Frederick William Nolan (born 7 March 1931 in Liverpool) is an English editor and writer, mostly known as Frederick Nolan, but also using the pen names Donald Severn, Daniel Rockfern, Christine McGuire and Frederick H. Christian.
Nolan was educated in Liverpool and Aberaeron in Wales. At the age of 21, he began the researches that established him as one of England's leading authorities on the American West. In 1954 he was co-founder of The English Westerners' Society.
At the start of his career, he became first a reader, and later an editor, for Corgi (Bantam) Books in London. The move to London in the early 1960s made it possible for him to pursue the other consuming interest of his life: the American musical theatre. During this time, he also began writing western fiction as Frederick H. Christian, a pseudonym derived from his own, his wife Heidi's, and his oldest son's first names.
Over the next decade, while working in publishing – with Transworld, then Penguin, Collins, and Granada in London, and later with Ballantine and Warner in New York, he produced 14 westerns as well as a considerable body of journalism.
On 4 July 1973, Nolan quit his job as a highly paid publishing executive and signed a contract to write eight full-length novels in a year. The first of these was the successful The Oshawa Project (published in the US as The Algonquin Project) which was later filmed by MGM as Brass Target, starring Sophia Loren, John Cassavetes, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, Patrick McGoohan and Max von Sydow. Since that time he has completed more than 70 books and a similar number of biographical studies and articles for historical journals.
Considered[by whom?] to be one of the foremost authorities on the life and times of Billy the Kid, and the history of the American West in general, Nolan appears frequently in television documentaries dealing with the subject, as well as lecturing to historical societies in the UK and US, and also on cruise ships.
His westerns included the Angel series of books, as well as five additional books in the Sudden series that had been created by Oliver Strange. These have latterly been reissued under new titles, while the Angel series now appears under the pseudonym Daniel Rockfern (which is an anagram of "Frederick Nolan").
In 1993, Nolan received the Border Regional Library Association of Texas' Award for Literary Excellence. In 2001, he was awarded the first France V. Scholes Prize for outstanding research from the Historical Society of New Mexico and during the same year, he received the first J. Evetts Haley Fellowship from the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. In 2005, the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association (WOLA) gave him its highest honour, the Glenn Shirley Award, for his lifetime contribution to outlaw-lawman history; in 2006, The Westerners Foundation named his The West of Billy the Kid as one of the hundred most important 20th-century historical works on the American West and, in 2007, the National Outlaw-Lawman Association (NOLA) awarded him its William D. Reynolds Award in Recognition of Outstanding Research and Writing in Western History. A year later, True West Magazine named him "Best Living Non-fiction Writer".
- The Oshawa Project (1974; published in the US as The Algonquin Project, 1975; a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, filmed as Brass Target in 1978)
- The Mittenwald Syndicate (1976; another best-selling thriller about the Reichsbank robbery in Germany at the end of World War Two)
- Carver's Kingdom (1980; historical novel about the building of the American Transcontinental railroad)
- White Nights, Red Dawn (1980; historical novel set amid the turmoil of the Russian Revolution).
- A Promise of Glory (1983; historical novel about an American family during the Revolution)
- Blind Duty (1983; historical novel about the same family during the Civil War)
- Field of Honour (1985; historical novel about a family during the Spanish–American War)
- Wolf Trap (1983; thriller about the 1942 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague)
- Red Centre (1987; a hi-tech espionage thriller)
- Sweet Sister Death (1989; a prescient thriller featuring a terrorist strike in New York)
- Alert State Black (1989; Charles Garrett fights terrorism in Germany)
- Designated Assassin (1990; this time the terrorists are Irish)
- Rat Run (1991; Garrett combats a group planning the biggest ecological disaster ever)
As Christine McGuire
As Frederick H. Christian
As Daniel Rockfern
Translated from French
(and 15 other titles in the series)
- Richard Benke, "Writer debunks myths about `Billy the Kid'", Amarillo Globe-News, August 13, 2000.
- Frederick Nolan website.
- Author Profile of "Frederick H. Christian", at Piccadilly Publishing.
- Richard Benke, "British Writer Shoots Holes in the Legend of a Gunslinging Billy the Kid; History: Author says much of the misinformation can be traced to a book partly written by the sheriff who killed Billy in 1881", Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2000.
- Dale Walker, "FOLKLORE SAVED, PASSED ALONG BY WESTERN UNIVERSITY PRESS" Rocky Mountain News, May 31, 1992.
- "Was 'Blood and Guts' General killed by Conspirators?", The Montreal Gazette, December 12, 1978.
- Tim Carlson, "'Brass Target': The Story Behind the Movie", The Hour, 11 January 1979.
- Newgate Callendar, "Crime", New York Times, April 26, 1987.
- Francie Grace, "Billy The Kid Still Making News", CBS News, June 10, 2003.
- Dave Walker, "The Kid is Alright", 'Phoenix New Times, October 2, 1991.
- "The death of General George S. Patton"
- Interview With Frederick Nolan on CNN Live Saturday, aired June 14, 2003.