My 23 year old daughter has been wanting me to come on here for some time, so here it goes!

Here's a picture she took of me holding some of my Indy books at my computer desk Imgur

And a photo of me on my website: http://www.robmacgregor.net/

I am also married to a fellow author who has published over 30 of her own books. If you are an aspiring writer or just an Indiana Jones fan, feel free to ask me anything. I look forward to your questions!

UPDATE: Okay, thank you all. I'm signing off. I enjoyed it.

Comments: 491 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

unmined226 karma

Thanks for the AMA ... Question: how did the knight guarding the grail know modern English, and speak with a contemporary English accent?

RobMacGregor541 karma

Ah, and how did he live for 500 years?

Keelan117131 karma

Have you ever met Harrison Ford?

RobMacGregor308 karma

No, I wasn't on the movie set. I was busy writing the book. His face, tho, is on the cover of seven of my novels. With each one, his image got bigger and bigger, until his face filled the cover.

Dowew103 karma

How bad did you think Crystal Skull was?

RobMacGregor171 karma

I thought it was moderately good. It's amazing it was even made after all these years. While they were filming it, they tried to keep the story a secret. I was at LucasFilm headquarters working on another project, a book called Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings--now known as the Lost Indiana Jones novel - and they wouldn't tell me what the movie was about. Finally, one of the guys couldn't keep a secret and gave me the details. I remember thinking, 'Hey, wait a minute. I wrote a novel, Crystal Skull. But it was a lot different from the movie.

anotherguy289 karma

can I have an autographed copy?

RobMacGregor226 karma

Go to my web site and send me an e-mail.

DoctorVeneno84 karma

Did you ever have played some of the the Indiana Jones games? IMHO Some of them have stories with movie potential.

Are there translations to spanish of your works? Un saludo a Ud. y su SeƱora desde Chile.

RobMacGregor134 karma

Hola. Chile me encanta. Mi esposa y yo fuimos a Chile para nuestro luna de miel y fuimos a Chiloe para investigar el Caleuche. Los Indiana Jones libros no estan traducdio en espanol. No he jugado los games.

RobMacGregor14 karma

A few years ago, I wrote a novel, Indiana Jones & the Staff of Kings, that is loosely based on the latest version of the Indiana Jones game. But the publisher messed up and wasn't ready to publish it when the game came out. As a result, they decided not to publish it at all. When I asked why, they said there was not enough Indiana Jones fans to support another novel. Go figure. I call it the Lost Indiana Jones novel.

I don't believe my novels have ever been translated into Spanish. But the novels have been translated into about a dozen other languages.

keatsandyeats9 karma

Can you publish it as an ebook?

RobMacGregor14 karma

I assume you're referring to I.J. & the Staff of Kings. No, LucasFilm has the copyright. I can't do anything with it. For some reason, they have never brought out any of the Indy novels as e-books. Maybe they will eventually get around to it.

TheDurabun70 karma

I have your movie adaptations! I remember getting them in middle school and reading them after watching the movies. They were great. Thank you.

RobMacGregor65 karma

& thank you!

buhhumbug56 karma

Is writing your full time job? Are you working on anything new?

RobMacGregor110 karma

Yes, writing is what I do. But I also teach a couple of yoga classes a week, and a 6-week meditation course two or three times a year. My latest book is called, Aliens in the Backyard: UFO Encounters, Abductions & Synchronicity. It's a non-fiction book, but it reads like a novel.

munchkinchic47 karma

What tips would you give to beginning/aspiring writers? How did you become a writer? and if you weren't a writer, what would you like to be?

RobMacGregor141 karma

You should try to write something every day. Also, write what you know about...except, don't write about being a writer. That's a no-no for beginning writers. Stephen King can get away with it, creating characters who are writers. But he's Stephen King.

I studied journalism and mass communications in college, although my initial plans were to study archaeology. But I soon found out there were very few jobs for archaeologists. So instead I took up journalism, and traveled overseas quite a bit after college. I was always attracted to the ruins of ancient civilizations in Mexico, Central and South America, and Europe, especially Greece. I worked for awhile as a travel writer, so I traveled free sometimes. So if I wasn't a writer, maybe I would like to be a college prof and archaeologist. Hey, who does that sound like? lol

tornadoRadar2 karma

What did you write this morning so far?

