As promised, here is one last interview for 2016. I hope you enjoy it.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
We were an Army family, my late, much-missed dad was a regular soldier and we moved around a great deal, even abroad for a couple of years (Malaya). Now I didn't excel at school, though oddly my favourite subjects were Art and of course English composition, so I guess it started there. After I left school I started to experiment with writing, but didn't settle down seriously with it until I was in my early twenties and it was then I knew I had to write.
How many books have you written?
Ninety-six to date (with 97 – Brand 11- under way.) This is a mix of Westerns, Sci-Fi, Horror and Action Adventure.
Do you write under any other names?
A few years ago I did but of late I stick to Neil Hunter for all my efforts. I was Richard Wyler originally and when I wrote under the Mack Bolan-Executioner imprint I had to use the house-name, but as long as my own name was on the contract I was happy.
What’s your latest writing project?
Working on Jason Brand 11 (for Piccadilly Publishing eBooks) and preparing the next couple of Westerns in the Brand/Bodie team up and the Ballard/McCall series.
You’re a British writer, what attracted you to writing westerns?
Since I first saw a Gold Medal book in a window, I was attracted to the cover and bought it I was hooked on Westerns. At that time dozens of US Westerns were available and I just fell in love with the genre. Couldn't get enough. So when I made my decision to write I went for Westerns.
Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
I'm thinking about new ideas most of the time, even when I'm working and I guess I'm lucky that new stories keep coming along. That and the plain fact I just love writing, so I stick to what I know.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to try different ways of working. I've tried writing a book like a movie is made, by working on different sections, then editing it all together at the end. Makes for an interesting time if not hard work. Last book I didn't have any chapter breaks, just kept on with the story with a simple * to denote a scene change. Helps keep the brain working. But at the end of the day it's down to a simple premise. Keep working and don't quit. Some days are more productive than others but if I only manage a single page instead of a half-dozen it doesn't matter. There always comes the long, long day and even longer night, when the work demands it. But what other job allows me to stop and start when I want without someone at my shoulder having a moan. Only writing lets me choose my hours and that's when it's great.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about writing westerns?
Keep them honest. Don't write down to your readers because they deserve to be given the best. Western readers are faithful and they will stay with you if you give them what they want.
What does the well-known adage ‘write what you know’ mean to you?
Does every crime writer know everything about criminal activities? How many Sci-Fi authors have actually been into space? And how many current Western writers have experienced real life out there? Been in a real gunfight? If you love your chosen genre you research, read, and do your best to present a solid piece of writing. That's all any writer can do and I try.
What do you read for pleasure and what are you reading now?
I read in all genres. One of my favorite authors is James Patterson. Really love his books. I like thrillers, action, have read many of the classics. I've read most Louis L'Amour books because I found him so good and liked the way he wrote. His style looked easy but it was hard to emulate him.
Is there one book or author you’ve read that inspired you to write westerns and, if so, why?
As I just said Louis L'Amour and back when they were going strong I liked all the Gold Medal Books when that imprint was bringing out such great novels. So many good writers. I can still re-read those books and marvel at the great covers they produced.
Which of your books would you recommend to a first time reader? Why have you chosen it?
I would choose BRIGHAM'S WAY. A book I'm very fond of. It's about three brothers who come to Colorado in the middle of the gold strikes and set down roots. They find gold, one of them starts in the cattle business. They make enemies and have to fight to survive against the weather, the land and help build the new country. They stand together and face whatever is thrown at them and survive. Plenty of action, Western style, and a satisfactory ending. There was a second book JACOB'S ROAD, and the third SETH'S LAW is under way.
If you could go anywhere at any time- past, present or future - where would that be and why?
I would like to go and see the American West I write about. Just to view the wild country and see what it is really like. My only US trip gave me four days in Chicago. No time to go further unfortunately.
Here's a special treat...a full list of Mike Linaker's works.
INCIDENT AT BUTLER’S STATION
Originally written as Richard Wyler and Published by AVON BOOKS, USA. 1967. Both published by Robert Hale-UK and re-issued in USA by HarperTorch in 2004. eBooks coming.
BOUNTY KILLER – SUNDANCE 15
A badly presented mess from Nordon Publications. Original script HIGH KILL adapted for a misjudged Sundance book. Not writer’s choice and a good story ruined by the editing butchers. Published by NORDON PUBLICATIONS in SUNDANCE series, USA, 1975.
Originally written as Dan Stewart and published by HERBERT JENKINS, GB, 1976.
Savage Gun - Large Print by Dales Large Print. ebooks coming.
SETH’S LAW (under way)
Originally written as Matt Jordan and published by HERBERT JENKINS, GB, 1976. Serialized in Norwegian magazine "WESTERN". Plus thirty short stories centered around the characters in the books. eBooks from PP.
JASON BRAND SERIES: Written as Neil Hunter. Western series devised for and published by BLADKOMPANIET AS, Norway, from 1978 onwards. Four short stories to introduce character in WESTERN magazine. All titles in series now reissued by PP as eBooks.
