Robert Knott’s life as a screenwriter and actor led him to adapting Robert B Parker’s Appaloosa into a script with the film’s star and director Ed Harris. When Robert B. Parker passed, his estate asked Mr. Knott to continue the adventures of Southwest gunfighters Hitch & Cole. His third continuation of the series, The Bridge, has our heroes going up against some vicious killers trying to sabotage the construction of a bridge. They must also deal with a group of traveling performers who have stopped in Appaloosa.
We caught up with Bob before he joins us Wednesday, January 14th, at 7 pm, with Mike Blakely, for a discussion of writing about the west. We asked him a few questions about writing the new book and taking over Parker’s characters.
MysteryPeople: The Bridge is aptly titled because much of it deals with the construction and destruction of a bridge. What drew you to making that the central plot point?
Robert Knott: Changes in culture, evolution, innovation I find interesting…Transportation, communication, commerce in the West – the new frontier – is fascinating.
MP: There’s a group of traveling performers in the story… I know your parents were traveling musicians. Did you draw from any of their experiences?
RK: Sure, I had very colorful characters in my family, and knowing that world makes it easy to conceptualize…I’ve written screenplays and theater pieces that deal with this way of life, so I felt this approach would be fun and entertaining.
MP: One thing you bring to this series is a richer flavor of authenticity. How do you go about research when starting a new book?
RK: I love research! I know a lot of writers don’t, but I really like to get into the moment to moment reality…What characters have to deal with, and how they do it, puts us int he moment as well.
MP: One of the the things the series is known for is the laconic back and forth dialogue between Cole and Hitch. How much work does it take to get that cadence right?
RK: Not much – I grew up in Oklahoma and worked in the oilfields for many years, and, well, this laconic communication is pretty much second nature there.
MP: What have you learned about Hitch and Cole in writing the three books that you didn’t know about them when writing the script to Appaloosa?
RK: Well, like all of us, I think the more we travel, the more encounters we have, the more we have seen and experienced, the more we are affected. And so Hitch and Cole gain wisdom along the way.
Copies of The Bridge are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Robert Knott and Mike Blakely will be speaking and signing their latest Western-themed novels on Wednesday, January 14, at 7 pm on BookPeople’s second floor. The speaking portion of the event is free and open to the public. You must purchase a copy of the authors’ latest to get it signed. Can’t make it to the event, but still want a signed copy? You can buy a copy of the event book ahead of time and get it signed by the author!