Aug 072012

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.

And yet…

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.

Trust me.

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.

Never fear.

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,

Robert McCammon 



  35 Responses to “I Travel By Night”

  1. Robert,I for one love all of your work! I was introduced to you by Swan Song,and I’ve followed you ever since. I’ve introduced friends and family to your work all with positive feedback. The”Matthew” books are some of my favorites although,The Wolf’S Hour is my all-time favorite.) I look forward to reading any and all of your work in the future. Thank you.

  2. Rick, I have never been disappointed in a single book of yours that I have read. The characters, and worlds you create are absolute masterpieces. If we have to wait 10 years for the next Corbett book, so be it. I for one will sure be here to enjoy it then. And the same goes for ANY book you write, be it short story, Novella, or 10-book series. You have my absolute trust, sir.

  3. Wonderful article!! I love Matthew also, but your new contemporary novel sounds awesome too. So I will just eagerly await them both.

  4. You had me with “Swan Song”. Its tattered from so many readings. “I TRAVEL BY NIGHT” sounds like alot of research went into your writing. One of the many things I like about your books. May the literary gods bless you even more. Sincerely, Staff Sergeant Deborah Meek-US Army- Retired.

  5. I love the Corbett books, Boy’s Life and all of your horror works as well.
    I trust you.

  6. I think you have a large number of fans who trust you and will follow you wherever you go —
    I am one of them.
    If you write it , we will read it

  7. Robert, I, like so many others began my journey with you with “Swan Song”, and have been a die hard fan ever since. When you say “trust me” I say, ” with my literary life!”

  8. I have been reading and collecting your books since you started writing career. And I think my opinion here is probably that of many . . . while we like the Matthew Corbett novels, we like anything you write regardless of the subject manner or time period. The Five and The Hunter From The Woods were excellent departures from the Matthew Corbett books. I simply want a new McCammon novel; but I have to say this new SciFi/Horror is up my alley and I look forward to it being completed and published. Since I started reading horror in the 1980s you are definitely one of my top 5 authors and still was even during your writing hiatus. Swan Song and Boy’s LIfe are top tenners. I trusted then that you would return and many fans are simply glad you did. Keith

  9. I can truly appriciate your need for balance. I have been a loyal fan since reading Swan Song, and I do reread Swan Song at least twice a year. I love the Matthew Corbett series, and I am so glad you will be continuing to develop Matthew. I, for one, will be patient and anticipate the next book in the series as well as your new upcoming work! I am so very glad to have you back after your absence!

  10. Robert, as a fellow writer, I know and understand the pains one goes through with the whole writing process and the publishing troubles afterward. When I first read “Stinger” back in the 80’s, I was hooked and grabbed and devoured everything you’d written before and since. When you left the writing field, I waited – and waited, and when you returned with “Speaks the Nightbird”, I jumped right back into the fray, like an old friend had returned. I will wait again, reading anything you produce, no matter what or when. Be it known, you are the 2nd Stephen King, and sometimes even better! Thank you for everything you do.

  11. If you don’t count comics, I’ve been a book worm since around the sixth grade. I like King and Koontz. Very much. But I’ve always loved your books and you as a writer. They thirst was the first and I have read everyone since and gone back to read Baal and Bethany’s Sin. I was so sad that you left us for awhile. And so very glad you came back. With a vengeance!! I felt Boy’s Life was your masterpiece….and now we have Matthew Corbett!!! You’ve out done yourself! And the Idea of alternating types of books is grand!! Awaiting everything in its time and your fans will trust you!! Thanks so much for the wonderful journeys you take us on! Please keep it up!!

  12. I love your writing and Swan Song was my very favorite. It’s been many years since I’ve read it (three rimes) but I continue to convince others to read this masterpiece! I dream of a day where I might see this work turned into a mini series. Or a movie. I know it can be done!
    I have so many of your books to catch up to but the news of you writing this vampire story is exciting!! Can’t wait!

  13. Thanks for sharing your writing plans with us. I love your books!

  14. i have read every book you have published,looking forward to your new one,
    especially mathew corbet,but my utmost favorite was Swan Song.i loaned
    this to a friend and never got it back,do i ever feel a loss, oh yeah,keep up the
    writing,love them

  15. Don’t worry about trust. Your loyal fans (including me) have already learned to trust you by their love of all of your many books. You have not let us down yet, and I for one look forward to all of your future works.

