Richard S. Wheeler
Richard S. Wheeler
|Born||Richard Shaw Wheeler|
|Died||February 24, 2019|
|Occupation||Writer, newspaper and book editor|
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin|
|Notable works||"Barnaby Skye" book series|
Richard Shaw Wheeler was an American author and former newspaper editor. He is best known for his novels set in the American West, including the "Barnaby Skye" series. Wheeler was the 2001 recipient of the Owen Wister Award for lifetime contributions to Western literature, and is a six-time Western Writers of America Spur Award winner.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Richard Wheeler was raised in the suburb of Wauwatosa in a family descended from New England Puritans. Following graduation from Wauwatosa High School in 1953, Wheeler moved to California in the mid-1950s for three years. At first intending to be a playwright, he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse, later taking acting lessons and trying his hand at being a screenwriter. While in California he supported himself by working in a Hollywood record store and as a freelance photographer. Meeting with little success, he returned to his native Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Wheeler returned to the west after attending the University of Wisconsin, working at a succession of newspapers including the Nevada Appeal, Phoenix Gazette, Oakland Tribune, and Billings Gazette. In 1972 he switched careers and became a book editor for a number of publishers, most notably Walker & Company. Inspired by both the westerns he was editing and the frequent layoffs in the industry which left him with free time, Wheeler penned his first novel, Bushwhack, published by Doubleday in 1978. He wrote five more novels in the 1970s and 1980s while still working as a book editor, before turning his attention to writing full-time in 1987. Two years later he won the first of five Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America with his 1989 book, Fool's Coach. His novel, Rendezvous and Dark Passage, was published by Tor Books in 2015 and Easy Pickings in 2016; his earlier novels, The Far Tribes and Yellowstone, were collected together as an omnibus edition.
Wheeler was married to Sue Hart, a professor at Montana State University Billings, who died in the summer of 2014. The couple divided their time between homes in Livingston, Montana, on the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park, and Billings, Montana.
- Bushwack (1978)
- Beneath the Blue Mountain (1979)
- Winter Grass (1983)
- Fools' Coach (1989)
- Cashbox (1994)
- Goldfield (1995)
- The Fire Arrow (2006)
- Easy Street (2012)
- Spur Award for Best Western Novel - 1989
- Spur Award for Best Novel of the West - 1996
- Spur Award for Best Western Novel - 2000
- Owen Wister Award - 2001
- Spur Award for Best Original Mass Market Paperback Novel - 2005
- Spur Award for Best Western Short Novel - 2011
- "Richard S. Wheeler biography". Authors official website. 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Author bio". Amazon.com. 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Spur Award winners". Western Writers of America website. 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Interview with Richard Wheeler". Writers of the West. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Richard S. Wheeler Class of 1953" (PDF). Wauwatosa School District. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Montana home". Richard S. Wheeler official website. 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.