Also, Staffer’s Book Review posted a short but very enthusiastic review of I Travel by Night. You can read their review here.
Trisha Sugarek’s Writer at Play website features a brand-new interview with Robert McCammon in the Writer’s Corner section:
Back on February 22, we posted this image, which was the subject of a book giveaway contest by the Overlook Connection. To win, entrants had to name the convention, the year, and the identities of the participants. The contest is now over and the Overlook has announced the winners, so it’s time to solve the mystery. The panel took place at the 1989 World Fantasy Convention. It was entitled “The Zombies or the Grateful Dead,” and the topic was ’60s rock & roll and its influences on the then-current crop of horror writers. The panelists from left to right were Ed Bryant, George R. R. Martin, Karl Edward Wagner, Howard Kaylan (of Flo & Eddie and The Turtles), John Shirley, and Robert McCammon. More images from the 1989 World Fantasy Convention, including several more from this panel, can be found here.
Rick Kleffel at The Agony Column has posted the full-length version of his audio interview with Robert McCammon. You can read Rick’s article and download an MP3 of the interview from The Agony Column website.
The Horror Writers Association, a group originally conceived by Robert McCammon, has announced that the latest recipients of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award are Robert McCammon and Clive Barker. The award is given in recognition of the recipient’s overall body of work. Previous recipients of the award include Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ramsey Campbell, Rick Hautala, and Peter Straub.
The award will be presented at the HWA Bram Stoker Awards Banquet in New Orleans, LA, on June 15, 2013. Robert McCammon will attend, along with previously-announced guests Editor John Joseph Adams, Media Guest of Honor Amber Benson, Poet Bruce Boston, Ramsey Campbell, Artist Glenn Chadbourne, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Jonathan Maberry.
You can read the full HWA announcement on the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend 2013 website.
Congratulations to Robert McCammon and Clive Barker!
Ummmm….worked. Mostly. Hung around my place. Watched some baseball. Took long walks, and…oh, yeah…!!
I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a few days with my daughter Skye!
Please forgive that this missive has nothing to do with my writing. But I did want to report on this very cool trip Skye and I took in August, show some pictures, and talk about a real gem of a place we found that was unexpectedly excellent.
Well, first off when we got to Pigeon Forge—which is the town you go through just before you get to Gatlinburg, up in the Smokies—we had to, had to, HAD TO, stop at a Baskin-Robbins. There no longer is a Baskin-Robbins in our hometown of Birmingham, and why this is I don’t know. But I had double fudge brownie ice cream with chunks of brownies in it, and it was great. I forget what she had. Something chocolate, also? But I think mine was best so maybe that’s why I don’t remember hers…though she’ll let me know what it was soon enough.
Okay, we trundled on into Gatlinburg but on the way there you pass along a wide highway with “tourist attractions” on both sides. Now…some of these “tourist attractions” were shall we say a little less than attractive to Skye and myself, but still…they’re there if you want ‘em. And if you love pancakes, there are about a hundred and forty three pancake restaurants on this highway, so have at it!! (Skye is still on my case that I had a waffle instead of pancakes. Somehow she thinks pancakes should be the main focus of a Gatlinburg breakfast, especially if they are chocolate-chip pancakes. Just sayin’.)
Being an aficionado of wax museums, Skye arrowed us right into the Hollywood Wax Museum on our first night. I will say that this museum is not the equal to Madame Tussaud’s, but still it was fun. See the pictures of us with some of the figures in there. I will not be responsible for anyone thinking Hugh Hefner (his wax figure, at least) and I had anything going on. The quality in this museum was mixed, but…the horror figure area was really very cool and very well-done. Skye did a lot of camping and vamping with the figures, and I got a new shot for my website and Facebook of me standing behind Lon Chaney’s “Phantom Of The Opera”. See, it’s supposed to be that I’m so hideous even The Phantom is afraid of me, and…oh well, if I have to explain it…as Skye might say, “Don’t go there, Dad.”
A fun evening at the wax museum. Of course Michael Jackson had to be there. And Tom Cruise. Interesting about the Tom Cruise figure…you were unable to tell how tall or short he is because he’s hanging suspended from cables overhead. Again, just sayin’.
Okay, we had a lot of fun and rode the SkyLift—which actually lifted a Skye—and we went up to the Ski Lodge and we went to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum and went to a comedy play where Skye was called up from the audience to play a part in a “silent movie” and other excellent stuffs, but here’s the real deal I wanted to tell you guys about.
The Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge.
