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‘Longmire’ author tries his hand at writing about the supernatural and a dead lawman

“I do think there’s a lot more out there than we know, and I like writing about those types of experiences,” Craig Johnson says.

“I do think there’s a lot more out there than we know, and I like writing about those types of experiences,” Craig Johnson says.

Netflix’s “Longmire” crime series is filmed in northern New Mexico, but the show – and the novels on which it is based – is set in Wyoming.

That’s just fine with Wyoming-based Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire mysteries.

“I think the production folks have done a magnificent job in re-creating Wyoming, with the exception of maybe all the snow we get up north,” Johnson said in an email. “But then if you guys had as much as Wyoming, maybe I wouldn’t be in as much of a hurry to get down there in the spring.”

Johnson is an executive creative consultant to the TV series.

“I can offer advice on lots of things, but where I’m probably the most help is in the writing,” Johnson said. “The producers send me each of the scripts as they’re written, and I go through them and give them a line edit on things I agree with and things I don’t.”

Bks_j15MAy_Highwayman_CMYKBesides touching base with the filming in midproduction, Johnson enjoys doing book signings in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe.

Many of the actors in the series are fans of the novels, especially Lou Diamond Phillips. Phillips plays Henry Standing Bear, Longmire’s best friend.

Johnson recalls a particular signing at Collected Works in Santa Fe.

“All of a sudden, everybody started screaming and laughing, and when I turned around, Robert Taylor, who plays Walt in the TV show, was out on the street in the Absaroka County sheriff Bronco, in costume and waving at people. It gets kind of weird.”

Taylor portrays Longmire. He may be Absaroka’s sheriff, but he’s a lawman for the whole state. As Johnson put it, “He gets asked to help because his reputation precedes him and the other counties need his assistance.”

Johnson’s newest novel is “The Highwayman.” It features a strong supernatural element. Wyoming Highway Patrolman Rosey Wayman is hearing strange “officer needs assistance” calls coming in at the same hour – at 12:34 a.m. to be exact — and only in the Wind River Canyon. The calls are all from the ghostly Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who died in the canyon decades ago.

“I do think there’s a lot more out there than we know, and I like writing about those types of experiences – not Stephen King-type stuff, but just the things out of the corner of your eye,” Johnson said.

“The Highwayman” is his first, full-blown ghost story, “but as the tale unfolds, we discover it’s a lot more than that,” he added.

Johnson’s next Longmire novel is “An Obvious Fact,” planned for release this fall.

Craig Johnson has two coming book signings. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, he will be at the Main Library, 501 Copper NW, Albuquerque, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, he will be at Collected Works, 202 Galisteo St., Santa Fe.

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