Saturday, April 11, 2015

Interview with Chet Cunningham

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Chet Cunningham is a veteran in the writing world, with other 350 books under his belt. We were fortunate that he could take a few moments out of his day to let us ask him a few questions.

Wolfpack Publishing: You write a lot of western novels. What is it about the genre that appeals to you?

Chet Cunningham: The old west was so real that it hurt. Man had to live a tough life just to survive. The women had to be strong too. It came down to life or death many times. It made for great heroes, justice the old way. Besides, Westerns are not dated, they can sell for twenty or thirty years. 1874 is always 1874…. in the real west.

WP: Are westerns the genre that you enjoy reading the most?

CC: Actually I read very few Westerns now. When I started out I bought twenty westerns at a used bookstore, read them all, took notes of western words, phrases and history and used those notes to fashion my first western books. My eyesight does not allow me to read anything but a large print book and I really don’t have the time to do that.

WP: Your first novel was published in 1968. How do you think you’ve grown as an author since that first piece of work?

CC: Better plots, better characters, more details in the west, just a better book. However the first book I wrote, “Bushwhackers on the Circle K” is still selling on Kindle and Amazon.

WP: That’s incredible. You’ve written over 350 books, and I’ve been told that you write daily. Paint us a picture of what it looks like when you’re writing: where and when do you most often work?

CC: Okay…it has changed. I’m 86 years old so I don’t write twelve hours a day. I usually get to the keyboard by ten o’clock, write to twelve or one, then take a nap and write again from two to four thirty. I usually do another two hours from seven to nine at night when I break off and watch the news. I write in 22 point bold on a 27-inch screen so I can read on screen what I’m writing.

WP: Whatever works for you, right? Which of your books was the biggest labor of love?

CC: That would be “The Frog Men of World War II.” It’s about the Navy’s underwater demolition men who later turned into the navy Seals of today. I tracked forty or fifty men who did the underwater explosions and clearing underwater obstructions prior to landing craft hitting the beach. It is still on sale today.

WP: Out of all the characters you have created and written about, who is your favorite and why?

CC: My favorite is Col. Colt Harding, of the Lightning Troop of cavalry in the l870’s who fought the Indians. He’s human, he’s tough, he’s brilliant in the field, and he is a good family man.

WP: You have fairly recently begun selling some of your novels as eBooks. What do you think of the booming digital publishing market?

CC: It’s a great marketing system. I can write a book in a month, send it to my publisher, Wolfpack Publishing, and within a week it is on the internet and selling. I also get a daily report of how many of each of my 50 books with Wolfpack are selling, and how many are borrowed. It’s a great way to keep a book selling for a long time. I have some series of books that I wrote thirty-five years ago now selling well. Yes, they are westerns, I told you Westerns never go out of date. I can write and sell twelve books a year, which makes me the first man writing and selling a book a month. Want to join the club?

WP: What has your experience been like publishing exclusively with Wolfpack?

CC: There is a writer himself who heads Wolfpack, Larry J. Martin. He knows books, he likes writers, and he does all he can to sell each writer’s books. Would not ever think of going to another publisher (unless somebody offered me a million dollars to write a book)…So I’m set for life here at Wolfpack and selling more books than ever before.

WP: We’re glad to hear you aren’t looking to go anywhere anytime soon. What do you think of the western genre today and what do you think the future holds for the western?

CC: The western is a staple of the book market. They will be around as long as there are readers, and are very large in the digital field. The paper westerns will gradually fade away as they become more expensive and the younger generation becomes more and more hooked on digital. Go westerns…. go digital… go Wolfpack.


You can read more about Chet Cunningham, here. Be sure to check out Slaughter at Buffalo Creek and the other books in the Pony Solider Series.

This post originally appeared on Wolfpack Publishing on 4/10/2015


  1. Good for you, Chet. I pray I can still be working at 86.

  2. 86 years old and still excited about writing books! What an inspiration. And aside from being a Western writing legend, I think Chet Cunningham is just plain adorable!

  3. Chet, I'm still working in 12 point but I have to turn the background black and the print white in order to work. The white background is just too bright for my surgically repaired eye. I sympathize with having to make adjustments.

  4. I met Chet Cunningham briefly at WWA Conference years ago in Arizona. We chatted briefly and I asked why he didn't have a website that promoted his 300 plus books. He said, "That would be too much for the readers." I told him I didn't agree.

    I'm glad he is doing well now and can bring out all his books.

  5. Chet and I go back 30+ years to the heyday of action/adventure paperbacks when we worked together on several action series. Chet is a pro's pro, and still writing and publishing at 86 makes him one of my heroes!

  6. The great thing about storytelling, you are never too young or old. Thank you for the gifts of stories, both Chet and Wolfpack. Doris

  7. Truly inspirational, Mr Cunningham. Keep producing them.

  8. Hey Chet, I think in WF we have a few guys who have written at least 12 books a year. It's how we make a living!:)