from David Morrell's website
WHAT'S NEW FOR FEBRUARY
Back in 1989, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE was adapted into a 4-hour NBC miniseries that premiered after the Super Bowl. It starred Robert Mitchum, Peter Strauss, David Morse, and Connie Sellecca.
The cover of the Fawcett paperback describes the book as follows: “They were orphans, Chris and Saul—raised in an orphanage, bonded by friendship, and devoted to a mysterious man called Eliot. He visited them and brought them candy. He treated them like sons. He trained them to be assassins. Now he is trying desperately to have them killed.”
A couple of years ago, Warner Bros optioned the novel for a feature film. I didn’t hear anything more and decided that the long screenwriters’ strike put the project in limbo. But on Jan. 30, two days before this year’s Super Bowl, the studio announced that Channing Tatum has been signed to star as one of the brothers, presumably Saul, and that Dito Montiel will direct.
Channing Tatum is an extremely handsome, charismatic actor and male model, who is 28 years old and resembles Brad Pitt at that age. His career has gone from a simmer to a boil with four major films coming out this year, including Stephen Sommers’ G.I. JOE and Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES (Tatum plays Pretty Boy Floyd).
Dito Montiel is an extremely talented young director who worked with Tatum in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS and in the upcoming movie FIGHTING.
As they say in show business, these guys are hot. Obviously Warner Bros wants to inject some young attitudes into this project. If the project moves forward (there are always hurtles), I expect a summer 2010 release. I don’t have any other details, but if you’d like to learn more about Tatum and Montiel, do a Google search for those names. You’ll find plenty of information.
A DVD of the miniseries is not available, but I am confident that, if the movie appears in theaters, the miniseries will be released on DVD . I’ll have more information in a later WHAT’S NEW .
IN MEMORIAM: DONALD E. WESTLAKE
On New Year’s Eve, one of the greatest crime writers, Donald E. Westlake, died from a heart attack while on vacation in Mexico . Westlake was the inventor of the comic caper genre and in that respect is most known for a character named Dortmunder, a burglar with extremely bad luck who appears in such classics as THE HOT ROCK and BANK SHOT. Don had a genuine gift for humor and could make you laugh out loud while a crime was being committed in one of his books.
As Richard Stark, Don also wrote a series of hardboiled crime novels about an amoral professional thief named Parker. POINT BLANK (aka THE HUNTER) is perhaps the best known of these titles. These are some of the starkest, leanest crime novels ever written. Many writers, including myself and Stephen King, read them to learn about technique as much as to be engrossed in the story.
In a stroke of brilliance typical of Don, he once wrote a Dortmunder novel, JIMMY THE KID, in which the gang that couldn’t steal straight decides to use a Richard Stark Parker novel as a guidebook for how to pull off a kidnapping. Basically a Parker novel is embedded in a Dortmunder novel. I love it.
In my early years as a writer, Don was a mentor to me. I remember the evening in 1968 when he and agent Henry Morrison drove from New York City to Penn State to be at a housewarming party for Philip Klass, who used the pen name of William Tenn and gave me writing lessons. Klass asked Don and Henry to let me tell them about a novel I was working on—FIRST BLOOD. I told them the plot (hard to do in the middle of a party) and waited breathlessly for a reaction. Henry looked at Don and said, “What do you think?” Don replied, “I think it’s a hell of a story.” Henry nodded, adding, “So do I. I’ll be glad to be your agent for it.”
Thus my career began. Later, when I was having structural problems with the book, Don read an early version of the manuscript and sent me a long letter in which he gave me valuable advice.
I can’t say enough good things about the quality of Don’s work and his wisdom about storytelling. Do yourself a favor and read his books.
WHAT'S NEW FOR MARCH
Before I talk about THE SHIMMER, you might be amused to learn how much Rambo gets around. This month, an off-Broadway play called RAMBO SOLO opens in New York City . The play is a production of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma and stars Zachary Oberzan as an obsessed Rambo fan who feels compelled to make another adaptation of the movie FIRST BLOOD with only a $100 budget. This single-character play is set in a small apartment where the audience hears a 90 minute monologue about the differences between my novel and the first Rambo movie.
