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Longmire author Craig Johnson and actor A Martinez will take the Gonzaga stage together as Johnson debuts 20th Longmire novel

Longmire author Craig Johnson and actor A Martinez will take the Gonzaga stage together as Johnson debuts 20th Longmire novel


At the current rate, Craig Johnson will be five years away from publishing as many novels in his Walt Longmire detective series as the population of the Wyoming town where he lives.

The New York Times bestselling author said he has a clear idea of ​​where his characters will be at the end of the series, but he doesn't want to get there too soon.

“I feel like I have another 20 years before I have to wonder where they're going to end up,” Johnson said. And yes, I always have a good time writing these books.

Johnson, 63, will launch First Frost, the 20th novel in the series, on Tuesday at a Spokesman-Review Northwest Passages book club event at Gonzaga University. Actor A Martinez, who played Jacob Nighthorse in the popular TV series Longmire, will join his friend Johnson on the Northwest Passages stage.

He's one of the great public speakers, Martinez said of Johnson. He is a storyteller of the highest level, funny and perfectly at ease in front of an audience. He's a lot like Walt Longmire's confidence level.

Besides Longmire, people may know Martinez from her starring role on the soap opera Santa Barbara, which aired in the 1980s and early 1990s.

This show was the first chance I had to start building an audience, Martinez said in a phone call from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he films the TV series Dark Winds. It's remarkable how many people still love this show.

He also had a supporting role in the 1972 John Wayne film The Cowboys.

Working with him just seemed surreal, Martinez said of Wayne. He was incredible to watch.

Martinez starred in She-Devil, with Meryl Streep in 1989.

“I’ve just had an incredibly diverse series of opportunities,” he said. It's truly more than a person could dream of.

Martinez, 75, said Longmire reignited his career and he was extremely grateful for the show.

The book and television series center on Longmire, a Wyoming sheriff who investigates a series of thrilling cases.

I just couldn't believe how well suited I was to play Jacob Nighthorse, Martinez said after reading the script.

Martinez said he and Nighthorse, an antagonist who does not appear in Johnson's book series, shared a desire to speak truth to power and approached language poetically.

He thought he had landed the role after a great audition, but he had to wait three days for the good news, which was longer than expected.

It wasn't until Friday that my manager called and said, 'Wow, I don't know what you did in there, but they really like you,'” Martinez said.

The television series debuted in 2012 and became the highest-rated original drama series on A&E, where it ran for three seasons. Netflix picked up the series after A&E failed to renew Longmire. Three additional seasons ran until the series ended in 2017.

Longmire continues to be a Netflix favorite among viewers.

Martinez and Johnson attributed much of the success of the novels and the television show to Longmire, whom Martinez called a hero.

Martinez said people are hungry for someone who is committed to doing the right thing, and that's Longmire.

I think it's something that satisfies an incredibly widespread hunger among us, he said.

First Frost dates back to 1964 when Longmire and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, embark on an epic road trip down the infamous Route 66 after recent college graduates choose to enlist to serve in the Vietnam War as the conscription is looming, Johnson said Tuesday from his home. in Ucross, an unincorporated town of 25 residents.

It's like the first frost of their lives, Johnson said.

Johnson said the novel was fun to write and was free to go back into the characters' pasts instead of writing chronologically as some series progressed.

For me, it's about pushing the boundaries a little bit and trying to do something a little different, he said. There will always be people who write to me after each book and tell me that I didn't like the last one. I reply to them immediately and off we go, don't worry because the next ones will be completely different.

Johnson is already about 10 chapters into Longmire's 21st novel, Return to Sender, due out next year.

“I like to be at least halfway through a book before I go on tour for another book, just to feel like I have the momentum for that book,” he said.

Johnson said she read about a Wyoming woman with the longest daily mail route in the United States, more than 300 miles. The majority of his books come from reports.

With the kind of criminal bent that all crime writers possess, my first thought was if she disappeared, where would you look for her? » Johnson said.

Johnson will be making his fourth appearance on the Northwest Passages stage while Martinez, who grew up and lives in Los Angeles, said he has never visited Spokane.

Martinez has some associations with Lilac City.

He said his uncle played a brief stint for the Spokane Indians decades ago and that Martinez met former Indians manager Tommy Lasorda and former Indians player Steve Garvey. Lasorda was managing and Garvey playing for Martinez's favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he met them in the early 1980s after a Dodgers victory in San Francisco.

Johnson said Martinez, whom he called fiercely intellectual, had read the Longmire series and discussed the novels with Johnson when he began playing Nighthorse. Johnson was a consultant for the show.

I was kind of blown away by his insight into writing, Johnson said.

The two men completed similar events together at the Northwest Passages.

Johnson said Martinez was having a short day at the circus.

He's an actor, so you never know what you think he's going to do or what might happen, he said. So this will be a bit of a wild card as far as that goes.




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