Thomas D. Clagett

Photo by Marilyn Carter-Clagett.


Thomas D. Clagett always had a passion for writing, but he took a detour into film and television. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Journalism in 1978, Clagett got his first job running the copy machines at Mary Tyler Moore Productions. Shortly thereafter, he moved into film editing, spending nearly twenty years as an assistant film editor in motion pictures and television. His credits include Jack Nicholson's The Two Jakes, his sequel to Chinatown, two mini-series for NBC, Jackie Collins' Lucky/​Chances and Blind Faith, and the MTM series St. Elsewhere.

Clagett also found the opportunity to write, combining that with his love of films. He began work on a non-fiction book about William Friedkin, the Academy Award-winning director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. In 1990, William Friedkin: Films of Aberration, Obsession and Reality was first published by McFarland & Company, and an updated second edition was released in 2003 by Silman-James Press. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual called Clagett’s book, “Meticulously researched… giving not only the flavor of the films but also insight into Friedkin’s characteristic obsession with realism, authenticity, and gritty clarity of vision.”

Devoting himself full-time to writing in the last few years, Clagett has had articles appear in New Mexico magazine, Santa Fean magazine and the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. Published pieces include Q&As, profiles, history articles and reviews. He is a member of the Western Writers of America.

His latest novel, West of Penance, from Five Star Publishing, was released in 2016.

His first novel, The Pursuit of Murieta, is the winner of a Will Rogers Medallion Award Honorable Mention for Western Fiction in 2014. It is published by Five Star Publishing.

A native Californian, Clagett lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife, Marilyn, and their cat, Cody.

Western/Historical Fiction
"What an entertaining read … be prepared for a surprise ending."
- Historical Novel Society
"Readers will side with Murieta in this well told, disquieting story."
“The definitive work on the subject.”
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