Cowboy and author, best known for his popular series of children's novels about "Hank the Cowdog". Born in Midland, Texas, his family moved to Perryton, Texas when John was just three years old. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1966 and spent two years studying at the Harvard Divinity School. While working as a farmhand and ranch manager in 1967, he started writing short stories but, frustrated by his inability to get publishers in New York interested in books with Western themes, he started his own publishing company, Maverick Books, in 1982.

Maverick's first book was called "The Devil in Texas", and it included two stories about Hank the Cowdog, a mangy, smart-alecky, none-too-bright mutt who considers himself the Head of Ranch Security. Soon, Erickson began receiving "Dear Hank" letters from schoolchildren. In 1983, he published "The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog", which sold out in six weeks. Since then, Erickson has written over 40 other Hank books, often sporting funny titles like "The Case of the Incredible Priceless Corncob," "The Case of the One-Eyed Stud Horse," "Lost in the Dark Unchanted Forest," "The Case of the Car-Barkaholic Dog," "The Vampire Vacuum Sweeper," and "The Case of the Deadly Ha-Ha Game." The Hank books have sold, so far, over 4 1/2 million copies.

Many of the fans of the Hank books come from rural and ranching communities in the West, where Erickson's real-life details about living and working on a ranch are better appreciated. Of course, it helps that Hank and his supporting cast (Hank's naive assistant, Drover, his love interest, Beulah, the scatterbrained buzzards, Wallace and Junior, the fearsome Coyote Brothers, Rip, Snort, and Scraunch, and the sneaky Pete the Barncat) get into many goofy situations. Erickson and his family make personal appearances throughout the country, especially in the West and especially at schools. They read from and perform many of the songs from the Hank books.

Some of Erickson's other, non-Hank-related books include "Through Time and the Valley," "Panhandle Cowboy," "Cowboys are Partly Human," "LZ Cowboy," and a biography of cartoonist Ace Reid.

Erickson still lives and ranches near Perryton. He sings with my dad in the church choir. He's a real nice guy and has more funny rodeo and ranching stories than you've got clean underwear. I've met quite a few people who, when they found out that I used to live in Perryton, say, "Wow, that's where Hank the Cowdog lives!" Then I say, "Yeah, the author stands next to my dad in the choir," and then they start begging me for autographed stuff...

Some research from

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