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Braun, Matt 1932-

BRAUN, Matt 1932-

(Warren Burke, Tom Lord)

PERSONAL: Born November 15, 1932, near Elk City, OK; married Bettiane Shumska, 1969. Education: Attended military academies at Bartlesville and Claremore, OK; Florida State University, B.A. (journalism), 1955.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Richard Curtis, 171 East Seventy-Fourth St., New York, NY 10021.

CAREER: Journalist and writer. Military service: U.S. Army, 1955-57, ranger, taught survival training at Fort Benning, GA and Fort Stewart, GA; attained rank of first lieutenant.

MEMBER: Western Writers of America (member of board of directors).

AWARDS, HONORS: Spur Award for Best Historical Novel, Western Writers of America, for The Kincaids, 1977; Stirrup Award, for best articles in Roundup, 1987, 1988; Festival of the West Cowboy Spirit Award; lifetime appointment as Oklahoma Territorial Marshal.

WRITINGS:

Black Fox, Fawcett (New York NY), 1972.

Mattie Silks, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1972, republished as The Gamblers, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

The Savage Land, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1973.

El Paso, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1973.

Noble Outlaw, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1975.

Bloody Hand, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1975.

Cimarron Jordan, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1975.

Kinch, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1975.

Buck Colter, Dell (New York, NY), 1976.

The Kincaids, Putnam (New York, NY), 1976.

The Second Coming of Lucas Brokaw, Dell (New York, NY), 1977.

Hangman's Creek, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Lords of the Land, Dell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Stuart Women, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980, published as This Loving Promise, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1984.

Jury of Six, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1980.

Tombstone, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Spoilers, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Manhunter, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Deadwood, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Judas Tree, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1982.

(Under pseudonym Warren Burke) The Killing Touch, Charter Books (New York, NY), 1983.

Santa Fe, Sphere (London, England), 1983, published as Bloodstorm, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1985.

(Under pseudonym Tom Lord) Highbinders, Avon (New York, NY), 1984.

(Under pseudonym Tom Lord) Crossfire, Avon (New York, NY), 1984.

(Under pseudonym Tom Lord) The Wages of Sin, Avon (New York, NY), 1984.

Indian Territory, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1985.

The Brannocks, New American Library (New York, NY), 1986.

(Under pseudonym Warren Burke) A Time of Innocence, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

Windward West, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.

Rio Hondo, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.

A Distant Land, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.

Tenbow, New American Library (New York, NY), 1991.

Wyatt Earp, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Outlaw Kingdom, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Texas Empire, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Doc Holliday: The Gunfighter, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

One Last Town, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

The Last Stand, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Rio Grande, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Gentleman Rogue, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Indian Territory, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

You Know My Name, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Bloodsport, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Shadow Killers, St Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Deathwalk, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Kinch Riley, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Hickok and Cody, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

The Wild Ones, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

NONFICTION

The Save-Your-Life Defense Handbook, Devin-Adair (Old Greenwich, CT), 1977.

Matt Braun's Western Cooking, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1988, Caxton Printers (Caldwell, ID), 1996.

How to Write Western Novels, Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1988.

Also author of the novel Westward of the Law, written as promotion for a major cigarette manufacturer, 1991.

ADAPTATIONS: CBS six-hour miniseries adapted from the novel Black Fox; TNT movie, You Know My Name, adapted from Braun's novel, One Last Town.

SIDELIGHTS: Matt Braun, author of more than forty books, is a fourth-generation westerner born near Elk City, Oklahoma. Counting pioneers, ranchers, hunters, and land barons among his ancestors, Braun, not surprisingly, was pulled in the direction of writing about the land and the history he knows so well. Braun mixes fact and fiction when writing about many of his characters, including Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, and John Wesley Hardin.

After attending college and serving in the U.S. Army, Braun met and married Bettiane Shumska. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife moved to a mountain cabin where Braun was determined to give himself a year in which to write a novel that would sell. According to Carmen Faymonville, in Twentieth-Century American Western Writers, Braun's first published novel, Black Fox, is "generally considered his best." The novel recounts the adventures of Britt Johnson, a freed slave who settles near Fort Belknap, Texas, just before the U.S. Civil War, in the hopes of rescuing his family—as well as neighbors—who have been abducted by Comanche and Kiowa Indians.

