A Letter from Robert McCammon


McCammon's update letter from January 8, 2010

On January 8, 2010, Robert McCammon wrote this update for the website.
Hi everyone,

As I'm waiting for the official pub date of Mister Slaughter, I've been going back over comments and questions that some of you guys have posed over the last few months, and I wanted to respond.

First off, I can't tell you how fortunate I feel to have loyal readers. Telling a story and communicating with people is what it's all about, and I have to say that looking back over all the comments I feel like a very lucky person indeed. I've always said that I first write a book for myself because it's a story I want to read, but knowing that other people are enjoying the books, understanding the characters and what I'm trying to express...it's really a great feeling, so I wanted to thank all of you very, very much.

I really enjoy reading your comments. I'm so glad my work has given you pleasure and, in a way, become a part of your life. What more is there for a writer, than to reach out and be accepted? Again, I'm a very fortunate man.

To the comments and questions:

Jean-Frederic Chaleyat asks about movie rights to The Wolf's Hour, and what's going on there.

I can answer that the movie rights have been optioned and there's a very good chance the movie will actually be made...but, as always, we'll have to wait and see.

Paul Taylor asks if there's any way the "hardcore" can read The Village.

You know, I took The Village out of its box not long ago and re-read it. I think I probably need to tighten it up some, but it wouldn't be such a difficult task. The problem—and I think this is also part of why it was never picked up by a publisher—is that it concerns a part of World War II that most Americans know nothing about. (And probably don't care much about, either!) Namely, the partisans fighting in Yugoslavia against the Germans. There's really more to it than that, but it's told from the viewpoint of the Russians and...well, it's a pretty complicated plot. Plus it's very bloody and violent. But...I might at some point clean it up and put it out there, so The Village is certainly not dead. It's just that right now I have so many other things going on.

Frederic Doss asks how he would find out about acquiring the film rights to Gone South.

Years ago, I got a telephone call in the middle of the night from a young man who'd just won a big lottery jackpot. He'd gotten my number from the operator by saying it was an emergency call. But, anyway, he wanted to use some of his newfound money to option one of my books and make a movie.

I spent about an hour talking him down to earth. I told him to enjoy his money and not throw it away, which is exactly what he would've been doing if he'd tried to get into the movie-making business.

The film business will gladly eat any amount of money you wish to throw at it, burp and ask for more. Without hugely deep pockets and a studio behind you—and even with these things—you would likely have nothing to show for the money you've spent.

I hope someday Gone South becomes a movie. I hope others of my books become movies...if they turn out to be any good. Because, really, even spending multiple million dollars on movies doesn't mean they're going to be watchable. It's just feeding the beast.

So, Frederic, thank you for asking, but please keep your money, go out to good dinners, enjoy some bottles of wine and nice trips and have fun with your cash. Even if you had millions to throw away, I would say don't go down that movie road. There's a reason most movies are put together by conglomerates and financial companies using other peoples' money!

Wayne Rogers wants to know what happened to my hair.

Okay, here's the mathematical formula to explain it: Life as a writer + dealing with the publishing business + fatherhood to a teenaged daughter x the trials and tribulations of 2000 to 2009 = WYSIWYG!

Lisa Schneider asks if I might be coming to Southern Cal for a signing, and Jodi asks if I might be coming to NYC for a signing.

Not anything planned right now, but I think we have to see how Mister Slaughter does.

If I could work out some book signings in both places, that would be fun.

Carmella Dillman asks if Speaks the Nightbird will be released as an ebook.

Working to figure out if that's possible right now. Also working on getting some other titles into ebook formats.

Kyle Bakke asks if I'm not proud of Swan Song, and why I never talk about it.

Kyle, I'm very proud of Swan Song, but when it first came out it was blasted by some critics who said I was trying to copy King's The Stand, and much of the heat directed at me over that book was pretty hot. Over time, Swan Song has stood on its own, but I guess it's still a sore spot for me. One of the reasons I wanted to do historical work was that for awhile some of these same critics were saying that everything I was writing was ripping off King. I remember somebody talking on a forum about MINE, saying that they'd heard it was an idea King was going to do and that I must have ripped it off before he could write it. Another person said I'd ripped the Wolf's Hour character off from the werewolf in The Talisman.

But the deal is, the last King book I read was The Dead Zone. I just stopped reading him, because of the very cutting criticism I was getting. Somebody even said the monster in Stinger was like the monster in IT, which I never read.

So if I don't talk about Swan Song, it's not that I'm not proud of my work...it's just that it was not really recognized as my work until enough time had passed to cool some fires.

Some news: The Five is making the rounds of publishers right now and I'll be starting the next Matthew Corbett book, The Providence Rider, pretty soon. I'm putting the plot together now, and tying some things together with things that happened in Mister Slaughter. Going to be interesting to get my head back in the flow of 18th century language as opposed to modern.

Again, thank you very much for your comments. I'm so glad you all have your favorite books.

This sounds like a cliche, I know, but my favorite book is always the one I'm working on.

Thanks for sticking with me.

I wish you a great and happy beginning to 2010, and I look forward to your continued comments and questions on the website.

Best Wishes,
Robert McCammon

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