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Peter Brandvold

Peter Brandvold

Peter Brandvold grew up in the great state of North Dakota in the 1960’s and ‘70s, when television westerns were as popular as shows about hoarders and shark tanks are now, and western paperbacks were as popular as Game of Thrones.

Brandvold watched every western series on television at the time, which affected him so deeply that he often dreamt he was tall and uncompromising Matt Dillon or the lantern-jawed Virginian until Big Ben rattled to let him know it was time for school. He grew up riding horses and herding cows on the farms of his grandfather and many friends who owned livestock, and of just wandering, chewing on a brome grass stem, across the open prairie, often heading for a remote train bridge under which he’d flatten pennies and nickels on the iron-gray rails, and sneak puffs off a homemade corncob pipe.

When he was around eleven years old, his great-uncle Henry, a World War I vet, sent him downtown to Rexall Drug one hot summer afternoon to buy them each a western novel to read in the shade while Uncle Henry sipped a Miller High Life, and young Brandvold nursed an Orange Crush.

The writer-to-be came back with Fort Starvation by Frank Gruber and Hondo by Louis L’Amour, both books he’d picked at random from the spinner rack. He’s been reading and loving everything western ever since. His affinity for the old times was nurtured by a grandmother and great uncles like Henry who told him sometimes wonderful, sometimes harrowing stories of growing up in pioneer times on the Great Plains—of living in sod shanties through bone-splintering cold Dakota winters, of cutting and wrapping flax straws to burn for heat when they ran out of buffalo chips; of following the well-worn buffalo trails to go berry-picking, of swimming in buffalo wallows, and of having wash stolen from their clotheslines by wandering blanket Indians.

Brandvold’s imagination has always lived and will always live in the West. He is the author of over a hundred lightning-fast action westerns under his own name and his pen name, Frank Leslie–a moniker he cadged off the notorious western hardcase, “Buckskin” Frank Leslie, whom “Mean” Pete Brandvold, nasty as a stick-teased rattlesnake, often dreams he actually is so that he’ll find himself snarling through breakfast until his dog reminds him who’s really in charge.

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