Beautiful Writers Podcast – Dean Koontz: Master of Suspense

500 million books sold. 38 languages. 14 #1 New York Times bestsellers. How is that possible? My guest co-host, Robert McKee, and I couldn’t wait to get the inside scoop on a bestselling career that has spanned fifty years and been compared to the Beatles. Welcome to the epic world of Dean Koontz, who is totally delightful and slightly worrisome, in a crawl inside your brain and lays eggs kind of way. (Wait. Don’t repeat that! In reality, what struck me as most odd is that he’s not at all creepy.)Dean’s new thriller, THE WHISPERING ROOM, drops TODAY and will leave you breathless. You might have to sleep with the lights on for a while, but you’ll beg for the next book in this series just the same because our protagonist, Jane Hawk, is that addictive.

She’s my shero. A rogue FBI agent on a mission to save her son, Jane is intuitive and fearless and perfectly on time with the times—putting the fear of God into abusive men everywhere. If only we could bring her to flesh-and-blood life. And then clone her on every street corner.

In this episode, you’ll learn the difference between suspense and mystery; how to “let the character be the character”; how to make the fictional world more real—to the point of being swept away by it; what readers are looking for in the first two paragraphs of a book to make them buy; the three things setting (or nature) must accomplish; why reaction is more important than action; how worrying about paying the rent discourages a lot of artists + and the mindset you must have to break through. Of course, there’s so much more—including a civilized disagreement about the existence of the muse and a little Hollywood bashing.

I feel so blessed the legendary Robert McKee is back on the show. Imagine, these two experts talking shop about Setting and Suspense and Opening Hooks and Dialogue and so much more. Speaking of dialogue, Robert’s latest book, DIALOGUE: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen will floor you with how much there is to know about the act of talking. Who knew?! Fortunately, McKee does. The details are so detailed I thought about quitting writing to find a day job until I remembered I’m too old for that and took wild amounts of notes instead.

The show, as they say, must go on. So take a listen. You’ll see why the writers of Pixar (creators of TOY STORY and FINDING NEMO), consider McKee’s STORY seminar a rite of passage. And how alumni to his courses have earned 200 Oscar nominations (with 60 wins) and 1,000 Emmy noms (with 200 wins).

As for Dean and this thriller genre. If you’re tempted to think it’s not for you because you hightail it out of the room when the 10 o’clock news starts as if a quake just hit, and watch Abraham Hicks videos on replay in a desperate attempt to trust in a benevolent Universe, I feel ya. Same, same.

But with Koontz and McKee as our guides, we just might find a whole lotta heart and sanity in the story. Even after the sun goes down.

I’m so glad you’re here.

Welcome.
Linda

There was almost a Funhouse film remake/prequel….

DC: When you world-premiered Leatherface at FrightFest, it was the same weekend Tobe Hooper [the director of the 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre] passed away. Did he at least get to see your film at some point?

JM: No. We learnt that he passed away the day before the first screening of Leatherface. So it really was a shock for us and especially because we didn’t have the chance to meet him or even talk to him. His name is on the credits, but it is just contractual and because he created the characters with Kim Henkel. Honestly, it was very disappointing for us, because when we accepted this project, we hoped to meet him and to hear his take on the story and all the sequels and how he felt about that and maybe ask some advice from him. So we were really saddened and disappointed, yes. He’s someone that really changed our lives, as an audience and as a director later. We love his career. We even tried to propose a remake of Funhouse. I remember we had this conversation with an executive from Universal, just saying that we would love to do that movie, being a prequel of the movie and being inspired by the novel by Dean Koontz. I remember the executive at that time said ‘Ah fellows, interesting, I’ve never seen this one.’ And we were like ‘Okay you know it’s in your catalogue and you own the rights.’ He said, ‘Ah really!? Cool!’ (laughs) So it didn’t happen, whatever. But yeah, we were very, very saddened about Tobe’s passing.

Read the full article @ Dread Central.

Contest: Where have you seen this bug before?

Yesterday’s mail brought me a copy of The St. Louis Bug, a four-page b&w comic by Dean’s friend Vaughn Bodé, published in 1969 w/ a copyright of 1968.

On page four is this guy:

Recognize him? Where have you seen him before?

The first person to comment below (in this blog post, not on Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform) with the correct answer (be as specific as possible) will win a prize of their choosing from a pile of random Koontz items I have laying around.

Let the searching begin!

Julie Christie

Just picked up this 2002 UK biography of Julie Christie by Anthony Hayward. Of course, I got it because of a few paged related to the film version of Demon Seed.