Talking about ‘Hank’
Author John Erickson says he wrote for 15 years, getting rejection letter after rejection letter from publicists before discovering, Hank, the central character in his long-standing and popular series, “Hank the Cowdog.”
“Now, he works for the dog,” quipped Erickson.
The 65-year-old writer from Texas was in Rugby last week to talk about Hank, his sidekick Drover, sing a few selections with his banjo, and answer questions from young readers.
“I think it’s important for writers to meet their audience,’ Erickson said. “I especially enjoy coming to small schools.“
Following his presentation, Erickson answered a dozen or so questions from eager children from both Ely Elementary and Little Flower School.
One student asked how long it takes for him to write one of his Hank books. Erickson replied, “Well it took 15 years for the the first,’ he said. “The first one is always the hardest.”
It typically takes him four to six weeks, writing four hours a day, to complete a book. His first book, titled, “The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog,” was published in 1983. In fact, Erickson and his wife self-published the first 10 in the series.
The series of humorous children’s mystery novels centers on Hank, a proud, but inept dog; Drover, a his sidekick; and Pete the Barncat, his enemy. The M-Cross Ranch in northern Texas is the setting for many of the adventures.
There are 52 books in the series so far, and Erickson said there are at least a half-dozen more in the works. The books are also available on audio. Gerald L. Holmes does the illustrations.
This was Erickson’s second visit to North Dakota. He came for a reading convention three years ago, and that’s when he was contacted by educators and librarians to come back. In addition to speaking to Rugby students, he also met with students at Velva and Langdon.
Erickson resides on a ranch near Amarillo, Texas.
“As long as there are kids in Rugby reading my books, I’ll keep writing,’ he said.
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