RobMacGregor2 karma

I'm working at it. Thanks.

aftertheswimmingpool45 karma

Oh man, also, can you tell me what it's like to support a family through writing?

RobMacGregor105 karma

Yikes, challenging. It has never been easy. You have to prove yourself over and over. In my 20s, I worked as a journalist, but that was a regular job. Freelance writing is a tough route--lots of competition--but well worth it. My wife and I both quit our jobs with $5,000 saved and set off as writers. Amazingly, after nearly 30 years we're still doing it.

tabledresser34 karma

Questions Answers
Thanks for the AMA ... Question: how did the knight guarding the grail know modern English, and speak with a contemporary English accent? Ah, and how did he live for 500 years?
Have you ever met Harrison Ford? No, I wasn't on the movie set. I was busy writing the book. His face, tho, is on the cover of seven of my novels. With each one, his image got bigger and bigger, until his face filled the cover.
There's a decent amount of karma available for someone who tracks down these covers. Drew Struzen, the artist, is selling the cover art on the Indy novels. But very pricey.
What tips would you give to beginning/aspiring writers? How did you become a writer? and if you weren't a writer, what would you like to be? You should try to write something every day. Also, write what you know about...except, don't write about being a writer. That's a no-no for beginning writers. Stephen King can get away with it, creating characters who are writers. But he's Stephen King.
I studied journalism and mass communications in college, although my initial plans were to study archaeology. But I soon found out there were very few jobs for archaeologists. So instead I took up journalism, and traveled overseas quite a bit after college. I was always attracted to the ruins of ancient civilizations in Mexico, Central and South America, and Europe, especially Greece. I worked for awhile as a travel writer, so I traveled free sometimes. So if I wasn't a writer, maybe I would like to be a college prof and archaeologist. Hey, who does that sound like? lol.

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gerwer35 karma

What is this sorcery?

RobMacGregor9 karma

It's in the mind, outside of our everyday awareness, outside of cause and effect, time and space, good and evil.

aftertheswimmingpool26 karma

How closely did you work with the creators of the movies while you were working on the Indiana Jones books?

Also, I saw that you recently wrote a UFO book. Do you have any personal experiences? How did you do your research for that?

RobMacGregor52 karma

I submitted three-page summaries of the novels to George Lucas. He approved or rejected the ideas. Mostly, he just gave some guidelines for my 6 original novels. We started with the concept that the novels would take place in the 1920s, before the movies. So the first one, Peril at Delphi, began after he had graduated from college and began work as an archaeologist. Also, he never wanted me to include Marion Ravenwood in any novels. He was saving her for himself.

Your other questions about Aliens in the Backyard would take a long time to answer. Maybe Trish and I will do another one of these on Reddit jst about that book. I think you would find the answers to those questions very interesting.

Beginish2Finnish21 karma

What was your opinion of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. And do you think if Disney made a 5th Indi would they screw it up?

RobMacGregor81 karma

I thought the Chronicles were well done. The stories were good and well researched. However, one thing always bothered me about that young adult TV series.

When I wrote my first original Indy novel, I began with an old Indiana Jones with an eyepatch, a cane and a little dog. He started telling the story...and that led into the novel. Then we saw him again at the end. But George said, "Take that out. No one wants to see an old Indiana Jones." So of course I did.

Then a few years later, along comes The Indiana Jones Chronicles, and it begins with an old Indy with an eyepatch, a cane, and a little dog. We see him in the beginning introducing the story, then closing it at the end. So I guess he changed his mind.

As for Disney, which now owns the Indy franchise, I don't think there's going to be another Indy movie. I would be surprised if it happened.

gbabedababe21 karma

What do you think of Georege RR Martin and "Game of Thrones"? Also, where did you do your studies? Thanks for the AMA!

RobMacGregor56 karma

They're great books, but I don't know how he kept everything straight. IMO, there are too many characters, too many ruling families. He created a universe. I like the nomads best.

