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Angelina Jolie Starring in ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’

CREDIT: AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

From Variety.com:

Angelina Jolie has come on board to star in the chase thriller “Those Who Wish Me Dead” with Taylor Sheridan directing from the script Sheridan adapted from Michael Koryta’s book and Michael’s script.

Bron Studios and Film Rites are producing and Creative Wealth Media is financing. Sheridan is adapting the script from Michael Koryta’s 2014 novel of the same name, which follows a 14-year-old boy who witnesses a brutal murder, is issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens while the killers are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him.

Click here to read the article

Hitting shelves May 2019!

IF SHE WAKES by Michael Koryta. Pre-order now your copy today:

Amazon: bit.ly/IfSheWakes_amazon

B&N: bit.ly/IfSheWakes_BN

Tara Beckley is a college senior assigned to chaperone a visiting engineer to a conference. It’s supposed to be a simple task in a safe place. But once on the road she is the victim of a brutal accident that kills the engineer and leaves Tara in a vegetative state — or, at least, so her doctors think. Really, she is the prisoner of locked-in syndrome, fully alert, but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she discovers that someone powerful wants her dead — but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Meanwhile, Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is assigned to Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby has returned to Maine after a disaster in Hollywood left a beloved actor dead and her own reputation — and nerves — shattered. She has nothing left to give to the case, but she can tell there’s more to the accident than meets the eye. When she starts asking questions, things spin out of control fast, leaving Abby on the run, and an enigmatic young hit man on her heels. His name is Dax Blackwell, and for him, killing isn’t just the family business, but a master craft.

Stephen King & Trooper Koryta

Today Stephen King will receive the PEN America Literary Service Award, and considering how many times I’ve re-read ON WRITING in my career—let alone his incredible fiction—and considering the outstanding work of his foundation, I’d say that’s an awfully deserved honor. Few writers have done more for their colleagues and their communities.
 
Meanwhile, it’s release day of his new novel, THE OUTSIDER, which is terrific— and chilling — from the start. But I got an extra thrill in these pages, and now I’m really rooting for the significance of evidence discovered by this trooper out of Post 7 who scouts the abandoned boat ramp…

The Impact of Newspapers on HOW IT HAPPENED

I wrote HOW IT HAPPENED, a crime novel about a double-murder in a coastal Maine fishing town, in 2017, a year when the state’s homicide toll was 20. That was an increase. In 2016, the state had seen 18 murders. It was a statistic I pointed to in the book, a real-world number that helped establish why my fictional-world crime might have such jarring impact in the region.

During that same year, 418 people died of opioid overdoses in the state. Another increase, up from 376.

I wanted to incorporate that into the novel both to show the stark gap between the things taking lives from these communities, and to address a real threat facing the people of Maine that is far more chilling than any fictional killer I could concoct. The opioid epidemic, understand, is everywhere. It crosses regional, socioeconomic, gender, and age divides. In a polarized country, opioid drug abuse is the great uniter. There are, however, areas of increased vulnerability, and the rural reaches of Maine have proven to offer plenty of them. Addiction resources are disappointingly scarce; from the lobstering town of Machias, Maine, the nearest detox center is in Portland, 216 miles away. A culture of intense privacy and personal accountability isn’t conducive to open discussion about addiction, let alone requests for help. And then there’s the price point – Maine is lucrative ground for dealers, simply through good old-fashioned supply and demand. There’s less competition in isolated territory, and price rises accordingly, and a frightening spiral begins, where addiction drives foreclosures and bankruptcies, and families and communities splinter beneath the weight of it all.

We hear and read about the epidemic, and the numbers themselves have the capacity to shock, but putting a human face on those numbers is critical, and while I was attempting to do that in fiction, a number of wonderful journalists have been working to tell the true stories, and I think it’s important to highlight their work. On a local level, I was particularly influenced and inspired by some excellent newspaper reporters. In Maine, the Portland Press-Herald’s 10-part series “Lost” was exceptional.

In my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, the Herald-Times project “This is Opioid Addiction” was equally powerful.

Traveling back and forth between the two places and seeing similarly wrenching stories helped drive home the sweep of the crisis for me in the way pure statistics or graphics never can. This August will bring a tour de force on the topic, the book Dopesick, by Beth Macy, a reporter from Roanoke, Virginia who takes the reader both into an epicenter of addiction in Appalachia and back across the decades that brought us here, through the falsified data, concealed research, confused physicians, and drug-rep bonuses that helped turn a beneficial medication for chronic pain into a horrifying public threat. She also provides windows of hope amid the heartbreak, and I can’t recommend the book strongly enough.

Meet Bob Hammel

I had the special privilege of introducing Bob Hammel at a library dedication in his honor last night, which gave me the chance to reflect on a lot of history as I approach the release of my 13th book – none of which would have happened without Bob’s generosity and teaching. My first book, Tonight I Said Goodbye, was dedicated to him, but they all should be, really. When people ask “How do you get published?” I really have no answer other than “Meet Bob Hammel.” For me, that’s about how it worked.  The picture above was taken in Bob’s newspaper office when I was 20 and had just received my first publishing contract. About, oh, two or three decades earlier than it might have happened without him.

I began to work with Bob shortly after he’d retired as sports editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times. My neighbor, Michael Hefron, (like Bob, a mentor and friend) was the newspaper’s general manager. Mike knew I wanted to be a writer. Mike is the type of person who prefers seeing effort to hearing goals, and so he encouraged me to meet with Bob to talk about writing, if indeed I was serious about the endeavor. I might have made a mistake right then. I might have said something along the lines of, “But I don’t want to be a sports writer; I want to write novels.” As I recall, the air around us turned a little blue, and I was left with the firm – and accurate – understanding that good writing was good writing, and I’d better figure that out real fast.

And so I found myself in Bob’s basement lair at the Herald-Times, a room with which he took some issues from time to time due to a few leaky pipes and the tendency for people to turn the lights out when he was still in his office, but a room that was immediately appealing to me, and now remains in mind as an all-time cherished spot. So many books! Shelves and shelves of books, from sports to politics to the writer’s art. I loved that room. Until the day I helped him move out of it. Then his decision to archive approximately forty years of Swimming World magazine seemed a lot less impressive.

By the time I left that first meeting, two things had become crystal clear:

  • Bob Hammel knew one heck of a lot about the craft of writing.
  • My writing was going to need to get one heck of a lot better, fast.

When I returned for our next session, I received the first of what Bob called, somehow with a straight face, “a little bit of editing” to my story. There was so much red ink on the pages I thought he’d surely nicked an artery with his letter-opener.  When I’d dropped off the story, I’d placed a thank-you note on top, and I now observed, with an uneasy sense of what was to come, that Bob had edited even that. Bob doesn’t remember doing this, but I have the evidence to prove it, because that initial edit and lesson in writing meant so much to me that I saved the story – and the thank-you note. Red ink on all of it.

He walked me through the massacre like an evidence technician recreating a crime scene, explaining what each blood splatter meant, how so many of the blood splatters shared fundamental root causes, how the blood splatters built upon one another to create a real mess, and how adherence to some basic principles could avert such bloodshed in the future.

Then he told me he thought it was a very good piece of work.

It was a bewildering summation considering he’d found only a few pronouns that didn’t demand a swift strike of the red pen.

Bob doesn’t like to hear it, but I think his willingness to teach his craft, to share the lessons of Strunk & White and William Zinsser and others, gave me an incredible head start on my life’s dream of becoming a novelist. That’s the how it happened of my career.