Chief of Thieves
Steven W. Kohlhagen was inspired to write his first novel, Where They Bury You, after reading Hampton Sides‘ Blood and Thunder, a non-fiction history of Kit Carson and the West. Sides’ reporting of the factual murder of Marshal Joseph Cummings on August 18, 1863 led Kohlhagen to conduct further research on Carson and Cummings and to write the sequel, Chief of Thieves. We have conducted an interview with him.
What inspires you to write "Where They Bury You''?
I was inspired to write it after reading Hampton Sides‘ "Blood and Thunder," a non-fiction history of Kit Carson and the West. Sides’ reporting of the factual murder of Carson's Marshal Joseph Cummings on August 18, 1863 led me to conduct further research on Carson and Cummings.My discovery of a historical gang of con artists led to the creation of the fictional characters who, along with the surviving historical characters, drive the action in both books.
How do you craft the characters in its sequel ''Chief of Thieves''?
The survivors of the gang in "Where They Bury You" were already crafted. The new characters in "Chief of Thieves" flowed naturally from the first story and the realities of 19th Century ranching and the Indian Wars on the Plains up to the Battle of Little Bighorn.
When did you set this story and why is this setting interesting for you?
I find the known and unknown stories of the American West in the 1860's and '70's to be simply fascinating.
How did you first came to know about ''Battle of the Little Bighorn''?
Wow! As a young boy growing up in Texas and Colorado with a German immigrant father who, like many Germans, loved the West, it was osmosis. Movies? Books? Oral tradition? Who knows?!?
Which other thriller authors do you read? Who influences your writing?
I believe I have learned the most from those I have enjoyed the most: Ross Thomas, Michael Connelly, Robert B. Parker, Lee Child, and, especially, Elmore Leonard.
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