Onepossibility20 karma

Well first of all I just want to say thanks, truly, for all you've done. You're totally great. Now my question: What's it really like, when you and wife are both out of jobs, and have to live off writing? Is it really as difficult as it sounds?

RobMacGregor34 karma

It would be easier if we had hit it big with at least one of our novels. The Last Crusade was on the NY Times bestseller list for awhile and that was helpful. But because it was a work-for-hire project, my royalty cut was quite small.

Trish and I have both won the Edgar Allan Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America, but it hasn't translated into becoming major best selling authors. So every year we scramble to make a living with our writing. That said, we do live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle...and no annoying bosses!

ohgodthezombies19 karma

I was a huge indie fan as a kid, even though it was in the 90's, what is your personal favorite indie adventure that you created?

RobMacGregor42 karma

Probably Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils, which deal with the search for the missing explorer, Colonel Fawcett. It takes place in the Amazon, a region I've visited several times. While I was working as a travel writer, I was hired by Avianca Airlines to organize trips for travel writers to the Amazon, the Andes, and elsewhere. I ended up going up the Amazon from Colombia to Iquitos, Peru on a converted rubber boat three times. A real adventure.

GrumpyGrampa17 karma

Aw man, now i have to go find them in my library back home and reread it. I would like to thank you for this awesome book, really provided a depth in the setting the movie.

As for a question: What has been going on in your life lately? What are your goals/day-to-day work etc?

RobMacGregor42 karma

My schedule varies. Basically, I work seven days a week, but it's not like a 9-5 job, by any means. Part of the job is reading and researching, coming up with new ideas. I also take time to goof off. Today, for example, I played 36 holes of disk golf with my daughter and a friend at a course near my home.

shelterfromthestorm15 karma

When you add back story that's not included in the film do you get full creative control or does the studio tell you what elements to add?

Do you prefer to write books based on films where there is a plot to start with and fill in the pieces or do you enjoy coming up with your own unique plots?

RobMacGregor22 karma

In The Last Crusade, I was given full creative control regarding the back story for Indy. Surprisingly, the studio never gave me any directions. I guess they assumed I was a professional and would figure it out.

Both types of novels have their advantages. Of course, writing my own novels is more creative, more challenging. The advantage of adapting a script is that it's a work-for-hire project. In other words, I get a contract and an advance payment before I write the novel.

Thydamine14 karma

What's your opinion on Short Round?

RobMacGregor26 karma

He was a cute kid, acted well, and his character added something special to the movie. I've never understood the name, though. Short, yes, round, no.

ohgodthezombies3 karma

I always thought it had to do with his hyperness/spontaneity as a kid because I thought it was similar to calling someone 'short tempered'

RobMacGregor6 karma

He was a definitely a fireplug.

Remioli11 karma

Do you want to take use through what a writing process is like for you? Do you have any routines you go through when you write or anything like that?

RobMacGregor16 karma

I don't have any particular routine. But I often go back and forth between two projects - one fiction, one non-fiction. For example, right now I'm working a non-fiction book called The Synchronicity Highway, and a novel called TULPAS. I don't really want to say any more about either one. When I get stuck with my novel, I go to the non-fiction. Trish is a lot faster writer than I am so she's always wondering what's taking me so long to move ahead. However, I'm not that pokey. I did write all six original Indy novels in two and a half years.

mats6711 karma

How is it to write stuff based/coupled to a movie compared to really freely write your "own" stuff? Curious, as it's usually the other way around.

RobMacGregor14 karma

In some ways, adapting a script to a novel is a lot easier than coming up with a new story and characters. Basically, the script serves an outline for the novel. But if I didn't add new scenes and back story and more depth to the characters, the novel would be about 100 pages. So it's not as easy as it might seem.

I've done several of these and sometimes they are very challenging. For example, I adapted the script of SPAWN and the first thing that happens is that the hero is killed in chapter one. So the question was, how would I make it believable when Al Simmons is back from the dead in the next chapter?

garbageman779 karma

Have you tried, or thought about, self publishing (via Amazon etc) instead of working with a publisher?

