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Chandler, Jon A. 1951-

CHANDLER, Jon A. 1951-


Born June 22, 1951, in Denver, CO; son of Verdon (a construction trade worker) and Helen (an office worker; maiden name, Patterson) Chandler; married Patricia Talich (a telecommunications manager and real estate salesperson), July 21, 1973; children: Benjamin, Tyler. Ethnicity: "Anglo." Education: University of Denver, 1969-70; University of Northern Colorado, B.A. (communications), 1973, M.A. (business, public relations), 1976. Politics: Republican. Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Trout fishing, genealogy, travel.


Home—10621 Clay Court, Westminster, CO 80234. Agent—Vicki Piekarski, Golden West Literary Agency, 2327 South East Salmon St., Portland, OR 97214. E-mail—[email protected].


Communications consultant, entertainer, songwriter, and author. Jon Chandler Communications, Denver, CO, owner, 1982-85; Mountain States Legal Foundation, Denver, public affairs director, 1985-89; The Clay Group, Denver, president and partner, 1989-93; Western Dog Company, Denver, principal, 1993-99; freelance writer, 1993—. Narrator of audiobooks.


Western Writers of America, Broadcast Music, Inc., AFTRA, Rotary International, Hole in the Wall Gang (past president and director, 1978—).


Colorado Book Award finalist, 2003, for Wyoming Wind: A Story of Tom Horn. Spur Award, Western Writers of America, 1999, for The Spanish Peaks; Classic Telly Award, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1999, for "Things That Are Wild" public service announcement; awards from Soil and Water Conservation Society, National Agri-Marketing, Dalton PEN, and International Association of Business Communicators/Public Relations Society, all 1996, all for Keepers of the Flame CD.


The Spanish Peaks: A Novel of Frontier Colorado, Rodgers & Nelsen (Loveland, CO), 1998.

Wyoming Wind: A Story of Tom Horn, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.

Author of songs recorded on CDs, including Sepia Soul, 1993, Out West of Laramie, 1995, Keepers of the Flame, 1996, and Westerns, 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including Old West and Persimmon Hill Magazine.


The Spanish Peaks was adapted for the screen by Paul Pape, Red Wall Productions.


Conversations; Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Westminster, Colorado, from Those Who Dreamed It and Built It, for city of Westminster; He Was No Hero, a western novel, for Five Star; The Diamond Country, a western novel, for Five Star, 2005; Getting Urgent, an essay collection; I Want My Daddy Back, a story and screenplay; Exor 2005, a contemporary dark-comedy novel; RULES, a novel; Cowboy Critter Campfire Tales, a children's novel; The Mitchell Brothers, a western based on two brothers in 1860s central Nebraska; Snake Eyes, a contemporary western/mystery.


Novelist and entertainer Jon A. Chandler draws his inspiration for fiction from the wealth of culture and beauty in his home state of Colorado. With so much magnificence concentrated in one place, he explained to CA that "finding something to write about is pretty simple, really. For me it often has to do with a mixture of geography, geology and history." Chandler's first published book, The Spanish Peaks: A Novel of Frontier Colorado, demonstrates exactly how passionate he is about these topics.

Winner of the 1999 Western Writers of America's Spur award for best first novel, The Spanish Peaks takes readers on "a wild ride," according to Alan Dumas writing in the Rocky Mountain News. In the 1998 novel readers meet Sam Tate, "a complex protagonist ready to retire to the rocking chair, a man who looks back on a life of adventure," according to Butch Hause in the Denver Post. Tate isn't able to retire quite yet, however; he now seeks out the murderers of his daughter and her family, the evil Garcia brothers, Vivian and Filipio. Readers follow the skilled tracker on his quest, while getting acquainted with numerous other well-developed characters in the process, including the two intriguing villains which Hause described as "unusually provocative," "chillingly callous," and "memorable and affecting." Although The Spanish Peaks received criticism from Dumas for Chandler's "mild dialect when writing Tate's lines," the reviewer then went on to commend the novel for being "as clear and powerful as the land it describes."

A musician as well as an author, Chandler has produced the 1996 album Keepers of the Flame, and the title song off that album was adopted by the National Association of Conservation Districts as their unofficial anthem. As the writer and musician told CA: "My motivation for writing is to tell stories. It's that simple. As far back as I can remember, I was jotting down stories. I've also been an avid reader and began writing short fiction in high school. In college, I was captivated by a variety of writers ranging from Joseph Heller to Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Franz Kafka. On the side, I devoured the books of Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey. I thought I could do what they did.

"I followed the songwriter's path, however, and concentrated on lyrics as my fiction outlet for many years. I kept my skills honed through my corporate life as a public relations creative director, copywriter and marketer. Now, I split my time between writing and songwriting/performing. I prefer to write early in the morning but often find myself working into the wee hours.

"I chose the western genre (western historical fiction) because I'm a Western man, pure and simple. It's what I know. From technical and thematic standpoints, my greatest influences are Frederick Manfred and Larry McMurty." Describing his chosen genre to Hause, Chandler explained: "People identify with westerns because they think they've been there, because in the literary western, as in real life, people overcome obstacles. They always live with some degree of urgency."

Chandler told CA that the most surprising thing that he has learned as a writer is "that characters claim a life of their own. I've learned to care about characters that I create and often wonder how they would react to situations I encounter." Chandler also told CA: "Of the books that I have written, my favorite is the one I'm now completing, He Was No Hero. I believe I've created an exceptionally compelling protagonist in Pearl Heywood, a woman who lives for forty years in the shadow of her husband's murder."



Denver Post, August 23, 1998, Butch Hause, review of The Spanish Peaks, p. I5; May 23, 1999, review of The Spanish Peaks, p. H7; January 12, 2001, Ed Will, "Forty Cowboy Poets and Musicians Riding into Town," p. FF1.

Rocky Mountain News, April 4, 1999, Alan Dumas, review of The Spanish Peaks, p. E7.

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