As a new author to Oak Tree Press, allow me to introduce myself and provide a bit of background.
I have been a published author for nearly three decades now, my first story having appeared in 1982. That first story and most of my subsequent work has been in the detective/ mystery genre, featuring my Midwest PI, Joe Hannibal, who has so far appeared in seven novels and over two dozen short stories. Joe and I are growing old together and, if nothing else, are proving to be a couple of durable old rascals.
I've also done a handful of non-Hannibal short stories, although still primarily crime/mystery-related.
For a long time, however, I've wanted to branch out into the Western genre as well. Which isn't much of a stretch, really, when you consider that the two themes most distinctly attributable to American literature are the Western and the PI mystery. Further, there is a pretty direct link between the two. After all, isn't the tarnished-knight PI looking to right wrongs as he prowls the neon-stained fringes of a city little more than an updated, urbanized version of the iconic Western loner "doing what a man's gotta do" on the dusty streets of the Old West? Both genres, of course, have been polished and expanded over the years considerably beyond those basic premises … but you get the idea.
At any rate, after moving to west central Nebraska a few years back my hankerin' (got to work in the vernacular now as I switch genre hats from fedora to Stetson) to do a Western only increased. I now live in the once-notorious old cowtown of Ogallala, which was the last of the famous rail-head destinations during the final years of the great cattle drive era. It was referred to as "the Gomorrah of the Plains" in those days, although I can assure you it has since tamed down considerably. In addition to the colorful history of the town itself, the paths of the Oregon Trail, the Pony Express, the original Union Pacific route, etc., all run close by. I can almost literally walk out my back door and stand in ruts left by wagons following the Oregon Trail.
You can imagine how such a setting would be inspiring to a writer.
The end result of all this is my first Western novel, Dismal River, due out shortly as part of OTP's new Wild Oak Western line. Naturally, I am delighted by this and excited to join the ranks of other fine writers already working under the OTP banner. Somewhat ironically, it was at a mystery convention last year that one of these writers, Marilyn Meredith, first told me about Oak Tree Press and that they were looking to launch a Western line. True to her word she gave them advance notice (maybe it was a warning) that I would be making contact, and when I did the reception by Billie and Sunny was nothing less than gracious and has remained such ever since. My thanks and gratitude to all of them.
I think the timing for launching a line of new Western books is very good, considering a number of indicators that the "Western" in general seems to be making a comeback. I hope so. I hold that hope for OTP/Wild Oak, for myself, and for all others who still find enjoyment and excitement in tales from that grand old time. I hope Lone McGantry (my protagonist from Dismal River) and me get to ride out on many more adventures and I hope to meet some or all of you on the trail.
Persevere --- Wayne D. Dundee
Persevere --- Wayne D. Dundee