What can you tell me about the Western writer William W. Johnstone?

Jack A. Graves

Turlock, California

William W. Johnstone was one of America’s most prolific writers of action-packed Western, military and thriller novels. He was born in southern Missouri in 1938, the son of a Methodist minister and a schoolteacher. He quit school at age 15 and joined a carnival. He later returned to school. After graduation, he worked briefly as a deputy sheriff before joining the army. Released from service, he began a 16-year career in radio.

Johnstone began writing in 1970, but his first book, The Devil’s Kiss, wasn’t published until 1979. During the next 20 years, he wrote close to 200 books including the best-selling “Ashes,” “Eagle,” “Last Gunfighter” and “Mountain Man” series. He also wrote under at least one pseudonym (William Mason).

Johnstone died in 2004, but his death was kept secret for nearly three years so that a “carefully selected author” could be chosen to carry on his work. Those books are currently published by Kensington Books in New York City.

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