Continuing my interview series called THE SEVEN, in which I invite some of my favorite authors to answer seven questions about their most recent projects, today’s guest surely needs no introduction. Robert McCammon is one of the reasons I’m a writer today. From the apocalyptic SWAN SONG, and the epic coming of age novels MYSTERY WALK and BOY’S LIFE to the more recent thriller and love letter to rock-and-roll, THE FIVE (read my review here) and the Matthew Corbett series (SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM, and MISTER SLAUGHTER), McCammon has penned many of the books that not only defined my love for the genre and solidified my desire to be a storyteller, but also proved instructional in how to make a story transcend its genre label. I am far from the only fan who rejoiced when he began publishing again after a decade-long hiatus, and I am pleased to see that he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
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Q. What is your most recent release?
A. My most recent release is THE PROVIDENCE RIDER, which is a mystery/suspense/thriller set in Colonial America in the 1700s. The book moves from New York to Pendulum Island in the Bahamas.
Q. What inspired the project?
A. The project is the 4th book of a planned series of ten. It centers around my young detective hero, Matthew Corbett, and his on-going battle with the “enigmatic emperor of crime”, Professor Fell.
Q. What is the primary theme you’ve chosen to explore with this project?
A. In this particular book, the theme involves the chain of predators, and how Matthew is required to disguise himself as a predator to do the bidding of Professor Fell, yet remain true to himself. Professor Fell threatens to blow up New York if Matthew doesn’t find out for him who has betrayed him regarding a new weapon Fell has created and is selling to the enemies of England.
Q. Of everything you’ve written to date, which project has been the most difficult for you?
A. Hmmm…STINGER was difficult to finish up because it was set in 24 hours and everybody had to be where they needed to be at the end of that time. MISTER SLAUGHTER–one of the Matthew series books–was difficult in places, just in terms of where the story would go next since I had a lot of choices.
I’d say STINGER because of that time element. I remember having to rewrite large parts of it to make sure the ending would work out.
Q. Which title would you suggest as a good introduction for newcomers to your work, and why?
A. I would say BOY’S LIFE, since it seems to appeal to so many different age groups.
Q. What are your thoughts on the burgeoning digital market?
A. It’s interesting to watch it develop. I think it has a long way to go. There’s much confusion in it right now, it seems. Of course I do like a bound book. I like the way it feels and smells. I like the weight of ideas I can feel in holding a book. But there’s a lot of promise and potential in the digital market, just have to wait and see how it develops.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I’m finishing a novella for Subterranean Press and then on to a big horror/science fiction book. Next up in the Matthew series is THE RIVER OF SOULS, which I’m working on also. So there’s a lot going on, and a lot ahead!
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Post a comment below to be in with a chance to win a deluxe hardcover edition of THE PROVIDENCE RIDER, the fourth book in the Matthew Corbett series, generously donated by Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press
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