I heard the sad news today that author Bill Knott has passed away. His books were usually bylined Will C. Knott or published under a house-name. He was best known as a Western writer and contributed to three long-running series – Longarm, the Trailsman, and Slocum – as well as working on other series and writing stand-alone traditional Western novels under his own name. He also wrote several mystery novels, some house-name men’s adventure yarns, and a number of mystery and sports books for the young adult market. I don’t know how many books he wrote in his career, but more than 200, certainly.
I met Bill Knott only once, at a Western Writers of America convention in Arkansas, and didn’t know him well at all. We had a number of mutual friends, though, and I’ve read and enjoyed many, many of his books over the years. He was one of the original authors on the Longarm series (along with Mel Marshall and the series’ creator, Lou Cameron), and I had read a lot of his entries before I ever started writing for the series myself. He was also a regular contributor to the Stagecoach Station series under the house-name Hank Mitchum, just before I started writing for that series. In fact, although we wrote for many of the same series, I don’t think our tenures ever quite overlapped. (I haven’t tried to look this up, so I could well be wrong.) He was the president of WWA at one time, an important figure in the history of the Adult Western field, and a fine writer. I’m sorry to hear that he’s gone.