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TERRY HARKNETT

ā€¯Terry

Terry is the author of almost 200 books, mostly pulp novels in the western and crime genres. He has written under an array of pseudonyms, including George G. Gilman, Joseph Hedges, William M. James, Charles R. Pike, Thomas H. Stone.

Although his earliest ambition was to become a car mechanic, he changed his mind upon leaving Rainham Secondary Modern School in 1951, and chose instead to pursue a career as a reporter. He went to work as a copy boy at Reuters News Agency, and later became a typist at Reuters Comtelburo. It was here, whilst on night duty in 1953, that he wrote and sold his first short story, a romance entitled Katie's Birthday.

Although he had no particular interest in the western apart from a very general impression of the form culled from the western movies he'd seen, his first western short story, Guns at the Silver Horseshoe, appeared in the 14 January 1955 issue of Reveille.

Terry's first western novel was an adaption of the film A Town Called Bastard (1971), which was published under the pseudonym "William Terry". Similar novalisations followed. With A Fistful of Dollars (1972), published under the pseudonym "Frank Chandler", he produced a neat, imaginative adapation which successfully transferred to the printed page the stark images of heat, dust and sudden death that were so much a part of the spaghetti western. He completed two other novalisations again as William Terry -- Hannie Caulder and Red Sun (both 1972) -- before Laurence James, then a senior editor at New English Library, commissioned him to plot and write the first four books in an original western series. "I wasn't a western fan," Terry later revealed to Steve Holland. "I'd read every mystery I could lay my hands on, and when they suggested I write a western, I said 'I can't do that,' and they just said 'Of course you can, you've written novelizations, you've seen them on television and you've been to the movies.'

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