Monday, January 21, 2013

Ron Watkins

Ron Watkins began his literary career in the early '70s writing racy thrillers. Later he switched to westerns, penning such titles as Stagecoach to DamnationBounty Hunter's Revenge, and A Bullet for the Preacher. Watkins, who lived in Treorchy, admitted that he had never actually been further west than Pembrokeshire. Instead, he found inspiration for his cowboy books in the films of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and admired the novels of Zane Grey. His own writing routine involved him getting up at dawn, putting in a couple of hard hours scribbling, before setting off for work at Rhondda Library. Each book took him about six weeks to complete. He never pre-planned or plotted his novels, preferring instead to let his muse guide him. Watkins never let his literary success go to his head, not even when he got buttonholed in the street by admiring neighbours who (according to him) would say things like: "Well, fancy you writing a book." When he asked their opinion of his novels they would mumble: "they haven't found the time to get to the local bookshop. They have been too busy writing to their cousin in Australia; or they have been helping to put the currants in their wife's Welsh cakes; or their time has been fully taken up moving a chair from the living-room into the sitting-room." In total Watkins wrote about 30 books, as well as poetry and plays. In later life he taught himself how to speak Welsh. He died in 2011 and is buried in Treorchy.