Now how cool is that. It reminds me of last year’s movie SON OF RAMBOW in which two children reenact scenes from the films. All of this makes me smile. Who’d have thought there’d be so many incarnations?
As you saw on the home page of this website, I now have a cover for THE SHIMMER (coming on July 7 from Vanguard Press). Here’s a larger version: a dramatic image of a vehicle that has stopped abruptly in the Texas desert. Its door hangs open, as if the driver hurriedly got out and ran toward a strange glow in the distance. No, it isn’t a UFO. My longtime fans know I wouldn’t be that predictable. But something’s out there for sure. In fact, it’s been there since at least 1889, and as alluring as some people find it, I strongly suggest that you don’t get too close.
In many ways, THE SHIMMER is as much a mystery as it is a thriller, or as James Rollins calls it “a technothriller.” There’s plenty of hardware in this book, and special ops, and a 20-victim mass shooting, not to mention a police officer who’s a private pilot.
The latter is why I’ve been taking pilot training—because I’m committed to making technical details accurate. There are four extended aerial sequences in THE SHIMMER, and from the start, I knew that I couldn’t possibly write them unless I actually experienced something similar to what the pilot does in the novel. When it comes to writing, I’m like a Method actor. I need to absorb myself in the role. Research makes my life fuller. I love it. As a bonus, anyone who knows anything about flying will not be embarrassed to read the flight sequences.
Some of you sent emails through my CONTACT PAGE to ask about my progress. I’ve very close to taking what’s known as the check ride in which I prove to an FAA examiner that I know how to handle a single-propeller aircraft, in this case a Cessna 172. But unforeseen complications in my schedule forced me to interrupt my lessons for many weeks at a time. I’m getting there, however, putting the finishing touches on stall recoveries and extremely slow flight.
- Morrell is an all time favorite of mine - here is the lastest from his website:
WHAT'S NEW FOR JUNE
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE NEW EDITION
This year marks the 25th anniversary of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE. To celebrate, Ballantine is re-releasing the entire BROTHERHOOD trilogy, starting this month, then continuing with THE FRATERNITY OF THE STONE in September and THE LEAGUE OF NIGHT AND FOG (long out of print) early next year.
These will have a trade paperback format (the size of a hardback but with a soft cover, the main advantage being easy-to-read print). For each book, I wrote an afterword that explains the inspiration for these novels and how the trilogy evolved. I also went through the text and made slight changes for the sake of style and accuracy of fact.
The trilogy occupies an important place in the history of espionage novels because it was the first to merge the American tradition (lots of action but inaccurate spy tradecraft) with the British tradition (almost no action but tons of accurate spy procedures). The idea was to blend Robert Ludlum with John le Carre and to produce something new in the process. Twenty-five years later, this change is now taken for granted, but in 1984, it was trend-setting.
THE SHIMMER NOT IN THE UK
The global economic crisis has strongly affected publishers in England , which means that countries such as South Africa , Australia , and New Zealand are also affected inasmuch as most of them depend on publishers based in England . My former UK publisher, Headline, decided to cut back on the number of books it is publishing. THE SHIMMER is one of those books.
If you live in the UK and you’ve been looking forward to reading my upcoming novel, you might be able to acquire the US edition from AmazonUK. Another option is to go to the EVENTS page of my website and choose one of the US bookstores where I’ll be giving talks in July. All of them specialize in Internet-ordered books and regularly ship books to other countries.
To contact one of them, Google the store’s name and then go to its website. There you’ll find information about how to get in touch with them and have a signed book sent to you. I know that some of you had trouble finding THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS in the UK . It was available only in paperback, and the holiday thriller was released weirdly in March. So you might be able to buy the US hardback of that novel also. When I visit the store (whichever one you choose) in July, I’ll sign the book or books for you, and the store will put the package in the mail.