Comparing Braun's characters to those of American novelist Theodore Dreiser's, Faymonville remarked, "though determined by their environment, seek to control their destinies but finally must discover that they are always 'in bondage to something or someone.'" By the mid-1970s Braun had already published nine novels, including Noble Outlaw, Bloody Hand, The Second Coming of Lucas Brokaw, and Cimarron Jordan. Regarding Cimarron Jordan, reviewer Genevieve Stuttaford wrote in Publishers Weekly, "Braun doesn't depart from a convention." Connie Fletcher, however, in Booklist, called The Second Coming of Lucas Brokaw—a speculative novel, published the same year as Cimarron Jordan, in which the protagonist discovers through dream analysis and hypnosis that he has lived before—"a well-plotted, amusing novel."

Braun's tenth novel, The Kincaids, is set between 1871 and 1924, and tells of a family's struggles during the settlement of Oklahoma and Kansas. At this time, the advent of the railroad and the land rush displaced many Native Americans. Using pioneer diaries, maps, and newspaper reprints, Braun re-creates the town of Guthrie, Oklahoma at this turbulent time. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews remarked on the novel's "Believable characters and . . . swift hard plot," while a reviewer for Booklist commented, "There's a ring of familiarity . . . yet skill infuses new life in old plots."

In 1979 Budd Arthur, in Booklist, called Braun's Hangman's Creek—in which the character Starbuck first appears—"a fast-moving adventure yarn." Jury of Six, the sequel to Hangman's Creek, continues Starbuck's adventures and features appearances by Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. According to Frank A. Lydic, who reviewed the novel in Booklist, "the tale fairly well parallels historical accounts of the era." Starbuck next returns in Tombstone, wherein he befriends Wyatt Earp to gain his confidence. In Publishers Weekly, Barbara A. Bannon noted, "the resolution isn't quite what the reader expects . . . much to Braun's credit."

A West Coast Review of Books reviewer described Braun's Bloodstorm as "a savage saga of corruption and deceit in 1880s Denver" that struck the reviewer as "less a western novel than a terrific detective yarn." In addition, after publishing three novels in 1984 under the pseudonym Tom Lord, Braun published Indian Territory, a post-Civil War story in which the hero, John Ryan, clashes with the management of the Texas Railroad. Paul T. Clark, reviewing the book in Booklist, described the story as "entertaining" and "actionfilled."

Braun's novel, The Brannocks, is the first part of a historical series that includes Windward West, Rio Hondo, and A Distant Land. Paul T. Clark, writing in Booklist, stated that the novel provided "an acceptable amount of action for western fans," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "well plotted" and "entertaining." Tenbow, however, is another Braun murder mystery that features western detective Jack Stillman. Pat Costello, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, commented that Braun's evocation of detail "plays out in the reader's mind as if on a movie screen," but that the novel's pacing was "slow and deliberate."

Recent interest in the western genre inspired Braun to write a guide to the western novel. According to Martin A. Brady, in Booklist, Braun "is eminently qualified to opine on the many different aspects of crafting a salable book." Michael T. Marsden, in Western American Literature, noted: "It is downright refreshing to read a straightforward, no-nonsense account of how a successful storyteller goes about his craft." Marsden concluded, "While Braun's focus is on the Western genre, his lessons are for all popular writers."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 212: Twentieth-Century American Western Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Twentieth-Century Western Writers, St. James Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July 15, 1976, review of The Kincaids, p. 1569; January 15, 1978, review of The Second Coming of Lucas Brokaw, p. 796; September 1, 1979, Budd Arthur, review of Hangman's Creek, p. 29; June 1, 1980, Frank A. Lydic, review of Jury of Six, p. 1413; November 1, 1985, Paul T. Clark, review of Indian Territory, p. 374; May 1, 1986, Paul T. Clark, review of The Brannocks, p. 1281; August, 1988, Martin A. Brady, review of How to Write Western Novels, p. 1883.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1976, review of TheKincaids, p. 489; January 1, 1980, review of The Stuart Women, p. 16.

Library Journal, September 1, 1976, Mark Neyman, review of The Kincaids, p. 1795.

Publishers Weekly, February 3, 1975, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Cimarron Jordan, p. 76; October 10, 1977, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Second Coming of Lucas Brokaw, p. 67; January 18, 1980, Barbara A. Bannon, review of The Stuart Women, p. 130; February 27, 1981, Barbara A. Bannon, review of Tombstone, p. 148; April 18, 1986, review of The Brannocks, p. 64; September 16, 1988, review of Matt Braun's Western Cooking, p. 77.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1991, Pat Costello, review of Tenbow, p. 168.

West Coast Review of Books, May, 1985, review of Bloodstorm, p. 54.

Western American Literature, summer, 1989, Michael T. Marsden, review of How to Write Western Novels, p. 172.

OTHER

Matt Braun Web site,http://www.mattbraun.com (September 13, 2001).*

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