Remember Me. A stone cold classic in the Pike ouevre, and it turns out the PikeCast gang loves it. Me too. It's one of few I've read multiple times. They're joined by Grady Hendrix, about whom I've posted before, and in the podcast you can hear his thoughts on the Remember Me sequels.

Listen below.

Pike has spoken about this one multiple times:

I cannot remember when I first got the idea for Remember Me. But I do know that I discussed the story idea while driving my editor from Avon, Ellen Kreiger, the woman who had bought Chain Letter, back to her hotel in Orange County. I think this was in 1986. All of publishing was in the hotels around Disneyland because of the ABA -- the main publishing convention of year. It’s now called the BEA. Anyway, Ellen said it was a terrible idea. That no one would want to read about a dead girl.

I argued with her but frankly I didn’t really care what she thought. I felt I knew Shari, I felt she had a powerful story to tell. At the time I’d only written the first chapter of the book but Shari’s voice was very real to me. Which was odd in a way because I’d never written in first person before.

[...] I wrote Remember Me right after finishing the Final Friends trilogy. I had just signed a contract with Simon & Schuster for four books. For the first time in my life I thought I might be able to survive as a novelist. I was anxious to write a great book -- a story that would last. I was living in La Habra at the time, in a small apartment not far from my parent’s house in Whittier. I never cooked or bought groceries. I used to walk home for dinner and for lunch I’d walk to a nearby mall and buy a sandwich. I didn’t even have a TV. All I did in that apartment was write and sleep. It was a very reclusive period in my life.

Anyway, I remember taking my time writing the book. My editor, Pat MacDonald finally called and asked if she could see what I was working on. I sent her the first half, up to where Shari meets Peter at her funeral. The next few days, I waited anxiously to see what Pat thought. Keep in mind I was not writing a standard thriller and after turning in Final Friends, S&S wanted me to return to books like Chain Letter and Spellbound.

But I was delighted to hear that Pat loved the book. She had recently lost her mother and she found the story moving. With her encouragement I pushed on. Like Shari, Peter took on a life of his own and his entrance into the book accelerated the plot. Looking back, it’s obvious Remember Me wouldn’t have worked without Peter. Yet I had only a vague idea who he was when I brought him in. Peter is a classic example of how a character can sometimes save a book, even when the author -- in this case, me -- did not plan for him to be important. In the same way I did not plan for the detective -- I forget his name -- to be important. I certainly wasn’t going to explore his back story. But again, the character had other ideas. Remember Me was the first book where I felt I was on automatic pilot. The whole scene when Shari died, it was some of my best writing ever. But I wrote it quickly in a single draft. I was sort of surprised to see it all on my computer screen. In fact, it was that surprise that later gave me the idea that Shari’s brother, Jimmy, wrote the book while he was asleep.

I’ve spoken before what happened as I wrote the last page of the book, the last line. Immediately after I typed in the words, “I want people to remember me,” I felt someone tap me on the right shoulder and heard the words, or else was given a very powerful telepathic jolt, “See you later.” I did not imagine it and I cannot explain it. But it happened. It shocked the hell out of me. I almost fell out of my chair.

Remember Me went on to become a huge bestseller. S&S asked if I would write a sequel. They didn’t pressure me but I should have said no because the book was perfect the way it was. And I didn’t say yes because of money. [sic. If you read another quote further down, Pike probably means he did write it for money.] I actually struggled to write the sequels, although I did like the idea of having Shari return as a Walk-In. It was while I was trying to figure out how to write Remember Me II that I suddenly got off my bed and wrote the first few pages of The Last Vampire. (Source)

After FF [Final Friends] I sat down and wrote Remember Me, and I recall something that stunned me shortly after it came out. I used to go for runs with an old friend of mine from high school, David, and afterwards we’d go to a mall near Knotts Berry Farm to eat. It was one of those huge malls with a massive food court where you could find practically anything you were hungry for. Anyway, David and I were sitting and eating at the mall when I noticed a bunch of teenage girl sitting around our table, reading. Actually, they were mostly reading Remember Me, although a few had Weekend or Chain Letter with them. It was the first time I’d ever seen someone reading one of my books and it was an interesting experience. David went to tell the girls that I was Christopher Pike but I stopped him. I doubted they would believe him. At the same time I thought it would be more fun to tell them that I knew him, which is what I did. Of course, most of the girls thought I was just some annoying pervert. However, a few seemed to believe me, particularly when they quizzed me about the book, details about the story. Naturally, I was able to answer all their questions in exquisite detail. (Source)

You can see that anecdote was later written into Master of Murder.

Why did I write a sequel [to Chain Letter]? I was offered a lot of money, and I wanted to keep my publisher happy. That’s the same reason I wrote two sequels to Remember Me. Obviously neither of those books were meant to have sequels. (Source)


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