Steve Bartholomew,
Black Bart Reborn

About the Author: Following a previous life, author Steve Bartholomew has turned his attention to telling stories about the Old West during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Bartholomew has discovered there are thousands of untold stories to be found in old newspapers, magazines, and sometimes even history books. The stories he writes are mostly fiction, but then so are a lot of history books. He has learned that what people most value are not the bare bone facts of the past, but the stories we tell about them. Steve (whose friends mostly refer to him as "Bart") derives his idea from listening to people, walking around old neighborhoods, and from a lot of reading.

As for his previous life, he had an undistinguished career in civil service. His first actual job was in the U.S. Army. Someday he may write a book titled
"All I Need to Know I learned in the Army." He now lives in a rural part of northern California, where he likes to listen to folks and look at trees.
When Black Bart left prison he figured he'd had enough of crime and Wells Fargo. After all, he'd got time off for good behavior, and only had to do time for robbing one stage coach out of the twenty-eight he had held up. Bart thought he would try his hand at mining once again, and maybe settle down later by running a pharmacy. He also had plans for the woman he loved, Magdalena Ramos. Those were his plans. What he didn't figure on was the man who had put him in San Quentin to begin with, Detective James Hume. Nor did he plan on meeting his old nemesis, Jason Sutliffe who had started Bart on his life of crime.

A month after leaving prison, Bart was determined to vanish from the Earth and from history. The official records say he did. This book is a tale of where he might have gone, and what he might have done. It is not history. It is a story.

Steve Bartholomew Does Black Bart.
by Richard Sutton

Author Steve Bartholomew in animated discussion.
Today, I'm sharing an interview with one of my favorite authors, Steve Bartholomew. He is an amazing storyteller working mostly with subjects set in the Old West. Steve is quite prolific and I'm glad to say I've read and reviewed several of his titles to date, so when I hear a new one was being launched soon about a notorious hold-up man, I had to find out more. Black Bart is all well and good, but who is this guy Steve Bartholomew, anyway?

Steve tells me he was born a long time ago, in Minnesota. His parents had the good sense to move to California when he was about a year old. "My mother said that was because it was twenty below for three months straight." She sounds like an intelligent, reasonable woman.

He says he got his real education in the US Army, then spent four years in college listening to people talk. I remember the listening part from my own college years. He's lived in Mexico City and New York a few years, then he returned to San Francisco. Probably for the seafood. He had a career in Government service which probably wouldn't interest any readers, so I won't go into that here.

Q: Growing up in California, I remember stories of Black Bart. He was supposedly the most successful stage coach robber of all time. Is that accurate? I know that California was rife with highwaymen, especially during and after the Gold Rush days.

A: One might debate about who was the most successful thief, but BB robbed 28 stage coaches that we know about. That's probably a record. He only did time for his last robbery because it was the only one they could prove in court. Unlike most of the other thieves and robbers, both in Government and on the road, Bart never showed any trace of viciousness. He never hurt anyone, and always carried out his crimes with an unloaded shotgun and with the greatest courtesy.

Q: Black Bart Reborn, like all of your work I've read, reveals how corrupt the banking and corporate powers were at the time. The links between California's Politics and that of Neighboring Nevada seem particularly murky with everyone's hands in everyone else's pockets.

A: Yes; it could be argued that our modern society is even more corrupt, given the billions done away with by banking cartels. I have no wish to debate the politics of that question: it's just the way things are. Somehow society continues to function, more or less.

Q: This novel features a couple of extremely sharp, even devious woman characters. Was this unusual in the day, or do they portray a type of entrepreneurial female character that wasn't uncommon?

A: There were many powerful, creative women in the Old West who provided a major driving force, even though they couldn't vote. Lately I have become interested in the young women telegraph operators. That occupation was one that helped liberate women from the life of housewives or school mar'ms. One reason they were hired was that the head of Western Union believed women have more sensitive fingers than men. So they moved out to remote whistle stops in the prairie, surrounded by coyotes, Wild Indians and bandits-and practically ran the railroads.

Q: I know you do a great deal of research when working on a new novel, so I have to ask, was Bart's loot ever recovered?

A: Not a dime. His story was that he'd lost it all in the stock market. I have a theory he might have sent some of it back to his estranged wife and family in Missouri.

Q: When I read Historical Fiction, I'm always struck by how our society seems to be unable to truly absorb enough of the lessons from past mistakes to prevent them recurring. Do you think this is a human issue, or one seen more in the governmental arena?

A: Well, the Government is run by humans as far as I know, though there are folks who have a different theory about that. Why do people keep rebuilding in flood plains, or under volcanoes? If at first you don't succeed, etc.

Q: Well, that certainly opens up a whole Pandora's Box of questions, but more on-subject, what's next on your agenda? Should your readers prepare for a shift of genre, or a breakout subject or character?

A: At the moment I have two completed books with a publisher, awaiting appraisal. One is about old San Francisco, the other, recently finished, takes place during the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad. I have had a few other diversions from the Western Historical genre. My second novel was a story of the paranormal, Chapel Perilous. Last year I published a YA novella, Ariella. However, my main interest is in the living history of California and Nevada, the places I know best. If you want to read something truly fantastic, pick up any history book.

Here is a list of Steve's work, and an online resource where it can be purchased in print and eBook formats:

Black Bart Reborn: 1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386679874&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=steve+bartholomew%2 C+black+bart

The Terrorist Plot at Gopherville:
Ariella, an heroic tale:

Chapel Perilous:

Journey to Rhyolite:

Gold, a tale of the California Gold Rush:


The Woodcutter:

The Imaginary Emperor:

The Inventor:!books/cnec

Spirit Catcher:!books/cnec

Tunnel 6:!books/cnec

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