Of course Craig Johnson has tried Chugwater Chili. New York Times bestselling author of at least 15 books, the man behind the Netflix series Longmire, and native of Wyoming Craig Johnson says, "I live in Wyoming...There are things here that have a geographical anchor to us natives. Sheridan means ropes, Farson means ice cream and Chugwater means chili."
Craig Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming and has been traversing the country promoting his latest novel An Obvious Fact, the twelfth novel in the series that has inspired the popular Netflix show Longmire.
In fact Chugwater, WY and Chugwater Chili is mentioned in Johnson's The Cold Dish, the first novel in the series that has inspired the popular Netflix program Longmire, now in its fifth season. Below, Craig Johnson shares how Walt would eat his Chugwater Chili, advice for aspiring writers, and unique links between Wyoming's Longmire and Chugwater Chili.
In The Cold Dish Walt eats a lot. Do you think he would be a fan of Chugwater chili? What toppings would he add, and what would he drink with it?
Walt’s a big guy and he would definitely be a fan of Chugwater chili along with a healthy dollop of sour cream, cheese and green onions. As to a favorite beverage I think it would have to be an ice-cold Rainier Beer. With the popularity of the books and the television show Longmire, we’ve actually caused a big spike in their sales to the point that we actually ran them out of beer when the TV show started.
What is one of your favorite books that you have written?
All of them, they’re like children and you can’t just single one out. I guess it’s a dynamic where I'm really into the book I’m writing right now.
Who is one of your favorite characters?
Oh, probably Walt himself in that he gets to tell the stories, but there are others like Victoria Moretti and her ability to counter the rural quality of the novels with a very contemporary and urban voice. Henry Standing Bear is another in that he speaks for another major segment of the contemporary American West. I think writing novels is kind of like conducting a choral group in that all the voices are there for a specific purpose in telling a story.
What is some advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Don’t necessarily write what you know, but do write what you love. The other thing is not letting anything get in the way of the writing because the only way you get better is by writing, everything else is just table-setting.
Longmire and Chugwater Chili are uniquely Wyoming. What are some characteristics about the state that you like?
Open space, lack of crowds, traffic and lines. You get spoiled when you live here and it makes it tough to live anywhere else. There’s also the weather. I was just on the road for a month promoting the newest Walt Longmire novel, An Obvious Fact and the whole time I was thinking about my ranch in Ucross (population 25), and how Winter was coming and I was missing the Fall. For me the Winter is best in that things slow down and I can focus on the writing.
Catch up with Craig Johnson on his Tour of Duty stop at Barnes and Noble, Cheyenne, WY on October 23, 2016 at 10:00 AM, or one of his other stops and let us know about your favorite Longmire moment by leaving a comment below.