RobMacGregor15 karma

I've been bringing out my older out-of-print novels, such as Prophecy Rock, Hawk Moon and Double Heart, as e-books. I've worked with several e-book publishers, and am currently very happy with Crossroad Press. The publisher, David Wilson, is also a writer so he knows the travails writers face in the traditional publishing world, and he's trying to do a better job. The whole industry is undergoing a major transformation right now as the digital age finally reaches the publishing world.

Also, my last non-fiction book, Aliens in the Backyard, was published by Crossroad Press. It came out in February as an e-book, a trade paperback and a hardcover (print on demand) and also as an audio book. It has been doing very well. I co-authored it with Trish, my wife, and we actually turned down an offer from a traditional publisher before taking it to Crossroad.

ArcticSpyder9 karma

What's your favorite suspense novel?

RobMacGregor27 karma

Esperanza and also Ghost Key, by Trish MacGregor. :-)

MegaDom7 karma

Can I still ask you anything if I'm an aspiring Indiana Jones Fan? Also, what do you think of Indiana Jones and the kindgdom of the crystal skull? What process do you go through when turning a movie into a book? Is the book better than the movie it is made from?

RobMacGregor16 karma

Of course. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was interesting because of the alien connection. My first novel was called Crystal Skull and it was that novel that got me into the door of LucasFilm. To write The Last Crusade, I took a 112-page script and developed it into a 350-page novel. I added scenes, put in back story elements that weren't in the script, and got more into Indy's head and his motivations. When I saw the movie, I liked it. But it seemed that so much was missing from the story. That's because I expanded on the script, while Spielberg condensed it, removing a few scenes. They would also send me changes in the story while they were filming. The strangest one was 'remove all references to Turkey,' which was where part of the movie took place. So it became Hatay.

MegaDom9 karma

That must've been really awesome being at LucasFilm. So it sounds like your working on the books at the same time the movie is being filmed. That must be hard. That is really odd. I wonder why they did that.

RobMacGregor12 karma

They wanted the novel to be as close to the movie as possible. They also wanted the book and movie to come out at the same time.

MegaDom9 karma

I got you. I wonder why they decided to not make it explicitly Turkey though.

RobMacGregor17 karma

The Turkish government was concerned that Turkey and Turks would be portrayed in a negative way. Hatay also was the name of the country in the 1930s before it became Turkey. So it was easy to change it.

THcB7 karma

And as we all know, the Turkish government are a really great bunch of folks...

kindabiglie7 karma

Free Hatay!

RobMacGregor3 karma

Waiting for the Turks to respond.

BilledDuckBill5 karma

please tell me you had nothing to do with kingdom of the crystal skull. the film completely ruined indy for me.

RobMacGregor12 karma

Although my first novel was called Crystal Skull, I had nothing to do with the movie, and the movie had nothing to do with my book - other than being about crystal skulls.

photojoe5 karma

Named my dog Indiana. That is all.

RobMacGregor4 karma

So did George.

Remioli5 karma

What books have you read that have really blown you away?

RobMacGregor10 karma

100 Years of Solitude ranks way up there. Also Carlos Castenada's first 4 books heavily influenced me. There are so many, novel and non-fiction. I'll add one more: Seth Speaks.

sieam1233 karma

As a fellow writer, my question to you is what is in your opinion the hardest part of writing a story and how did you overcome that and your strategies

RobMacGregor2 karma

Sometimes the hardest part is getting started on a new book. There are a lot of distractions. Like now, for instance. If I ever get out of this place alive, I'll get back to work!

alex_is_alex3 karma

You're the guy who wrote the 7 Secrets of Synchronicity! Great book, it's one of the most detailed guides on synchronicity that I've ever read. It's awesome to know that you also worked on the Indiana Jones novels - it's my favorite series!

QUESTION: If there was one thing you wanted the whole world to know, what would you tell them?

RobMacGregor3 karma

You create your own reality.

