Overholser, Stephen 1944-
Overholser, Stephen 1944-
PERSONAL: Born June 24, 1944, in Bend, OR; son of Wayne D. (a writer) and Evaleth (a teacher) Overholser; married Linda Baity (an elementary school librarian), June 18, 1976. Education: Attended Western State College of Colorado, 1962-64, University of Colorado, 1965, and Colorado State College, 1965-66. Politics: “Nonviolent.”Hobbies and other interests: Trout fishing, swimming, “creative walking.”
ADDRESSES: Home—Boulder, CO.
CAREER: Writer. Sawmill worker in Bend, OR, 1968; school custodian in Boulder, CO, 1969-73; writer, 1973—. Military service: U.S. Army, 1966-67.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Western Writers of America (member of board of directors, 1978).
AWARDS, HONORS: Spur Award from Western Writers of America, 1974, for A Hanging in Sweetwater.
A Hanging in Sweetwater, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1974.
Molly and the Confidence Man, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1975, Chivers North America (Hampton, NH), 2002.
Search for the Fox, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1976.
Field of Death, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1977.
Molly and the Gold Baron, Bantam (New York, NY), 1981.
Molly on the Outlaw Trail, Bantam (New York, NY), 1982.
Molly and the Indian Agent, Bantam (New York, NY), 1982, Thorndike Press (Waterville, ME), 2004.
Track of a Killer, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1982.
Molly and the Railroad Tycoon, Bantam (New York, NY), 1983.
Molly and the Gambler, Bantam (New York, NY), 1984.
Wild West Rider, Bantam (New York, NY), 1985.
Dark Embers at Dawn: A Western Story, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1998.
Cold Wind: A Western Story, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1999.
Double-Cross: A Western Story, Five Star (Unity, ME), 2001.
Shadow Valley Rising: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.
Fire in the Rainbow: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.
West of the Moon: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.
Chasing Destiny: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.
Night Hawk: A Western Story, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.
Also author of The Bold West, 2000.
(Editor) Roundup, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1982.
Also contributor to Time Machine 9 and Wild West Rider. Contributor to magazines, including Antaeus. Coeditor of Roundup, 1978-79.
SIDELIGHTS: Stephen Overholser once commented to CA: “I have found memoirs, autobiographies, and collections of correspondence most helpful in my research for novels. In such personal writings I find details of life and attitudes that are generally missing from the works of historians. For characterization and motivation I draw on my own life experience and a strange mixture of memory and imagination.”
Overholser has followed in the footsteps of his father, Wayne D. Overholser, who was also a noted Western author. The author of approximately twenty westerns, the younger Overholser, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and continues to live there with his family, primarily sets his westerns in Colorado. For example, in Double-Cross: A Western Story, he features Matt Mc-Cloud who works on a ranch near Denver. When Matt encounters Riley Wilcox, a gambler sentenced to be hung for murder, he discovers that Riley is his identical brother, whom he didn’t even know existed. Convinced Riley is innocent, Matt breaks his twin out of jail and the two go off to find the real killers. “This is an intelligent, character-driven novel with a heart,” wrote Wes Lukowsky in Booklist.
In Shadow Valley Rising: A Western Story, the author tells of the search for a young woman kidnapped by Indians during a wagon train trip from Missouri to Denver. The author’s next novel, Fire in the Rainbow: A Western Story, takes place in Red Rock, Colorado, where widow Marietta Pauls is confined to a wheelchair and wants to sell the ranch her husband left her and move to Denver with her daughter, Eddie. Eddie, however, wants to stay on the ranch and soon meets young Cale Parker, who has lied about his age so he can work as a deputy in town. The novel focuses around the budding romance between the two and Cale’s pursuit of rustlers. Booklist contributor Lukowsky wrote that the author “adds texture with subplots” and went on to the call the novel “a fine western.”
In West of the Moon: A Western Story, Royal Smith is a Union scout who witnesses a mysterious meeting between high-ranking Confederate and Union officers at the end of the Civil War. Heading west after the war to become a rancher, Royal forgets about the meeting until another man, John Nichols, shows up asking about the two officers. Nichols is a rancher but soon is off in search of the men, leading Royal to follow after him on a trail that leads to a deadly encounter. Booklist contributor Lukowsky noted the novel’s “character development, dialogue, and emotional integrity.”
Chasing Destiny: A Western Story, another western set in Colorado, was called “a memorable novel” by Booklist contributor Lukowsky. This time, the novel features Destiny Jane Ekstrum from Denver who, along with twelve-year-old Michael Jennings, sets out to discover whether or not her father is alive. Lukowsky referred to the author as “the current master of the character-driven western.”
In his 2006 Western Night Hawk: A Western Story, Overholser tells the story of a tough and troubled youth who finds himself working on the Circle L Ranch near Coalton, Colorado. The novel focuses on the kid and the ranch’s ramrod, who takes the kid under his wing, seeing true potential in a youngster who is too ornery for his own good. Again writing in Booklist, Lukowsky noted the author’s “memorable characterizations and his unerring depiction of the hardships and rewards of western ranch life.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Sonnichsen, C.L., From Hopalong to Hud: A Survey of Western Fiction, Texas A & M University (College Station, TX), 1979.
Booklist, December 1, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of Cold Wind: A Western Story, p. 685; January 1, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of Double-Cross: A Western Story, p. 920; January 1, 2002, David Pitt, review of Shadow Valley Rising: A Western Story, p. 812; March 15, 2003, Wes Lukowsky, review of Fire in the Rainbow: A Western Story, p. 1275; February 15, 2004, Wes Lukowsky, review of West of the Moon: A Western Story, p. 1037; February 15, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of Chasing Destiny: A Western Story, p. 1061; February 15, 2006, Wes Lukowsky, review of Night Hawk: A Western Story, p. 56.
Fantasticfiction.co.uk,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (February 20, 2008), list of author’s works.*