Douglas Preston

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Douglas Preston
Born Douglas Jerome Preston
(1956-05-20) May 20, 1956 (age 58)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Occupation Novelist, Journalist
Nationality American
Alma mater Pomona College
Genre Thriller, Techno-thriller, Adventure, Non-Fiction
Notable works Agent Pendergast Series, The Monster of Florence, Wyman Ford series, Gideon Crew series
Spouse Christine Preston
Relatives Richard Preston, David Preston
Website
www.prestonchild.com

Douglas Jerome Preston (born May 20, 1956) is an American author of techno-thriller and horror novels. He has written numerous novels, six alone and the rest with Lincoln Child. He also has authored a number of non-fiction books on history, science, exploration, and true crime.

Life and career[edit]

Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A graduate of the Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, Massachusetts, and Pomona College in Claremont, California, Preston began his writing career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

From 1978 to 1985, Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as a writer, editor, and manager of publications. He served as managing editor for the journal Curator and was a columnist for Natural History magazine.[1] In 1985 he published a history of the museum, Dinosaurs In The Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History, which chronicled the explorers and expeditions of the museum's early days. The editor of that book at St. Martin's Press was his future writing partner, Lincoln Child.[2] They soon collaborated on a thriller set in the museum titled Relic. It was subsequently made into a motion picture by Paramount Pictures starring Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, and Linda Hunt.

In 1986, Preston moved to New Mexico and began to write full-time. Seeking an understanding of the first moment of contact between Europeans and Native Americans in America, he retraced on horseback Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's violent and unsuccessful search for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. That thousand mile journey across the American Southwest resulted in the book Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest. Since that time, Preston has undertaken many long horseback journeys retracing historic or prehistoric trails, for which he was inducted into the Long Riders' Guild.[3] He has also participated in expeditions in other parts of the world, including a journey deep into Khmer Rouge-held territory in the Cambodian jungle with a small army of soldiers, to become the first Westerner to visit a lost Angkor temple. He was the first person in 3,000 years to enter an ancient Egyptian burial chamber in a tomb known as KV5 in the Valley of the Kings.[4] In 1989 and 1990 he taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. Currently, he's an active member of the Authors Guild,[5] as well as the International Thriller Writers organization.[6]

Writing career[edit]

With his frequent collaborator Lincoln Child, he created the character of FBI Special Agent Pendergast, who appears in many of their novels, including Relic, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Brimstone, and White Fire. Additional novels by the Preston and Child team include Mount Dragon, Riptide, Thunderhead, and The Ice Limit. Later, the duo created the Gideon Crew series, which consists of Gideon's Sword, Gideon's Corpse, and The Lost Island.

For his solo career, Preston's fictional debut was Jennie, a novel about a chimpanzee who is adopted by an American family. His next novel was The Codex, a treasure hunt novel with a style that was much closer to the thriller genre of his collaborations with Child. The Codex introduced the characters of Tom Broadbent and Sally Colorado. Tom and Sally return in Tyrannosaur Canyon, which also features the debut of Wyman Ford, an ex-CIA agent and (at the time) a monk-in-training. Following Tyrannosaur Canyon, Ford leaves the monastery where he is training, forms his own private investigation company, and replaces Broadbent as the main protagonist of Preston's solo works. Ford subsequently returns in Blasphemy, Impact, and The Kraken Project.

In addition to his collaborations with Child and his solo fictional universe, Preston has written several non-fiction books of his own, mainly dealing with the history of the American Southwest. He has written about archaeology and paleontology for The New Yorker magazine and has also been published in Smithsonian, Harper's, The Atlantic, Natural History, and National Geographic.[7][8][9][10][11]

In May, 2011, Pomona College conferred on Preston the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).[12] He is the recipient of writing awards in the United States and Europe.[citation needed]

Involvement in the "Monster of Florence" case[edit]

Main article: Monster of Florence

In 2000, Preston moved to Florence, Italy with his young family and became fascinated with an unsolved local murder mystery involving a serial killer, the Monster of Florence. The case and his problems with the Italian authorities are the subject of his 2008 book The Monster of Florence, co-authored with Italian journalist Mario Spezi. The book spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and won a number of journalism awards in Europe and the United States.[citation needed] It is being developed into a movie by 20th Century Fox, produced by George Clooney. Clooney will play the role of Preston.[13][14]

Involvement in the Amanda Knox case[edit]

Preston has criticized the conduct of Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini[15] in the trial of American student Amanda Knox, one of three convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007. In 2009, Preston argued on 48 Hours on CBS that the case against Knox was "based on lies, superstition, and crazy conspiracy theories".[16] In December 2009, after the verdict had been announced, he described his own interrogation by Mignini on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN. Preston said of Mignini, "this is a very abusive prosecutor. He makes up theories. He's ... obsessed with satanic sex."[17]

“Operation Thriller” USO Tour[edit]