Pertolepe3 karma

Not a question. But thanks for writing the books. Last Crusade has been my favorite film since I was a kid. In fifth grade we had a day where we dressed as characters from a book and I went as Indy. My teacher said it didn't count because it was a movie character, but then I pulled out the LC novelization and smugly used this loophole to be Indy all day.

RobMacGregor3 karma

Good one!

Dictated_ButNotRead3 karma

For anyone who wants to write a novel for fun, but still have the novel be readable or enjoyable, do you have any tips or dummy books that you recommend? I've read a lot of those kinds of books, and one thing they all suggest is that you just keep on writing and reading, but my writing is crap.

RobMacGregor2 karma

I suggest you read the kind of books you want to write. And get a better outlook on your writing ability. Stay positive.

daedsiluap3 karma

You sir are my tocayo.

When you introduce yourself to a stranger, do you automatically assume they are going to try to spell your name without the a in Mac?

Have you always been Rob or did you drop a syllable in middle school?

Did you enjoy the movie Rob Roy as much as I did?

And finally, if there was a character besides Indy for whom you could write novelizations, who would it be?

RobMacGregor3 karma

I have a friend named Rob. We always call each other Tocayo. Most Americans don't know that Spanish term.

Everyone wants to spell my name Mc instead of Mac. My full name is Robert Roy MacGregor, but I've always been Rob. I liked Rob Roy, maybe he would be a good character to novelize...if there was another movie.

jackrednur3 karma

Oh man, I absolutely LOVE your Indiana Jones novels. They're honestly the only Indiana Jones novels that feel like that character is accurately portrayed. Seriously, the Interior World is just fantastic writing...incredibly imaginative, dark, thought-provoking, and somehow plausible (for Indy, anyway). I'm also a huge fan of the Indy/Deirdre relationship...even if it didn't work out so well in the end. Oh, and Jack Shannon is, by far, the best sidekick Indy ever had in any of his adventures. . .he's just so dang likable, I really wanted to see him portrayed on the big-screen in Indy 4. Alas, we all know how that turned out...maybe he was a guest at the wedding, ehh? Anyway, thank you so much for your novels. . .my best friend and I (we met online through our mutual adoration of Indiana Jones), are huge fans of your work!

RobMacGregor5 karma

I'm glad to hear good comments here about The Interior World. When it came out, it received some hostile reactions from die-hard Indy fans who thought I took Indy too far into magical realms in that one. Thanks for your kind comments.

TheJuniorControl3 karma

I just spent the last two hours working on a story that I want to be a summer project for me. I've never really written for fun before, and never anything as long as I'm planning on making this. How do you get started on a new book? Do you just start with an idea and run with it or is there more initial planning involved?

RobMacGregor3 karma

See if you can figure out the beginning, the middle, and the end. Then go for it. It'll change as you write.

lupint3h3rd3 karma

You're the reason my childhood was awesome. Thank you.

RobMacGregor2 karma

:-)

Enriquepollazzo3 karma

Why was Lucas allowed to do what he did with Crystal Skull?

It was very hurtful and ruined my memories of 3 perfect movies in a lot of ways.

Shia Lebouf?

Why?

RobMacGregor4 karma

George can do whatever he wants.

Trying2BaWiseGuy2 karma

I'm curious to hear: why turn a movie into a novel? With movies being so popular even in the 1980s, who was the market for the novel?

RobMacGregor2 karma

Enough people to put the book on the NY Times bestseller list.

SpaceTimeConundrum2 karma

Didn't really have a question, and I'm late to the party anyway it would seem, but since you said you planned to check in again - just wanted to say I read most of the Indiana Jones novels in high school and enjoyed them thoroughly. Thanks!

RobMacGregor3 karma

You're welcome.

HelenVonBiscuits2 karma

Have you ever dabbled in writing movie scripts? Any good ideas for a new Indy movie?

RobMacGregor2 karma

I wrote one script, but it didn't go anywhere. Trish is writing one now with Hilary Hemingway, based on her novel, Ghost Key, and I think that one will go somewhere - right up to the big screen.

pootytangluver6192 karma

I love you.

