An Interview with Jerome Charyn author of

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King:

                        A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times





  1. Where or how did you come up with the idea for this book and series?

The Cowboy KingI fell in love with Teddy Roosevelt’s father, a philanthropist who devoted his life to the poor. And I wanted to write about his son.

  1. When you sit down to write do you have an idea where you are going or does it just happen as you’re sitting there? Or is it actually the Characters writing the story?

It’s like riding a very perverse horse, you shove and shove until it gallops all on its own.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite chapter is about Teddy Roosevelt’s mascot, a mountain lion he named Josephine, it’s a love story with a tragic end.

  1. What is your favorite quote from a book of fiction?

The first sentence of the Sound and the Fury: “Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.”

  1. In that vein who would be your favorite Author? What writers influenced you?

Emily Dickinson is my favorite author; I’ve been influenced by Hemingway’s early stories, his novel The Sun Also Rises; Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury; Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March, Nabokov’s Lolita and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

  1.  Do you have a favorite fictional character?


  1. What five words describe you?

Persistence persistence persistence persistence persistence

  1. What, if any, projects are you working on now? (go ahead promote away!)

I finished a novel on J.D. Salinger’s early life as a counter-intelligence agent in WWII, and I hope to start a novel on Louise Brooks

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

The toughest criticism was my own: re-reading one of my books and discovering sentences that shamed me.

  1. What has been the best compliment?

The best compliment was given to me by a student, many years after I was his teacher, who said, “I remember you every day of my life.”

  1. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

You tend to hear from readers who are moved and touched by your books. Those who hate them generally stay away.

  1. What do you think makes a good story?

A musical voice.

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m always writing, even when I’m not writing.

  1. How about a snippet from your book that will hook a prospective reader and make them want to read your book about Teddy Roosevelt.

First there was a metallic aroma, the taste of tin in my mouth; then the monster would appear with rusty fingernails, his yellow eyes swaying like twin lanterns in the dark, his fierce red whiskers clotted with human blood.”


  1. What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?


  1. How did you get into writing? Is this what you always wanted to do?

I wanted to be an artist, I had no talent, so I had to paint with words.

  1. Any last thoughts for our readers?

Read what you love and never stop reading.


Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Teddy Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley’s assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a “perfect bull in a china shop,” a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president.

With an operatic cast, including “Bamie,” his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Teddy Roosevelt for his “crowded hour,” the charge up San Juan Hill. Lauded by Jonathan Lethem for his “polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing,” Charyn has created a classic of historical fiction, confirming his place as “one of the most important writers in American literature” (Michael Chabon).
6 black and white illustrations

Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With more than 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life.

Author of The Cowboy KingPulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.” New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”


Sunday, January 6 – The Quirky Lady Bookworm Reviews

Monday, January 7 – Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Tuesday, January 8 – The Book Decoder

Wednesday, January 9 – Jessica Rachow

Thursday, January 10 – Virtual Memories Podcast

Friday, January 11 – Historical Fiction Reviews

Monday, January 14 – Melinda T Falgoust

Tuesday, January 15 – The Top Shelf

Wednesday, January 16 – What Is That Book About

Thursday, January 17 – Magic of History

Friday, January 18 – Book Q&A with Deborah Kalb

Monday, January 21 – Jeffrey Keeten

Tuesday, January 22 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 23 – Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

Thursday, January 24 – Your Books My Review

Friday, January 25 – Booksie’s Blog

Monday, January 28 – The Book Connection

Tuesday, January 29 – Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, January 30 – Book Room Reviews

Thursday, January 31 – The Curious Ape

Monday, February 4 – My Devotional Thoughts

Tuesday, February 5 – Books, Authors and More Fun Stuff

Monday, February 11 – Beth’s Book-Nook Blog

Tuesday, February 12 – Books, Authors and More Fun Stuff



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