Craig Johnson

What good old boy won the French Prix de Roman Noir? Yes, indeedy, that would be Craig Johnson. Or "Le Cowboy," as he is probably known to a gaggle of French schoolboys who had the unexpected pleasure of his company at The Louvre in Paris.

To hear Craig tell it, he spent a good deal of his French visit trying to get some shut-eye, after an exhausting round of interviews and meetings. In his typically modest way, he attributes his success in France to a fabulous translation of his first book, The Cold Dish. Actually, in France, this book is known as "Little Bird," because "cold dish" translated into "leftovers," and that was not appetizing to the food-loving French. So, yes, a good translation helps, but we know that the great story and characters are what really sold the perceptive French.

We had the amazing good fortune to host Craig twice within a few weeks. The first time was part of his official touring duties to promote Junkyard Dogs, his latest Sheriff Walt Longmire mystery. The second time was as part of his "motorcycle tour," a partly for-fun adventure. He has a good time with his motorcycle going up and down our scenic Pacific Northwest roads.

Craig says that he writes his stories as if he's writing for friends. Readers are not adversaries, he emphasizes. Well, good, because after an hour with Craig Johnson, you begin to feel like he's an old friend who just moseyed down for a visit and who happens to have a whopping good story to tell you.

What should we look for in the future? Another story about Walt's daughter, maybe a TV series, maybe a standalone novel. Craig's throttle is wide open and he's ready for the next great adventure in his life.