Monday, September 24, 2007

Ron Hansen

With the release of the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, it seems like an especially good time to show off my signed first edition of the book by Ron Hansen on which the film is based:



I was fortunate enough to take a creative writing class from Hansen round 1978 when he was lecturing at Stanford and working on his first novel Desperados.

During the class I wrote a short story called “There’s No Such Thing as Private Eyes” which was eventually published in The New Black Mask, a revival of the famous pulp magazine where Hammett and Chandler got their start. The protagonist in the story? August Riordan, the series character in all my novels.

I can still remember beginning the story on my portable manual typewriter (using the always popular Corrasable paper) on summer break between my sophomore and junior year.

Yes, that makes me a one trick pony (and some would say the trick isn’t even that good!), but I’ve always been very appreciative of Hansen’s initial critique of the story, and his encouragement to submit it for publication. Up until that time, I never seriously considered that I could write, and I certainly never considered that something I wrote could be published.

I’m a tremendous fan of Hansen’s work. My favorite book of his is Atticus, with Desperados and Assassination running close behind. It’s great to see a movie—and by all accounts an excellent movie—made from his work.

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