Stephen Wilson is an American author. His first book was, “Harvey Couch – An Entrepreneur Brings Electricy to Arkansas”, published in 1986 by August House publishers. He also has won awards for his screenplays which have been presented by the Writer’s Workshop program at the American Film Institute. His mystery, “The White River Killer” was developed as part of the Summer Words program at the Aspen Institute.
Other books include: “Redemption – A Western” is part of a series of westerns featuring the outlaw Frank Palmer. Palmer is working to redeem himself and finds himself helping many people in other books in the series. His newest book is “The Hunt for Frank Palmer.”
This interview is with J. Scott Bennett who narrated the first two books in the series. If you’re looking for a great new Western novel you start… you can’t go wrong with “Redemption – A Western.”
What drove you to start recording audio books?
Well, I’d say my love for reading did. Last summer when I was on break from school (I’m a middle school reading/English teacher), I found an article online describing how one could go about narrating books for audio. I thought, “That would be a cool thing to do over vacation.” I researched it, got some recording gear, and starting doing it.
What drew you to Stephen Wilson’s work?
He put his book on ACX and opened it up for narrator/producer auditions. I think the cover caught my eye first. I checked out the audition piece and thought it sounded interesting. So, I recorded an audition, and he selected me.
What did you like about his books?
Definitely the action! His books are not dull at all. Also, I like the main character. He’s an outlaw, but one you just want to pull for because he has a conscience and doesn’t want the outlaw life.
What actually happens in the first book?
Frank Palmer (along with the gang he rides with) is making a getaway. They come across a group of massacred Indians. There is a baby who is living. He can’t just leave it to die. This is his opportunity to separate himself from the outlaws. He’s still on the run, but having this baby with him gives him a way to take on a different identity. He joins up with a wagon train and tries to find someone to care for the baby. The rest of the first book has to do with the troubles encountered on the trail.
Did you have any trouble with the characterization?
Not really. I’m from Tennessee, and my natural accent morphs easily into a Western drawl. I did a lot of drama back in high school and college, so taking on different roles was fun for me.
How many voices did you have to do for the book?
I had to do all of them. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the smart-aleck response.) Seriously, I think there were a handful of characters that had major dialogue. In all, probably a dozen different voices.
Did the story surprise you at all?
Yes, actually. The book was not cliché at all. You don’t expect an outlaw to have the “soft” heart to want to take in an Indian baby. Then he doesn’t get the girl (sorry for the spoiler there). I was a bit surprised that the story ends without meeting up with the Colter gang again. It is a series, however, so one accepts the fact that it isn’t resolved completely.
Of all the books you’ve worked on—how would you rate his books?
I’ve done a lot of different genres, so I can’t really compare it to all of them. Of the Westerns I’ve worked on, this is definitely one of my favorites.
Will you be working on his next book?
I did do the second book in the series, and if there’s a third, I hope to be called back into action.
Are you ever surprised by how many Western readers there are, still, in the world?
I’m not surprised at all by that. I know I still enjoy Westerns along with other types of fiction.
Do you think writers read more books than the average reader—or is that just a myth?
I think they probably do. I know that I, as a narrator, am definitely reading many more books than I ever did before. That’s one of the coolest parts about my job. I get to do what I love (read), and I don’t have to pay for the books!
And your luxury item to take to a secluded island is….?
It would have to be my Kindle e-reader. Any time my wife and I go on vacation, we both have to take our Kindles. We can carry our entire library wherever we go.
This is the first of a series following Frank Palmer. If you like the story please leave a review. Let me know what you think. Palmer will end up running from the law and his former gang while helping people along the way. The second full-length novel will appear next month.
A novella of 86 pages,After robbing a bank, the Colter Gang stumble on the scene of the massacre of a Cherokee hunting party by Calvary soldiers intent on “pacification”. The sole survivor of the raid is a young Indian baby. Even with a posse hot on their trail, young outlaw Frank Palmer refuses to simply leave the child to die from exposure to the cold. He pledges to join up with the gang as soon as he can find a place to drop off the child.
His plans go awry and he finds himself joining a wagon train to avoid the lawmen closing in on him. Still with the baby as his responsibility, he forms close ties with a preacher’s family and their beautiful young daughter. Palmer finds it difficult to leave both the girl and his young charge to their fate when the Cherokee target their wagons in retaliation for the massacre. To survive, the wagon train needs the help that only an experienced gunman can provide. But will Palmer take on the impossible challenge as protector of the train or take flight to rejoin his gang?
You can get your copy for free today from Amazon.