Monday, June 6, 2011

Clive Cussler Interview in AZ Republic

June 06, 2011 |

Cussler on new book, collaboration

As best-selling adventure author Clive Cussler nears his 80th birthday, he chooses to continue writing, searching for thrills on the open sea and traveling to automobile gatherings across the country.
The Paradise Valley resident, who will sign copies of his latest thriller, "The Kingdom," in Scottsdale on Wednesday, talked recently about writing and savoring success.
Question: What can you tell us about "The Kingdom"?
Answer: I worked with another author (Grant Blackwood). It's fun in that sense because I'm getting up there, pushing 80. I'd like to retire, but they won't let me. It's a fun book, it's a couple. Nobody was doing a husband-and-wife treasure-type thing.
Q: How do Sam and Remi Fargo of "The Kingdom" stack up to some of your other characters, such as Kurt Austin and Dirk Pitt?
A: I try to make them different. Austin is pretty similar to Pitt (because) they asked me to do a parallel series. With the Fargos, when you get into the adventure and intrigue, you try to have them approach it from a different angle.
Q: What is your formula for collaborating with other writers (including Paul Kemprecos, Jack Du Brul, and Justin Scott)?
A: I'll come up with the plot, the series and the characters, and they'll start writing. Every 100 pages, they'll send it to me, and I will rewrite, edit it and so forth, until we reach the end.
Q: How do you stay motivated?
A: Each time you sit down to write Chapter One, it's a challenge. And if you write books, you have to be one of these nut cases where whatever you start, you are driven until you finish it.
Q: You have teamed with your son, Dirk, on some books in the Dirk Pitt series. Is it a different kind of partnership?
A: Just because we're related, there is no problem. We probably work easier. He lives just a mile from me.
Q: How much time do you spend working with your National Underwater & Marine Agency?
A: We spent most of April looking in Lake Michigan for a Northwest airliner that went down in 1950. We haven't found it yet. We're going back for about the 10th time to look for John Paul Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard, which is in the North Sea (off England, since 1779).
Q: You've had two sour experiences with Hollywood putting your novels on the screen.
A: Some authors are lucky - they get a real winner. Both my movies "Raise the Titanic" (1980) and "Sahara" (2005) were box-office flops. I'm not selling (any more screen rights). Working with Hollywood, you can't imagine what it's like. . . . The people out there are not like normal people.
Q: As you near a big birthday in July, what are your plans?
A: Just keep going, work on the books and what have you. I take more extended vacations now. I'm happy here. I've got a nice backyard that I've made into a spa. My wife and I will sit out there, share a bottle of wine, and I'll smoke a cigar. This is living.

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