#1 Gun For Hire
#5 Day Of The Gun
#6 Brotherhood Of Evil
#7 Legacy Of Evil
#8 Devil’s Gold (self-published and also in Large Print-also from PP).
#9 High Kill (Original for PP)
#10 The Killing Days (Original for PP)
#11 The Vengeance Gun (Upcoming-Original for PP)
BRAND/BODIE Tieups: (New Titles for PP)
#1 - Two Guns North (Original for PP)
#2 - Two Guns West (Original for PP)
#3 - Two Guns East (Upcoming)
#4 - Two Guns South (Upcoming)
BODIE SERIES: Created and written for STAR BOOKS, GB as Neil Hunter. Six books, 1979.
#2 Bloody Bounty
#3 High Hell
#4 Killing Trail
#6 Day of The Savage
#7 Desert Run (Original for PP)
#8 The High Riders (Original for PP)
#9 Ride The Savage Hills (Original for PP)
#10 Along The High Divide (Upcoming. Original for PP)
Ballard & McCall Series
#1 Two from Texas (Original for PP)
#2 Guns of the Brasada (Original for PP)
#3 Colorado Blood Hunt (Original for PP)
TRAVIS: Western novel. Written as Richard Wyler and published by Robert Hale, GB, 1985. eBook from PP.
ANGEL: Western series written as Frederick H. Christian on a commission from the original author Frederick Nolan. Only published in Germany. 1978.
#1 Hell’s Angel
#2 Wild Angel
#3 Angel’s Law
#4 Angel’s Way
#5 Long Ride To Hell
NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY
SCORPION: Horror/thriller published under own name by NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY, GB, 1980.(US Edition 1981 by New American Library, Swedish Edition 1982). eBook from PP
TOUCH OF HELL: Horror/thriller published under own name by New English Library, GB, 1981. eBook out from PP.
SCORPION-SECOND GENERATION: Horror/thriller published under own name by New English Library, GB, 1982.(Swedish Edition 1984). eBook out from PP.
GOLD EAGLE BOOKS, CANADA
PHOENIX FORCE SERIES
#1 Missile Menace - 1988
#2 Amazon Strike - 1989
#3 Search and Destroy (Super Novel) - 1989
#4 Main Offensive - 1989
#5 Barracuda Run - 1990
#6 Extreme Prejudice - 1990
#7 Survival Run - 1992
#8 Dirty Mission – 1992
MACK BOLAN/EXECUTIONER SERIES
#1 War Hammer - 1993
#2 Sudden Fury -1994
#3 Hostile Action - 1995
#4 Hard Contact - 1995(Audio version of Hard Contact now available).
#5 End Game - 1997(Audio version of End Game now available).
#6 Black Dawn Rising- 1999
#7 Shadow Search – 2004 (Audio version of Shadow Search now available)
#8 Deadly Contact
#9 Dark Alliance
#10 Desperate Cargo
#11 System Corruption
#12 Cartel Clash
#13 Deadly Command
#14 Hostile Force
#15 Blind Justice – #400 in Series
#16 Viral Siege
#17 Maximum Chaos
#18 Cartel Hit
# 19 Kill Squad (published 2016)
SUPER BOLAN SERIES
#1 Zero Option (Audio version available)
#2 Circle of Deception
#3 Blood Dynasty
#4 War Drums
#5 Patriot Play
#6 Judas Project
#8 Chain Reaction
STONY MAN SERIES
# 1 Nuclear Nightmare -#19 in series - November 1995
# 2 Flashback -#26 in series - January 1997
# 3 Command Force -#47 in series - June 2000
# 4 Dragon Fire -#49 in series - October 2000
# 5 Extreme Measures - #55 in series - October 2001
# 6 Slingshot Project 1 - Defensive Action - August 2002
# 7 Slingshot Project 2 - Rogue State - October 2002
# 8 Day of Decision – February 2004
# 9 Freedom Fire 1 - Gathering Storm – 2005
#10 Freedom Fire 2 - Full Blast – 2005
#11 China Crisis
#12 Terminal Guidance
#13 Terror Trail
#14 Pulse Point
#15 Double Blindside
#16 Death Minus Zero (Sequel to Zero Option)
CADE: Future fiction series for GOLD EAGLE.
#1 Darksiders - 1992
#2 Hardcase - 1992
#3 Firestreak - 1993
#4 Spiral (Upcoming for PP)
Now out in Large Print from Linford. eBooks out from PP.
Out Of The High Country – Western Novel
The West Bay Murders – Police thriller set in 1895 Lancashire – [possible series].
Touch & Go (Crime novel - under way).
Advisor and contributor to new edition of: 20th Century Western Writers - Published by St. James Press, Chicago - 1991.
Article in Dec-Jan 2003 edition of Writing Magazine 'Doing It My Way'
Updated – August 2016