Johnson writes from his ranch in Ucross, population of 25. His books are a treat for the people in Wyoming because his characters interact with the landscape and towns that only Wyomingites understand. His new book Daughter of The Morning Star will be released September 21, 2021. In celebration of his series, next week is Longmire Days, and in October he will be coming to Casper for a book signing.
The first big event for Craig Johnson is Longmire Days. They will be held in Buffalo, Wyoming September 2-5. The event is being held in person, after much debate over the safety concerns with COVID-19. However, it is going to be scaled back quite a bit. There will also be some events online.
The actors are not able to attend this year, but the event is still a go. They will be having a 5k run, a Longmire Rodeo, and a number of events discussing his new book Daughter of the Morning Star. You can see the full schedule of events here.
Johnson says, “It is a unique scaled back version of our usual Longmire Days.” He describes that 10 years ago, when he first started Longmire Days, it was just him signing books. Even then a couple hundred people came, but it was elevated to another level when the television show started and the actors starting coming. “At one point we had over 15,000 people here… we wish it could all be live, but all of the actors have done some really marvelous interviews that we are going to have online,” says Johnson.
According to the Longmire Event website, “As with every year, the net proceeds from the Longmire Days 2021 event will be donated to our national charity, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and our local charity, Johnson County Search and Rescue. Both of these organizations do lifesaving work, and we are proud to support them in their mission.” General admission tickets for Longmire Days are available here.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center “deals with the plague of horrible situations that have been happening with native women,” and plays a big part in Johnson’s upcoming book.
Johnson says, “This book is a little different than all the others, like it deals with missing and murdered indigenous women. That became an issue for me, simply because I was up in Hardin, Montana doing a library event, and there was a missing persons (a home-made missing persons) poster. It was a young woman that was missing and it was heartrending for me because there was information, a reward, and a picture of her face. And where the sun came through the door of the library, where the sun hit it, it had faded out about half of it. So only half of the young woman’s face was there… It looked like it had been hanging there for years, and I started to think that was one of the worst things that could happen to a loved one.”
This inspired him and he decided to write about it in his newest book. Viewing it as a social issue, he had to find a way to place Walt Longmire in the situation and be able to talk about in a way that had not been done before. In the book, Longmire encounters a young woman who is being threatened, who’s sister had disappeared a year earlier. It is something new that Longmire has never experience and he has to find a way to help her. Johnson says that this aspect gave him access the social issue and a character that has an entertaining background.
One of the biggest things that he hopes readers will take away from his new book is an awareness of the situation with missing indigenous people. According to the FBI, more than 5,600 Native American women went missing last year. He says that the Native American population is rather small, and sadly the number of missing people is vastly disproportional to this.
Johnson continues by saying, “There are a lot of responsibilities that go along with being a writer. You have a job to entertain, and to provide a good read. But you also have responsibilities like anybody else in a culture…” He also says that he had a responsibility to know how it would affect Walt Longmire and the other characters in his books.
After the release of the book, he is going on a signing tour to some of the bigger metropolitan areas, but he will also be making the trek to Casper. You can get your own signed copy of The Daughter of the Morning Star and meet Craig Johnson yourself on October 2nd at 7 p.m. at the Natrona Country Library.
Johnson says that doing signings in Wyoming will always be near and dear to his heart. He says, “People have different responses to the books… certainly people from our area in Wyoming are going to get a lot more out of the books than people from other places. They are going to get a little bit more out of the books, simply because of context. They know Wyoming, and so they get all inside jokes, and all of the inside information.”
When asked why he chose Wyoming of all the places to live and write from, the famous author replied with a laugh and taunting, “Why do you have a sense of incredulity in your voice when you ask that question?” He continues by saying, “It beautiful… the mountains are so accessible, and there is a sublime beauty in the Powder River Country. I fell in love it.”