Ron McLarty and the Basement of Despair

Posted on January 31, 2005

A Sydney Morning Herald article tells the fascinating stor of debut author Ron McLarty's long road to publication. He wrote his first book at age 24. And now, thanks to a column in Entertainment Weekly by uber-novelist Stephen King, the 56 year-old author can see his first published book, The Memory of Running, on bookshelves everywhere. Viking won a bidding war and published the book, fifteen years after McLarty wrote it in 1988 and two weeks after King wrote a magazine column in which he called McLarty's manuscript "the best novel you won't read this year."

The bidding war ended with McLarty being the somewhat surprised owner of a two-book deal for just over $2 million. Warner Bros. has optioned the book as a film to be directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who did such a fabulous job with the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

McLarty never stopped writing and submitting his work over the years, while keeping his day job. He had so many rejection slips that he pinned them to his basement ceiling in his New Jersey home. His children jokingly called the basement "the pit of despair." With this happy ending, it appears that Mr. McLarty has no further need for a Basement of Despair. Perhaps it could be converted into a game room.

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