From that central highway I mentioned, you see a pretty good-sized replica of the Titanic and a life-sized White Star ticket office. A very awesome thing is that when you buy your ticket, it’s imprinted with the name of an actual passenger who was aboard the Titanic, and in the museum’s final room there is a very stirring display with the names of those who lived and died and you learn the fate of “yourself”. I was Colonel Mustard, I believe, and I survived. Not really that name, but he really was a colonel and he did make it through. Skye’s character was Cherry…forgot the last name…but somebody who sounded like a dancehall girl, and she also made it. I’m being light here, but let me tell you that this final room is surprisingly emotionally-charged. It was neat also, as Skye and I toured this museum, that we realized 2012 is the hundredth-year anniversary of the disaster.
Honestly, I urge everybody to go to this museum. It is awesome. You get the backstory of how the ship was constructed as well as a “tour” of the ship, and it is extremely well-done. At one point you’re walking along and suddenly water begins to flood down some steps and into the room you’re in…almost, but then this cleverly-devised illusion behind a glass wall drains the water off and…well, it’s just fascinating. So you go up the Grand Staircase and see staterooms and the Gentlemen’s Smoking Room, and it’s all done so well and the employees and guides are dressed as Titanic officers and crew and…wow.
Then you get to the bridge. Ahead of you the stars are as they were in the sky that night of April 14th at about 11:40. You go outside the bridge into the deep blue night and face an iceberg…really kind of an ice-sheet, but interesting nevertheless. Then one of the uniformed “officers” suggests putting your hand over “the side” and into…
…a tank of 28-degree water, which is what the water temperature was when the Titanic sank two hours and forty minutes after hitting the berg.
This is where it gets to you.
I said to Skye, “Try to put your whole arm in”.
Yes, 28-degree water is…this is where it gets to you.
A deadly embrace for a body to have to fall into. I’ll never forget what that felt like.
So when you get to that final room with the names written there, and you see that many families were survived by wife and children while the father’s name is on the other list, and you see that most of the drowned were third-class passengers with foreign names, and you see that the great majority of the crew perished, and of course the captain went down with the ship and so did the Titanic’s architect, Thomas Andrews…I’ll tell you, you feel in your heart for people who perished so long ago and yet one hundred years falls away in an instant. This room is a small church that speaks of all the motives and emotions and joys and agonies of humankind…for in two hours and forty minutes, so many choices had to be made. It’s a heartbreaking room, seeing those names and their ages, and seeing young and old, the elderly and small children, and men and women in the prime of life who went into that 28-degree water.
Quite a place, that is. And I have to say, unexpected in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Go if you can. Tour the ship. Feel that water. Go into that room and read the names. Quite a place, that is. We were unable to take pictures there, but somehow that’s okay. Maybe it’s better that the pictures you took were in your head, for yourself alone.
Well, Skye and I had a super time. I am blessed to have a very cool daughter. I am blessed, in so many ways. And oh yeah we played Skee Ball and won about three hundred tickets, enough for a plastic snake worth a Chinese quarter.
That was part of my summer. I hope you had a great one, too.
Hello, all. I was contemplating calling this “My Silence”, because it’s true I’ve been silent for a long while, and it’s time to break that silence. Which I’m doing now. With this little missive, which is titled “I Travel By Night”.
Confused yet? Hang on, it gets better.
I recently finished a novella for Subterranean Press titled I TRAVEL BY NIGHT, which I think will be out next May or so. It’s set in the 1880s and is about a gunslinger/vampire/adventurer who seeks to reverse his state of vampirism and rejoin the human race. How he can do this is—at least in my mythology—to drink the “ichor” from the vampire who “turned” him. This creature being a beautiful woman called LaRouge, and protected by the Dark Society of vampires and shapeshifters who populate the underworld around her. A difficult task for my hero…and maybe an impossible one, at this stage of his search. So we’ll see where his story may go from this hard-fought and darkly-tainted tale.
The truth is, I do travel by night.
I believe most already know I do my writing at night, starting around ten o’clock or so and going until I’m “done” for the night, or for the early morning for that matter. Why is this? I’ve always had a fascination with the night. As a kid I listened to radio (dating myself here) late until the small hours, hearing the distant voices slip in and out as I roamed the airwaves. Later, I got airline schedules from the Birmingham airport and when the night flights passed over my house I could tell where they were going. Funny…there were more night flights then than there are now. Something has slipped…has regressed…and I’m not quite sure what it is.
But the night remains constant. A comfortable darkness, for me. A satisfying solitude. A time when I can travel, unfettered by daylight and the cares of the daytime world, into whatever world I choose to create. The night, for me, has always been about creation. Or exploration, going inward across a land best travelled by night, because the silence has always called me to go seeking what I do not yet know I am searching for.
