Oklahoma native Robert Knott talks about writing 'Ironhorse'

Robert Knott, who lives in Los Angeles, has an extensive list of stage, television and film credits, but also wrote “Ironhorse,” a novel that continues the classic Western tradition of the late Robert B. Parker.
by Bryan Painter Published: December 16, 2012

Quiet shouldn't be interpreted as distant with actor and author Robert Knott.

The mind of the Oklahoma native is not off in some other ZIP code, says close friend Rex Linn, an actor and Oklahoman.

If Knott is quiet, if his words are few, it simply means he is drawing close, whether it's to what you're saying, the role he's portraying or the words he's writing.

“Whatever you're talking about, whatever problem you have or whatever you're excited about, you can always count on Robert listening and responding,” Linn said.

“He doesn't take anything that you say lightly. That's a special gift and I've watched it for years and years. He soaks it up, puts it in the processor and gives you his best assessment.

“That's helped him tenfold as an actor. It's also helped him in his writing, and he really is an incredible writer.”

The novel “Ironhorse” by Knott is scheduled to publish Jan. 8. It continues the classic Western tradition that the late Robert B. Parker featured in novels such as “Appaloosa” and “Blue-Eyed Devil.” Parker died in January 2010 and G.P. Putnam's Sons Publishing contracted Knott to continue with Parker's Western series. “Ironhorse” is Knott's first novel.

Featured in “Ironhorse” are the characters Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch.

“I know these guys,” Knott said. “I never was at a loss for words. And these guys use few.

“I was raised in an environment that had many characters similar to Virgil and Everett. The unspoken was always present. A pause is worth a thousand words, listening is your sharpest tool, and so on.”

Drilling down

If you drill down in Knott's heritage, just a little ways, you'll find that he is a third-generation actor. His grandparents owned and operated a traveling tent show that followed the wheat harvest through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska as they performed plays, danced, played music, performed magic acts and more. Knott's mother, her brother and sisters were part of the act and eventually his father came along joining the troupe as a trumpet player.

When movie theaters became the entertainment draw in many towns, the days of his family's troupe were over. At that point, they made camp in Oklahoma, where Knott was born and raised.

And he carried on his family's love for acting. Knott, who lives in Los Angeles, has an extensive list of stage, television and film credits.

By the book

Knott and friend Ed Harris wrote and produced the feature film “Appaloosa,” based on a novel written by Parker.

“Ironhorse” carries on the story from “Appaloosa.”

“Ironhorse took about a year to complete, but I was not at it full time,” Knott said. “I'm writing another one now, and I suspect it will go much quicker ... at least I hope so.”

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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