johnson said.

He said, “I have something to say.” “Needs a social issue. I refer to it as ‘the rumble under the saddle blanket school of writing.'” If there’s anything I’m dissatisfied with or upset about, I can use that as fuel.”

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The main thing is to address adversity in an entertaining way, using theoretical characters readers have come to love and trust.

“I could go out there and campaign for 350 pages, but it would be a very boring book,” he said. “You have to try to find a vehicle for that social issue. They have to match.”

Johnson looks to Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and John Steinbeck for inspiration on how to tell great stories that reflect real-life troubles.

“He painted on a big canvas, but he always brought it back on a very human scale,” he said. “That’s a problem when trying to write this type of book.”

longmireA TV drama based on Johnson’s books ran from 2012–17 and starred Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, Adam Bartley, Luanne Stephens, Katie Sackhoff, Cassidy Freeman, A. Martinez, Bailey Chase and Zahn McClaren. It is popular in reruns on Netflix.

Johnson and most of the cast reminisced about the show earlier this month in a group video conference that was part of the annual Longmire Days Fan Festival.

“It’s kind of a circus. Talking to multiple actors is like raising cats,” laughed Johnson. “Schedules are brutal. They’re always running.”

Taylor called from his native Australia, while Phillips and McClaren attended, even though they were physically working on new productions. The rest of the stars raised their voices from their homes and cars.

“It says something about the friendship and camaraderie the show has fostered for all these people,” Johnson said.

Last year’s Longmire Days event was completely virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2021 edition – which raised money for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center – was a hybrid. Johnson interviewed individual stars remotely and streamed the video for fans who couldn’t get to Wyoming. He personally greeted the travellers.

Tourists were able to check out real-life locations that inspired locations in books and TV series, and then participate in a rodeo and fun 5K/1 mile run, with Johnson waiting in a truck at the finish line and handed over autographed cans of Longmire’s favorite Rainier beer.

“It turned out wonderful,” he said.

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