By Jessica Flynn
April 26, 2016
Sitting with his grandfather as a boy watching westerns inspired Rhondda author Gary Dobbs to pen some of the fastest selling westerns in history.
Now, the part-time taxi driver is about to realize another dream as Aberdare producer and director Neil Jones, who directed the film RISEN: The Howard Winstone Story and The Reverend, turns one of his books into a film.
“I write a series of Westerns,” said Gary, who writes under his grandfather’s name Jack Martin in tribute to him. “My first book came out in 2012 and one of them has been optioned for a film.
“LawMaster was first published by Robert Hale Ltd. under the title of Tarnished Star under their Black Horse Western imprint – and became their fastest selling hardcover western in history.
“Effectively it went into reprint on pre-orders alone and the initial print run was bumped up. It is due to be republished by Piccaddilly Publishing under the new title of LawMaster next month. Amazon currently has it up for pre-order.”
The book tells the story of Sheriff Cole Masters who makes an arrest for the brutal murder of a saloon girl but the killer is the son of a wealthy rancher and it is clear the old man will do anything to see his son set free.
“I use the name Jack Martin for my western which was my grandfather’s name,” said Gary. “He loved westerns and when I was a kid he would tell me wild stories about his own time in the Wild West, though in truth the furthest West he went was Tonypandy.
“As a kid I believed his wild stories and we would always watch western movies together which gave me my love of the genre – a love that continues to this day.
“I also think my grandfather would get a kick from seeing his name gracing a western and sometimes I think he’s giving me the thumbs up from the hereafter.”
The twist in Gary’s latest tale came when he met Welsh director Neil Jones, who was born in Aberdare but grew up in Merthyr, when he had a small acting role on Neil’s film RISEN: The Howard Winstone Story.
Gary, said: “That’s how I met Neil and I told him I wrote westerns. He read the book and then contacted me saying he enjoyed it so much that he wanted to option it for a film, which was four or five years ago that’s how long the process has taken but this is a dream.
“I’m a big fan of Neil’s work and I was delighted to take him up on the offer.
“I am excited by all this. They say westerns are not as popular as they once were and yet they always seem to do reasonably well when one does get made.
“And the modern action movie owes a lot to the western genre, after all, Star Wars was basically just the Magnificent Seven in space and we all know how well that one did.
“I think LawMaster uses a lot of the elements of the classic western but gives it a hyper modern polish. I’m very excited by the project and I have complete faith in Neil Jones’s vision for the project.
“They are looking at shooting the movie in Spain a location that was used for the Clint Eastwood westerns back in the 1960s and has been used for countless European and American westerns since.
“Westerns are basically morality stories and teach self-reliance and independence...I like those qualities.”