In 2010, Preston participated in the first USO tour sponsored by the International Thriller Writers organization,[18] along with authors David Morrell, Steve Berry, Andy Harp, and James Rollins. After visiting with military personnel at National Navy Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the group spent several days in Kuwait and Iraq, marking “the first time in the USO’s 69-year history that authors visited a combat zone.”[19] Of the experience, Preston said, “As always, we learn a great deal from all of the amazing and dedicated people we meet.”[20]

Authors United[edit]

In 2014, during a disagreement over terms between Hachette Book Group and Amazon.com, Inc.,[21] Preston initiated an effort which became known as Authors United.[22] During the contract dispute, books by Hachette authors faced significant shipment delays, blocked availability, and reduced discounts on the Amazon website.[23] Frustrated with tactics he felt unjustly injured authors who were caught in the middle, Preston began garnering the support of like-minded authors from a variety of publishers. In the first open letter from Authors United, over 900 signatories urged Amazon to resolve the dispute and end the policy of sanctions, while calling on readers to contact CEO Jeff Bezos to express their support of authors.[24][25] Not long after, a second open letter, signed by over 1100 authors, was sent to Amazon's board of directors asking if they personally approved the policy of hindering the sale of certain books.[26]

Describing the motivation behind the campaign, Preston explained: “This is about Amazon’s bullying tactics against authors. Every time they run into difficulty negotiating with a publisher, they target authors’ books for selective retaliation. The authors who were first were from university presses and small presses... Amazon is going to be negotiating with publishers forever. Are they really going to target authors every time they run into a problem with a publisher?”[27]

Bibliography[edit]

Solo Works[edit]

Fiction[edit]

Tom Broadbent Novels[edit]
Wyman Ford Novels[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

  • Dinosaurs In the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History (1986)
  • Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest in Pursuit of Coronado (1992) [30]
  • Talking to the Ground: One Family's Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo (1996)
  • The Royal Road: El Camino Real from Mexico City to Santa Fe (1998)
  • Ribbons of Time: The Dalquest Research Site [photography by Walter W. Nelson, text by Preston] (2006)
  • The Monster of Florence: A True Story [with Mario Spezi] (2008)
  • Trial By Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case [Kindle Single eBook] (2013)
  • The Black Place: Two Seasons [photography by Walter W. Nelson, essay by Preston] (2014)

Collaborations with Lincoln Child[edit]

Agent Pendergast series[edit]

Gideon Crew series[edit]

Other[edit]

Short Stories[edit]

  • "Gone Fishing" from Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night (2006)
  • "Extraction" [eBook] (2012)
  • "Gaslighted: Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast" [eBook] (2014) [33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.prestonchild.com
  2. ^ http://www.prestonchild.com/books/preston/dinosaurs/
  3. ^ http://www.thelongridersguild.com/members_01.htm
  4. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1996/01/22/all-the-kings-sons
  5. ^ http://www.authorsguild.org/about/board-of-directors/
  6. ^ http://thrillerwriters.org/about-itw/officers-and-committees/
  7. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/contributors/douglas-preston
  8. ^ http://www.smithsonianmag.com/author/douglas-preston/
  9. ^ http://harpers.org/author/douglasjpreston/
  10. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/douglas-preston/
  11. ^ http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0008/fngm/
  12. ^ http://www.pomona.edu/events/commencement/archive/2011.aspx
  13. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/george-clooney-attached-monster-florence-68334
  14. ^ http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/george_clooney_says_script_for_monster_of_florence_being_tweaked_he_wont_di
  15. ^ "Tales from Italy’s Dark Side: Interview with Douglas Preston
  16. ^ American Girl, Italian Nightmare from CBS News
  17. ^ American Student Convicted of Murder in Italy; President Obama's Approval Numbers Sliding, Anderson Cooper 360° transcript
  18. ^ http://thrillerwriters.org/operation-thriller/
  19. ^ http://thrillerwriters.org/2010-uso-tour/
  20. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-preston/operation-thriller-uso-to_2_b_782132.html
  21. ^ http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-amazon-and-hachette-explained-20140602-story.html#page=1
  22. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/business/literary-lions-unite-in-protest-over-amazons-e-book-tactics.html
  23. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/can-authors-move-amazons-board
  24. ^ http://authorsunited.net/letter/
  25. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/08/authors-ad-new-york-times-petition-amazon
  26. ^ http://authorsunited.net/
  27. ^ http://www.salon.com/2014/08/08/douglas_preston_on_his_open_letter_about_amazon_im_not_a_firebrand_i_fell_into_it_accidentally/
  28. ^ a b "The Lost Island". hachettebookgroup.com. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "The Kraken Project". Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  30. ^ Douglas Preston (1992). Cities of Gold: A journey across the American southwest in pursuit of Coronado. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-73759-7. 
  31. ^ "White Fire". hachettebookgroup.com. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  32. ^ "Grand Central in New Deal with Preston/Child". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz LLC. February 1, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  33. ^ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gaslighted-douglas-preston/1120420689?ean=9781476788715

External links[edit]