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Help Support Features Interviews Rob MacGregor
Rob MacGregor interview
by Shipwreck - posted on June 29, 2002

Rob MacGregor has written seventeen books. Seven of these were based on Indiana Jones. They are, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Perils at Delphi, Dance of the Giants, Seven Veils, Genesis Deluge, Unicorn's Legacy and Interior World.

Mr. MacGregor was glad to do this interview for I'd like to thank Mark Walters of Hotfish Studios for getting Rob and myself together.


How did you start writing Indiana Jones novels?

I was approached by an editor , after writing a book about the behind the scenes making of an 80's television show called "Miami Vice". He asked if I would be interested in writing a screen adaptation to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I didn't have any background with Indiana Jones prior to this.

How were you able to write Last Crusade and what was it like?

They gave me a stack of movie stills for each character, so that I would know what they looked like. Then they gave me the script, which was only about a hundred pages long. I knew I would have to add a lot more to the story than what was provided. One hundred pages only measured up to a novella, not a novel, which would need to be about three hundred pages more. Needless, to say, there is much more in the book Last Crusade than in the movie. There were a few things that I included in the book that never made the movie. They would often call me and tell me to change things. For example, in the opening sequence of the movie, the story originally took place at Mesa Verde and they were going to climb into cliff dwellings, but after some feedback from archaeologists and environmentalists, it was changed to the Utah setting. Another time, they called me and asked me to remove all references to the name Turkey. They wanted to use the name Hatai, which was the correct name for the country during that time period. The reason it was changed from Turkey, in the story, was due to a minor conflict with an ambassador. The book has a lot more. If you look carefully, you can still find a copy of it here and there. Its like a DVD, with bonus scenes.

How did you become involved in writing an additional six Indiana Jones novels?

MacGregor signing.

After the Last Crusade book, George Lucas asked if I would be willing to write a series. I said sure. He wanted to keep them from taking place after the time line created by the movies. So we decided on prequels that took place during the nineteen twenties, when Indiana was younger. I was originally contracted for only four, but they wanted to know if I could do more. That's how the other two came about. After that I needed a rest for the old melon.

How much was George Lucas involved with the books?

Not much really. He pretty much left me alone and let me work. He did edit out a sex scene. He really had one rule, that the story revolve around a myth or artifact based in fact. Something that really existed.

Have you traveled to all the places you write about?

Yes, except for Stonehenge. When they hired me, I don't think they had any idea that I had an avid interest in archaeology, that I'd visited many archaeological sites in my travels. In the mid '80's I organized adventure tours along the Amazon. I had a group one time that went to a lost city near Santa Marta, Columbia. It was somewhere around 3000 feet up and there were no roads. I led one group in by foot and a second followed via helicopter. A storm moved in and the helicopter never returned for me until a long time afterwards. We met a group of Cogi Indians, which was very rare. They would usually keep to themselves. They referred to themselves as "Elder Brothers." They considered it their job to keep the sun coming up and cleaning up after the rest of us. They considered all of us, with our helicopters and such, as "Younger Brothers." They kept the world in order for us. It was really something special.

Did you have any problems using characters from the films for your novels?

Yes. I was only authorized to use Marcus Brody and Indiana Jones. I wasn't able to use any references to Marion and such. Just Marcus Brody. I created everyone else, like Jack Shannon from Perils at Delphi.

Are you currently working on anything new?

click to enlarge
MacGregor next to his
Indiana Jones novels.

Yes, definitely. I am about to release Romancing the Raven. It is a time travel novel. In it, the main character, Destiny, a twenty-one year old into Goth. and going to NYU, discovers that her family has a unique gene in their family code. The gene enables them to locate wrinkles in time. At the time, she discovers a wrinkle near the John Lennon 'Imagine' memorial in Central Park and travels back in time. She has been studying Edgar Allen Poe in school, so ventures toward the time right after he was court-martialed from West Point. She finds him and eventually brings him to our time. I have one scene where David Letterman is interviewing people on the street and winds up with a microphone in front of Poe. Edgar tells him he really is Poe and Letterman lets him rattle on. Then turning with the microphone, asks, if there is someone from this century he could talk to. Poe discovers his works with Destiny and a book about his death. Anyway, there it is. I don't know the exact time of release though. I also wrote the adaptation of sorts for the Peter Benchly television series named Amazon. It was short lived. It may have had something to do with the times. I live in Florida and it aired on like Sunday nights at midnight. The premise is good though. In my book, it takes place three hundred years prior to the show. You find out a lot more detail. When the book first came out, the cover was a bit misleading. People at airports would snatch up a copy of what they thought was a new Peter Benchly book, but alas Rob MacGregor was printed on the side. I still think they got a good story. I also worked with Billy Dee Williams on a couple of books. They were named, "PSI/net" and "Just/In Time". They were about remote viewing and such. Really neat stuff about spies using their psychic abilities to spy on others.

How long did it take you to write the Indiana novels and did you keep anything held back for later?

About four months apiece. I like to write late at night and early in the morning. I used all that I had and didn't hold anything back. You got it all.

Why did they change to a different author after the sixth novel?

I had exhausted myself. I needed a break to refresh my brain. Marty Caidin came in afterwards.

Finally, if given the opportunity, would you like to write another Indiana Jones book?

Every Christmas I get a really unique Christmas card from LucasFilm, and every year I try to let Lucas and the folks at LucasFilm know that I'm interested in adapting Indy 4.

Thank you Rob for the interview and the great answers. We at wish you well for the future!


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