At the behest of Omnivoracious, rising star Chuck Wendig (Blackbirds) recently interviewed iconic bestselling author Robert McCammon about his new novel. The Providence Rider is the fourth installment in the extraordinary series of historical thrillers featuring Matthew Corbett, professional problem solver. The narrative begins in the winter of 1703, with Matthew still haunted by his lethal encounter with notorious mass murderer Tyranthus Slaughter. When an unexplained series of explosions rocks his Manhattan neighborhood, Matthew finds himself forced to confront a new and unexpected problem. Someone is trying--and trying very hard--to get his attention. That someone is a shadowy figure from out of Matthew's past: the elusive Dr. Fell. There follows a memorable journey during which, Matthew encounters a truly Dickensian assortment of memorable, often grotesque, antagonists.
Chuck Wendig for Amazon.com: Where does Matthew Corbett come from? What inspired you to write him and how is his ongoing tale one that only Robert McCammon could’ve written?
Robert McCammon: Matthew's story began, of course, in Speaks The Nightbird. That was supposed to be a "one-shot" book, not the beginning of a series...but for a long time I'd wanted to do something "different" that I didn't think anyone else was doing. I wanted to move away from horror for a while and see what else I could do, because I'd covered just about all the bases in purely supernatural horror. After I finished Speaks The Nightbird, I thought...well, there could be more to Matthew's story than this. In fact, I could really build a whole world around Matthew...so that's how it became a series.
From the beginning I wanted Matthew to be a "real person," to grow and change throughout the course of the series, and also--very importantly--for people to feel they knew him. And that they wanted to follow his life and adventures and see how he develops. So it's interesting to me now that I do hear from readers who feel they know Matthew and they look forward to his continuing story. There's something appealing about Matthew, I think, because he really does want to "do right." He's learning, and he has a lot to learn, but he wants to be someone's champion. Also, things never go perfectly for him. He messes up sometimes, as he certainly does in The Providence Rider, but I think that helps keep Matthew "real.”