The 5280 Fall Arts and Entertainment Guide

A closer look at some of the most innovative artistic minds in the Front Range.

November 2009

Action Packed

Longtime Coloradan and best-selling author Clive Cussler's newest thriller, The Wrecker, hits shelves this month.

They call him the Grand Master of Adventure. The 78-year-old Clive Cussler, author of more than 40 best-selling action novels, called Lookout Mountain home for 30-plus years until he moved to Arizona in 1991. But with frequent sojourns to his Telluride getaway, plus the Cussler Museum in Arvada—his vintage-automobile shrine—the author's presence lingers in the Centennial State. This month, look for The Wrecker, a historical crime thriller about the rowdy West. Recently, 5280 caught up with the tireless Cussler to talk shop.

Give us a sneak peek into The Wrecker.
I've written all these sea stories, so I thought it'd be fun to do a Western. It went so well that the publisher wanted a series. The plot started out in the 1950s, but I moved it to 1906 so I could get in the old cars and trains and locomotives. Then we put it in San Francisco so we could get in the earthquake and fire.

How are you different from other writers?
I consider myself more of an entertainer, and I try to make the reading fun. If the action slows down, I'll start the next chapter with dialogue. I always try to do something other writers don't.

You use a lot of maritime lore in your stories, yet you've made your homes in landlocked Colorado and Arizona.
I'm out on the sea one or two months of the year. In July, I was out on the North Sea; we've been looking for a number of years for the USS Bonhomme Richard wreck.

Any plans to cap your pen—er, keyboard—for good?
I have joked about this. I'd like to retire, but they won't let me. I'm 78. I'm not going to be around forever. But I'm obviously never going to retire.