Steven's Reviews > The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald
The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald
Hadn't expected to blaze through this in an afternoon but it was compelling. Because MacDonald's writing career began in the pulp magazines - when starting out he wrote 800,000 words in the first four months and received over 1,000 rejections! - and continued until is death in the mid-1980s, there is a fair amount of history about the publishing industry as we follow his writing trajectory. There is some interesting back story on many of his novels - he was one to put his personal concerns into his fiction, and it kind of reminds me of something Thom Jones said, to paraphrase, you do me wrong, and I'm going pop your ass into a story. Condominium being a prime example. The Executioners (Cape Fear) was the result of a $50 bet. Challenged to write something more than a cheap mystery MacDonald said that in 30 days he would write a book that would be a book club selection and made into a movie. It was. And, of course, there is plenty of discussion abut the origination and evolution of the Travis McGee series, including a lot about the whys and why-nots of its film and TV treat- and non-treatment. Merrill quotes from a lot of MacDonald's letters and they sparkle with the same charismatic prose as his novels. A natural wordsmith to be sure. Great biography of a writer and of interest not just to fans of MacDonald or his Travis McGee series. Extensive bibliography as well.
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