WHERE JACK IS NOW
Jack Matthews spends his time between Fort Worth, Texas and Taos, New Mexico. He is a member of Western Writers of America and writes in the contemporary mystery genre set among the Puebloan-Hispano-Anglo cultures of northern New Mexico.
Jack has a ranchito near Mingus, Texas, where he has worked with paint and quarter horses (see the above photos of his tobiano, Star) and managed a herd of Angus cattle.
JACK’S EARLIER YEARS
He taught college history and anthropology for many years at Amarillo College, Texas Christian University, and Cisco College. Jack acquired archaeological skills by attending field school at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, under Texas Tech University anthropology department. He applies those skills in writing his novels.
Jack’s early years were spent in central Texas, particularly around Brownwood, San Saba, and Cherokee. His extended family owned over 3,000 acres of land in several counties where he grew up along the Colorado, Cherokee Creek, Rough Creek, and Pompey Creek waters. “I was fortunate as a child and teenager to have access to my uncles’ ranches and my step-dad’s land where I learned to ‘live with’ the land, not just on it.” Jack has several unpublished short stories about San Saba and Rough Creek.
SNOW-CAPPED SANDIAS AND TAOS
Jack’s affinity for New Mexico began in 1946, when he visited Albuquerque with his mother. “I remember the snow-capped Sandias and the Navajo women with velveteen skirts and silver jewelry.” When he taught at Amarillo College, he was only five-and-a-half hours away from Taos where he made friends at the Pueblo and in the town. Currently, he stays in Taos at his daughter’s home when writing.
Jack has written book reviews in scholarly journals such as the Pacific Historical Review, American Indian Culture and Research Journal (UCLA), and Panhandle-Plains Historical Review.
The Handbook of Texas accepted his work on Georgia O’Keeffe and his article on the influence of the Panhandle-Plains on O’Keeffe’s painting has been republished as a central feature in Paul Carlson and John Becker, Georgia O’Keeffe in Texas: A Guide.
DEATH AT LA OSA ~ The novel
Jack’s novel, Death at La Osa, is set in a fictitious Pueblo and village along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico. It involves a murder and rare dendrite turquoise from an unknown mine in the Sangre de Cristos. The Tulona Tribal Policeman, Richard Tafoya, and his friend, Carson National Forest biology specialist Janet Rael, investigate leads among Hispanic and Pueblo communities. Woven through the novel are Puebloan figures, a bookshop, and the Ortega family of pastoral life and horse handling.
Personal Message from Jack
“A reader of my first chapter at Western Writers of America conference at Tucson in June 2019, said Death at La Osa reminded him of John Nichols, The Milagro Beanfield War. I was flattered, of course, and disagreed, but said, ‘Thank you.’ If I even have a paragraph close to Nichols’s fine work, I’ll be happy.
“In the meantime, my work, of course, stands alone, but I admire the writings of Jim Harrison, Tony Hillerman, Eric Ambler, Anne Hillerman, Frank Waters, N. Scott Momaday, and Annie Dillard. N. Scott Momaday’s, The Way to Rainy Mountain, has a great form in its writing that I want to try some day.
“One more thing. Read ANY of the writers in Western Writers of America and you will be entertained and enlightened by the finest writers of the Western genre today!
“Thanks for reading my ABOUT JACK page. Happy Trails!”