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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
Finally, if given the opportunity,
would you like to write another Indiana Jones
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 TheRaider.net
wish you well for the future!