I have had a difficult year. More than that, I can’t say. I will say, in passing, that the life of a writer can be harrowing. It demands. It does not rest. It burns very hot, and that fire can easily destroy as well as create.
I will quote here a line I found that may be of interest. It’s from the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. And it is: “What gives light must endure burning”.
And another, also from Viktor Frankl: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.
Both of those quotes have great relevance and meaning to me. I have always had great hope that my work would “give light”, but producing it—keeping it whole and true—has burned me, and continues to burn. And the second quote…there are many situations in my life I cannot change, and thus I am challenged to change myself. I hope I can rise to this challenge, because it’s a vitally important one.
Now…the kinda confusing part…
I started work on my big science-fiction horror novel and decided I wasn’t ready to do it justice. So I put it aside to work on I TRAVEL BY NIGHT. Then I needed an “up”, and for me Matthew always does that. He brings me great joy, and I have such a good time living in that world and playing with the language. Okay. So I did about fifty pages of the next Matthew when the science-fiction horror novel began to call to me again, and this fits into my schedule of doing a “Matthew book” and then a “contemporary novel”. So I am back working steadily on that, which means there may be a little while before the next Matthew book sees the light of day.
I have an idea that may allow me to finish both books by next summer. I’m not promising, and the next Matthew book may not be what you expect, but still…Matthew may make an appearance next summer, but it would still be another year before that one is published.
I will tell you the truth, guys. The New York publishing world has little use for Matthew. They see that I am a “horror writer”—and kind of a “has been” at that—and Matthew is not “horror” but some kind of boring “historical piece”, so what do I think I’m doing?
Well…I think I’m aiming at a target that no one can see but me. I trust myself. I will hit that target in the space of ten books, and you can count on it.
Getting back with a New York-based publisher means cultivating a wider audience. This is very important for any writer’s future. I have a loyal and steady audience, it’s true, but my contemporary work is more appealing to “New York” than the Matthew series, so this is why I really do need to alternate Matthew with the contemporary books. Those books have the greatest chance of getting promoted, reviewed and noticed, and put into bookstores…whereas Matthew, for all his charm and worth and manners, is not welcome in very many Barnes & Nobles. One might say the era of the brick-and-mortar bookstore is coming to an end, but my work must be on the shelves of as many bookstores as possible, or I will find myself laboring at a “hobby” instead of having a “career”.
It is true, I have many more Matthew books ahead of me. It is equally true I have many more ideas for contemporary novels. I must alternate them in this way, as my best chance for success…and, actually, the wider reach of the contemporary novels will hopefully bring more Matthew readers into the fold. So it can be a win-win situation if I stick to my schedule.
Anyway…I am not only travelling by night, I feel I am babbling by night.
I will ask you, my readers, to do one important thing that many publishers do not do for their talent, and this oversight winds up with a lot of broken dreams and unrealized ambitions.
This is the greatest gift you can give me. Trust me, that I am doing the right thing both for the growth of my career and the future of Matthew Corbett. I am going to work very hard.
You know I am. I always have. Trust me, that I will hit the target only I can yet see…and you will see it happen too, in time. And this I promise you…it will be amazing.
About the new science-fiction horror novel…a worldwide scale, a big cast of characters, a lot of action and some creepy stuff…actually, much creepy stuff. But this is an idea I’ve had brewing for some time, and now it’s ready to be born. I am ready to travel by night, into this wild, frightening and challenging realm.
Matthew has to wait awhile. And gentleman that he is, I think he would take a seat at the Trot Then Gallop, play chess with Effrem and drink with Hudson, ponder Professor Fell’s whereabouts in the world and pine for Berry, and then say to his creator, “Sir…I trust you, too.”
What more can I ask?
Matthew’s candle is burning on his table, there at the Trot.
It won’t burn out. And it will continue to give a very warm and merry light.
Thank you for your patience and for your listening ear.
All best to everyone,
As we reported yesterday, GraphicAudio is releasing audio dramatizations of The Wolf’s Hour and The Hunter from the Woods. Today, they’ve released a new audio interview with Robert McCammon conducted by The Wolf’s Hour director Nanette Savard.
The interview can also be downloaded as a podcast via iTunes.
For more information about the GraphicAudio releases, click here.
Starting today, Robert McCammon embarks on a virtual Blog Tour to help promote the release of The Providence Rider, the fourth book in the Matthew Corbett series. His first stop is an interview at Peter Schwotzer’s Literary Mayhem.
The next stops on Mr. McCammon’s Providence Rider Blog Tour (updated June 14 with direct links to articles):