Well, it wasn't too late. We contracted Paul for eight standalone westerns, and he delivered four of them - all of which we intend to publish as a tribute to this great professional.
Here's Paul's obituary.
Paul Joseph Lederer, the La Mesa author of more than 100 novels, many of them Westerns, has died. His children said he suffered a brain aneurysm over the weekend.
Born in Ocean Beach, Lederer attended San Diego State and was in Air Force intelligence during the Vietnam War. He got into writing more out of necessity than passion, he said in a Union-Tribune interview last August, when he was 70.
"I was up one morning on the Black Sea, in Turkey, and I looked out over the ocean and I said, 'OK, you've got to do something, boy.'
"Once I had an artist praise my work, and once I had a writing teacher in high school who said, 'That's pretty good,' so I thought, OK, it's one of the two. Either that or manual labor, and I don't like that much, although I ended up doing a lot of that. I thought writing was something I could do and make a decent living."
Lederer was probably best known for his Indian Heritage Series. There were eight books, each about 500 pages, published in the 1980s. He did one on Tecumseh and his agent told him "Indian stories are in" so he did more: "Manitou's Daughter," "Way of the Wind," "North Star" and so on.
"Cimarron Star," set on the Kansas frontier at the start of the Civil War, took him about 10 years to write. Others he did in about six weeks, cranking them out to meet a demand in the 1980s for Westerns. None of them started with an outline.
"I just scrawl hundreds of notes on the pieces of paper around my desk, mostly so I can remember names and where people are supposed to be," he said. "I'm more organic in my system. I put this person in a situation. What's he likely to do? He goes into a town, what could happen? What should happen? I take my choice and try to make things progress evenly."
Lederer was 70 at the time of the interview - too old, he said, to adapt to e-readers. But not too old to have his books re-published in electronic form. He'd recently sold 50 of his earlier books to an electronic publisher and was happy about the possibility they would be discovered by a new audience.
"I get to create people in my stories," he said. "I have made this person, and now I need to give him or her a life and carry it through to a happy ending."
Report by David Whitehead aka Ben Bridges