  16. I wish I had a fraction of your talent, but I have learned to be content to be more of a consumer of art than a creator. The Corbett series was, amazingly, my first introduction to your work, but I have read several other works and am a huge fan now. Your plan makes great sense and it speaks well of you that you feel such an obligation to your readers to explain your plan to us. Thanks so much from a fellow Birminghamian!

  17. […] By Night, and so far the only information I can find comes from McCammon’s own blog, where he wrote about the story today. (Subterranean Press tweeted about the title a couple of weeks ago, but provided no details.) I […]

  18. I was introduced to your books when I was 12 years old. My junior high reading teacher had me read Boy’s Life and that is all it took for me to become hooked. I have read all your books and have enjoyed each and every one of them! I looked for the longest time for your earlier books and couldn’t find them and am so glad they are coming out again! I will wait patiently for your next books, especially for Matthew. Thank you so much the wonderful stories!

  19. Like others have posted, I enjoy your books whatever the characters or time frame. Favorites included “Swan Song,” and “Stinger,” as early novels, and “Boy’s Life” and “Speaks the Nightbird” as later novels. As much as I love the Matthew Corbett novels, I would read your books (and feel lucky to be able to do it) even if he never returned in another tale. I missed your work the 10 years preceding “Speaks the Nightbird,” and am just glad you are writing and have found a publisher. I have to admit, I love that the books are being published by Subterranean Press because I have been able to order a signed copy of everything they have published. I hope if you go New York again, you still leave a way for your fans to obtain signed copies. Met you during your visit to Salt Lake City, and it was a privilege! I trust you wherever you want your stories to take us.

  20. I want to thank you for the update and I want you to know that I do trust you, I always have. You have never steered me wrong. You have been a part of my life for a long time now and you always will. No way you are a has been. You keep getting better and better. I will wait patiently in the night.

  21. Rick, I’ve trusted you since Baal was first published. I just hope I’m still around (bad health) when your next two books come out.

  22. Just finished the second Mathew book (“Bedlam”) and have read several of your more contemporary books–Swan Song and Boy’s Life being my favorites. Having enjoyed Swan Song so much, the notion that you are working on a new sci-fi set on a “worldwide scale, [with] a big cast of characters, a lot of action and some creepy stuff…actually, much creepy stuff” makes my day. Keep ’em all coming, sir. I know great writers, and they have their own vision, and you’re definitely one of them. Thank you for that.

  23. I read every one of your books years back and have finally found the time to re-discover reading. Your books were at the top of my list, I await the postman with my copy of “Usher’s Passing” as I devour “Blue World” once more.

    I’m looking forward to “Speaks the Nightbird” and wish you continued success with your works. Many thanks for the hours of reading enjoyment I have found in your books!

    PS Don’t let anyone label you anything but amazing, if you wrote cookbooks I’d read them!

  24. Rick, you are my drug, my one vice, i hang on each written word, and like many before me, i was hooked way back in 1988, when i wandered into my local newsagent and saw Swan Song looking back at me from the book stand, i bought it, caught the bus to work, opened it started to read, and boy, should i thank you, i could not stop, i was hooked, three days later i’m at the pub waiting for my friends, reading the last chapter, i wept so much, the people around me must have thought something terrible had happened, or i’d been stood up, whatever, the next day i went out and bought Mystery Walk, i never looked back and i have never lost faith in you, you are one of the most captivating, brilliant writers i have ever had the pleasure of ‘going on a journey’ with, i trust you wholeheartedly. I look forward to your next endeavor with baited breath.

  25. I discovered you in the early 80’s with Swan Song (that I have reread 3 times) I love mathew corbett especially queen of bedlam and I was totally drawn in by the five. I will read anything you write and always love your perspective. One night back in the 90’s it was a ful moon and I had a cold and was drinking scotch hot toddy’s and reading They Thirst kept drinking the scotch and reading. Living in San Francisco I loved the idea of vampires traking over LA. I might have been at home but I was definately travelling by night with the full moon, too much scotch, LA vampires and, a puff or two of my medical canabis. I never felt more connected to to you than that night except maybe the first time I read Swan Song and there was that scene at the K-Mart that rocked me so much I was having palpatations!!! Whatever you write I will be there to read it. I prefer your books to S. King anyday any time anywhere.
    The list of bands at the end of The Five was in my music zone so much I have read it to many friends.
    Keep on keepin on your fans trust and love you


  27. Thank you, Robert and thank you for responding to my tweet. It’s unusual that you did. So many don’t. I truly appreciate it and am a devoted fan. So far, I’ve only read “Boy’s Life” and absolutely loved it and plan to read many, many more!


