Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Longmire" author to speak at Benicia Public Library

(Originally published in the 1/12/16 edition)

   Craig Johnson, the best-selling author of the “Walt Longmire Mysteries” series, will be coming to the Benicia Public Library for a presentation and Q-and-A session.
   Johnson’s 12 books have been critical and commercials successes, with some placing on the New York Times Best Seller list and others winning numerous book awards. The books follow the investigations of Walt Longmire, a Wyoming sheriff who inquires into crimes within his jurisdiction while campaigning for re-election.
   The books also spawned the TV series “Longmire,” which ran on the A&E network for three seasons with the premiere boasting the highest rated debut in the channel’s history. For its fourth season, the series was picked up by Netflix where it will also run for a fifth season. The Wyoming town of Buffalo celebrates an event called Longmire Days, which Johnson attends along with close to 10,000 others.
   Johnson has done several speaking engagements across the country, including one in Corte Madera last year which Library Director Fran Martinez Coyne attended with a colleague. 
   “My colleague said ‘Well, let’s just email him and see what it takes to get him to Benicia,’” Coyne said. “I had no idea how much it would cost or if I would have to go to a booking agent, so I just sent him an email.” 
   Coyne did not immediately get a reply back to her email or the followup she sent. She stopped pursuing the opportunity until Johnson finally did get back to her.
   “Out of the blue, he sent me an email and said ‘I’m doing some research, I’m in your area and this is the day I have,’” she said. “I had no leeway, I had only one day that he was available in Benicia. I checked my schedule and fortunately my meeting room was available.”
   “It was serendipity for me,” she added. “It kind of just happened, and it worked out.”
   Coyne has watched episodes of “Longmire” and listened to audiobooks of his novels, which she says are very impressive. 
   “The ‘Longmire’ show is actually shot in New Mexico, where I’m from,” she said. “The characters in the books and the series are very believable, and the twists and turns that happen to make it a fun read.”
   Johnson will be screening a “Longmire” episode of his choosing, which will last approximately 45 minutes. Afterwards he will give a book talk and open the floor for a Q-and-A. There will also be books for sale provided by Bookshop Benicia.
   Coyne says audiences should find plenty to enjoy about his presentation.
   “He’s an amazing speaker,” she said. “I’ve only heard him once, but people have come up to me and say they are very excited to hear him again.”
   The event will take place 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Library, located on 150 East L St. The event is free, but attendees will need to RSVP through the website, located at BeniciaLibary.org. Friends of the Benicia Library and the Shorelight Inn will be sponsoring the event. For more information, contact the Library at 746-4343. 


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