RobMacGregor2 karma

:-)

kenshinjeff2 karma

In your books, is Indy supposed to be immortal after testing the drink for his dad?

RobMacGregor3 karma

I think Indy is immortalized...but not immortal. We've already seen him as a crotchedy old man in the TV series.

Stoked19842 karma

How did you write the Indiana Jones book? Did you pitch them a story or did they pitch you a story?

RobMacGregor2 karma

I'd just adapted two other scripts into novels and the editor I was working with asked me if wanted to adapt the script for The Last Crusade. I said, "Yes, of course." Neither the editor nor the LucasFilm people knew of my interest and background in archaeology and world travel. I was ready and prepared to take on the character...hat, whip and jacket included.

Exodan2 karma

What is your opinion on semi-colons?

RobMacGregor5 karma

I don't like them; no need for them most of the time.

barfingrhinos2 karma

Which Indiana Jones book is YOUR favorite?

RobMacGregor3 karma

Either Dance of the Giants or The Seven Veils.

notrealname12342 karma

how to do keep perspective? and what is your workflow with a book? thanks!

RobMacGregor3 karma

Unless I'm on a deadline, I don't have any set schedule. I tend to write seven days a week...with lots of breaks and distractions.

notrealname12342 karma

thank you for getting back to me. just one more Q. do you write more then goes out? if so, on a percentage, what ends up going out and what ends up left in the draw? thank you!

RobMacGregor2 karma

Now that e-books are a reality, I can get all my closet books and out-of-print novels published...if I want them out there.

seemsslow2 karma

I've always wanted to know if you based Indiana Jones on Allan Quartermain

RobMacGregor2 karma

No. But I know who he is. Action, adventure novels from the 1930s.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

RobMacGregor2 karma

Here is a picture of me and my daughter getting ready to go windsurfing, one of our many adventures

Imgur

user1882 karma

When you say Indy novels, do you mean Indiana jones novels, or independent novels?

RobMacGregor2 karma

Good point. Indiana Jones.

CocaC2 karma

Have you ever done any ghost writing? Novels, in particular? How do you charge and how do you work out how much? Was it fun or arduous?

(Someone has asked me to do such a thing and ghost writing is new to me.)

RobMacGregor3 karma

Ghost writing is a good way to start out. That's how I wrote my first non-fiction book after quitting my last newspaper job.

PullOnMyJeans2 karma

I'm a freelance writer but I barely make any money. I'm considering putting my energy into a new career (for stability) but I still like the freedom that freelance writing gives me. Do you have any advice for me?

RobMacGregor2 karma

Get a day job & and keep it. Write at night. Unless you're living in your mother's basement rent free, it's tough to make ends meet freelance writing.

We started out freelancing for magazines and fortunately got a good gig at OMNI Magazine, writing for the Anti-Matter section. But eventually we both took part-time jobs for a year until our first books sold, Trish's novel, In Shadow, and a non-fiction ghost writing project. That's when we quit the regular army and have been on our own - good years and bad - even since.

2001Steel2 karma

Unfortunately I missed this AMA but you seem like a really interesting character with a bunch of varying interests. How do you generally describe yourself?

RobMacGregor4 karma

Younger than the average person my age.

tmama12 karma

When writing did you feel it hard to stay focused or keep it grounded in the theme of the series? (Not just your Indie books)

RobMacGregor2 karma

As I've said elsewhere here, it helps to have an outline to work with. An outline is like a road map, while writing the story is like driving the road.You make stops, detours and changes en route. It's all part of the journey.

Octosteel2 karma

What do you think about Indy killing people? I always felt it seemed finally out of place even if they were Nazis or whatever.

RobMacGregor2 karma

Archaeologists usually deal with the dead, not make them dead. Indy is something of an exception.

kmcallister7-1 karma

What do you think of the xbox one? ;)

RobMacGregor6 karma

I'm never played the Indiana Jones game. Sorry.

donovanisthedonoman-5 karma

When does HL3 come out?

RobMacGregor13 karma

Half-Life 3? I don't know.

Archiderp-8 karma

10 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?

RobMacGregor13 karma

I prefer dogs.