  28. I trust you, Robert.

    I have followed you since you first published, and would follow you into the fires of Hell in a gasoline raincoat.

  29. I have gotten a lot of pleasure from reading your books over the years, Robert. I hope whatever “issue” that you’re dealing with (publishers, editors, etc.) is soon taken care of so that you can get back to doing what you do best – writing thoughtful and moving works of literature!

  30. I have followed your writing since I discovered Stinger back in the late 80’s. I have read it four times and will certainly read it again and again. It is my favorite book of all time and you are obviously my favorite author. I’ve enjoyed Night Boat (3 times), Blue World (twice), Mine (twice), Boy’s Life (1 and a half times; lost my copy), Gone South, and the Corbett series. Not so much into horror, but I will eventually read the others as well. In fact, after reading Stinger the second time I decided to try my hand at writing myself and have had one short story published. I was so heartbroken when you announced you weren’t going to write for a while and was overjoyed when Matthew Corbett’s birth showed that you’d changed your mind. All your loyal fans out there are just waiting form your books…please don’t ever stop!

  31. Hang in there man. You’re way too good at everything you do to have doubts, but I know these are just words. It sounds like you feel pulled in a million different directions. Not sure what the pain is all about, and its none of my business.

    I would say follow the muse. What do you feel inspired to work on? But I also know you gotta eat. The fans will be there whatever you decide.

  32. Mr. Mccammon,
    I also am a traveler by night. I live in a small beach town in NC. The night will inspire me to do things others call “weird” or just pain nuts. Bedtime is at 9am. I am greatly anticipating I Travel By Night and also the novel of the renegade vampire.

    I want say “Welcome Home” and I have complete faith in you. Now “KICK ASS!”

  33. Mr. McCammon,

    I have read your books since The Wolfs Hour was introduced to me back in ’89. I was introduced to Horror Fiction by you, as I was not a reader as a kid. Some friends insisted that I read The Wolfs Hour, and after a lot of reluctance, I finally did. I was hooked. Your book MADE me a reader, and getting an eighteen year old to read is no small feat. For that, I thank you. I have been to a lot of worlds and had a lot of adventures because a great book called The Wolfs Hour showed me that reading can be a lot of fun. I have read that book at least 15 times over the years and will likely remain on it’s throne as my all time favorite. I have been through several copies over the years and will continue to buy them (used is all that’s available anymore…very sad) as I wear them out. Unfortunately, I missed the new limited addition a couple of years ago.

    To you, I will give my highest honor in a few months, I will pass on my Wolf’s Hour to my 17 year old son. I believe that he’s ready for the adventure (sexual content was a concern). To me, there is no higher honor than a parent entrusting something to their child. Be proud.

    As for your writing and your turnout…. I would rather have QUALITY than QUANTITY! I regularly read another “horror” author. He kicks out a lot of books and many times you come away disappointed in the story because of his obvious rush to put out another. His latest “Odd” book was so disappointing that I am left wondering if he wrote it at all or if a ghost writer was used. Quality over quantity.

    I hope that your troubles work themselves out for you. I understand completely the challenges that life can bring our way. I’m not sure if you are a believer in God, but if you are, I am going to pass on something someone told me once during a dark time in my life. “God will test us during our lives. He will throw obstacles and tragedies in our way and turn our lives upside down. These tests teach you and mold you. Keeping your head up and holding strong to your faith will lead you to him and his kingdom.”

    Thank you for your contributions to mine and others lives. Keep your head up and press forward.

  34. I appreciate what your doing and you have my trust, no doubt about that. I wish there was no labels in life because all it does is keep things from growing. However, in your situation, I believe in you will adapt so don’t worry. Today, my wife became a fan of yours. She starting to read Swan Song, which was my first book of yours that I read. She loves the way you write and create as well as do I. Travel by night sounds like an awesome book, I am sure it will build your fan base and please the New York Publishers that corrupts the talented. But you won’t be corrupted, you will use them to promote my favorite detective, Matthew Corbett and that’s what matters. Good luck on your journey.

  35. I do trust you.

    That doesn’t mean I am going to stop worrying about you though. You are an exceptional writer and a truly good man.


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