Robert R. McCammon (born July 11, 1952) is the author of several best-selling horror novels. He has won five "Bram Stoker" awards from the Horror Writers Association (which he helped found) and one "World Fantasy" award. He has also won the Alabama Library Association Author Award (1985), the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (1992), and the Independent Publisher Book Award (2003). His recent novels have moved beyond the horror genre with two well-received works set in Colonial America.
McCammon grew up in East Lake, reading Poe and Lovecraft and watching horror movie previews through his fingers at Roebuck's College Theater. After winning $10 in an essay contest and riveting classmates with horror yarns, he graduated Banks High School with the idea that he could succeed as a writer and went on pursue a degree in journalism at the University of Alabama.
He left the university in 1975, 12 credit hours shy of fulfilling the requirements for his bachelors. While working at odd jobs, he tried to crash the set of Stay Hungry posing as a Rolling Stone reporter, but was bounced out. He also posed as a People magazine writer to get a meeting with Kathryn Tucker Windham.
After stints as a B. Dalton's clerk at Brookwood Village and in Loveman's advertising department, he got a job as a copy editor for the Birmingham Post-Herald. He prepared several feature-type stories for possible publication, but was shot down by the editor. He was working on a headline for a story about Boston's "Milk Festival" in 1978 when he got a call telling him his first novel, Baal would be published. Baal, a straightforward demon-possession story was successfully marketed as a mass paperback in the wake of the hit film The Exorcist and Pocket Books capitalized on the popularity of Stephen King by positioning McCammon as writer in the same mold.
McCammon found early success with those genre novels and published several in quick succession through the 1980s. He collaborated with editor Bob Wyatt in his early books for Avon and then published two hardcover novels for Holt, Rhinehart and Winston. His next novels were published by Pocket Books, with the epic Swan Song edited by Sydney Miner and the remainder by Sally Peters. In addition to numerous favorable reviews and awards and appearances on bestseller lists, he sold film rights to several works. Two of his short stories have been adapted for television, "Makeup" was aired as an episode of "Darkroom" on ABC and "Nightcrawlers" appeared on CBS's revival of "The Twilight Zone". "Nightcrawlers", which features a tormented Viet Nam veteran whose flashbacks are terrifyingly real, stood out as the best-received episode of the series. It was directed by William Friedkin, who also directed The Exorcist.
McCammon's relationship with Pocket Books soured during the development of Boy's Life, which became a critical and commercial success despite McCammon's refusal to "commercialize" it according to the publisher's wishes. At the same time he was increasingly resisting his pigeonholing as a King copycat. After the release of Gone South in 1992, McCammon left the publisher.
His next novel, Speaks the Nightbird was more of a historical-fiction/mystery than fantasy/horror book. When he was unable to get it published on his own terms, McCammon refused to sign a contract and entered into a long phase of semi-retirement.
Speaks the Nightbird was eventually published to critical acclaim in 2002 by River City Publishing in Montgomery. And, though he initially insisted he did not plan to write again, McCammon has begun a series of sequels, the first of which The Queen of Bedlam, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2007.
Two movies based on McCammon stories are currently in preproduction. Frontsight Productions plans to begin filming Blue World in Spring 2007, and Rainstorm Entertainment is developing Night Calls the Green Falcon.
McCammon lives in Vestavia Hills.
- Baal (1978) New York: Avon Books
- Bethany's Sin (1980) New York: Avon Books
- The Night Boat (1980) New York: Avon Books
- They Thirst (1980) New York: Avon Books
- Mystery Walk (1983) New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston
- Usher's Passing (1984) New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston (Alabama Library Association Author Award)
- Swan Song (1987) New York: Pocket Books (Bram Stoker Award)
- Stinger (1988) New York: Pocket Books
- The Wolf's Hour (1989) New York: Pocket Books
- Blue World (1989) London: Grafton
- MINE (1990) New York: Pocket Books (Bram Stoker Award)
- Boy's Life (1991) New York: Pocket Books (Bram Stoker Award)
- Gone South (1992) New York: Pocket Books
- Speaks the Nightbird (2002) Montgomery: River City Publishing
- The Queen of Bedlam (October 2007) New York: Simon & Schuster
- Mister Slaughter (January 2010) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- The Five (May 2011) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- The Hunter from the Woods (November 2011) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- The Providence Rider (May 2012) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- I Travel by Night (May 2013) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- The River of Souls (May 2014) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- The Border (May 2015) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- Freedom of the Mask (May 2016) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- I Travel by Night 2: Last Train from Perdition (Fall 2016) Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press
- Carter, Carl (June 9, 1983) "Come Midnight McCammon Is Scaring the Tar Out of Himself". Birmingham News
- Taylor, J. R. (October 1987) "Robert R. McCammon". I Cover the War
- Ryan, Shawn (March 13, 1988) "Who knows what evil lurks in the shadows of our minds? Writer Rick McCammon does." Birmingham News
- Ryan, Shawn (October 7, 2002) "McCammon vows writing days are over." Birmingham Post-Herald
- Taylor, J. R. (October 1988) "Available in Supermarkets Now!". I Cover the War
- Skaggs, Sam (August 2, 1991) "Robert R. McCammon". Publisher's Weekly
- Lazenby, David (March 18, 2010) "Novelist discusses horrors of the book business." Daily Mountain Eagle