The Thriller Zone

On today’s 187th episode host David Temple celebrates THE THRILLER ZONE’S three-year anniversary with author May Cobb. They discuss May's journey from being David's first guest to having her book, The Hunting Wives, adapted into a TV series.

May shares her experience working in Hollywood and the surreal feeling of seeing her book come to life on set. They also talk about May's writing process and her best advice for aspiring authors.

The episode ends with MAY providing some real down-to-earth insights as to her Best Writing Advice, and David closes the show by expressing his gratitude to the listeners for the past three years…while teasing some upcoming surprises in future episodes.

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Award-winning Green Beret, Steve Stratton, is the author of the Shadow Tier Series and the novella, A Warrior's Path: the Lance Bear Wolf Story. Learn more at

What is The Thriller Zone?

Podcast host and thriller author David Temple gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (00:00.11)
Hello and welcome to the Thriller Zone. I'm your host David Temple and on today's three year anniversary I'm so excited to welcome longtime friend and first guest of the show May Cobb in her book The Hollywood Assistant. Man, tears practically come to my eyes when I think about this and how much time we've... Anyway, I can go on and on. Let me shut up and just get right into the Thriller Zone.

I'm so grateful you're having me back. I really appreciate it. Are you kidding me? It's you know what today is. I didn't have any big. This is all I had from my granddaughter. She left this at the house. You see that sparkly? This is my this is my celebrate. I was looking for I'm like, honey, do we have any like those whatever those things are in a hat, you know, to celebrate his 30 year anniversary? That's amazing. Wow. Wow.

three years girlfriend. That's insane. It is. And you were number one. I know that's wild, isn't it? I was thinking, I was doing a little daydreaming the other day. We have started by in case you're wondering, I was daydreaming the other day and I'm like, man, think about this. Man, I started together.

I put a little prom up recently with a video. You were a little bit behind the eight ball that particular day. You had lost a friend. We won't go into that. My good thoughts are still with you on that. But I've got my phone on a little stand and I've got a little tiny light and I'm like, this is number one. Woo. And you were so delightful and gracious. And then this is the other part of my daydream. I'm like,

Look at where May has gone in three years. yeah, that's just a dumb luck. Girlfriend, can we can we talk just you and me? Let's get real close. Can I just tell you something? It's talent, OK? It's talent. Thank you. Thank you.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (02:16.846)
You must be doing something right because if I'm not mistaken hold on let me make sure yeah the hunting wives was the book yeah and I remember that book the girls out in the all the hunting paraphernalia cocktails galore of course we love that and I'm like look at her and then now a TV show yeah TV series yeah I know it's why I know I know I feel very grateful I feel very grateful that it got

options by the producer that it did and the showrunner that got attached was attached because they're the reason. Yes, I came up with the book, but they're the reason it is going to be on television. Folks, listen to this for a second. We're going to do some inside scooping because Mae's my girlfriend and we can talk like this. Now, I'm thinking to myself and okay, let me jump ahead to some notes. All right. I knew that you grew up in East Texas. Check. I knew you studied

Literature in San Francisco for your masters check what I did not know and then the pieces all came together What I did not know was that you lived in LA for a few years I don't think we ever talked about that working for writer film writer a filmmaker Rob Shelton Mm -hmm. Yes So that's where you got some of that inside scoop on Hollywood. Yeah. Yes. Yes Absolutely. It was a it was a dream job that

My best friend from Longview actually was Ron's lead assistant and she was like, you have got to move out here. And so she, they actually, I started out just sort of in the production office and then, because they were gearing up to make a film called Play It to the Bone with Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson. It's a boxing movie and.

Then Lolita Davidovic, Ron's wife, who's a very well -known, formidable actor, needed an assistant at that time. So I started as her assistant. Yeah. And then Ron was so great that he was like, I would love for you to read scripts for me and write coverage. And so they both just scooped me up in this...

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (04:33.166)
Like we're still friends and they feel like family. It was just this very like fairy tale thing Well, it's so crazy because I'm as I'm reading this delicious book the Hollywood assistant folks Can you see this right here and all this rainbow color? gorgeousness, yeah I'm like, That's that's me

Although you didn't kill anybody. Yes. Not saying that the main character killed anyone. I'm not saying that because I don't want to give anything away. But somebody does die. Yeah, basically. The dreamy parts of it are in the book, but then the nightmare parts that was all just made up because it's a it's a make -up novel which must have obsession, seduction and murder. I think those are the three main.

right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I was looking at your website this morning and I think the opening at your home page it says author of Twisty Sultry Suspense. I just thought why not give myself a little tagline. I love it and it needs it needs the FM radio, you know. Can we record that for the website and then when people open it? Welcome to Make -Ups.

sultry suspense hotline. How may we help you? How may we make your dreams come true? That's great. Man. OK, so we're going back at the it started with the hunting wives last time we chatted. It was my summer darlings somewhere in there. I think I missed a likable woman. Yeah, that was last summer.

And and then for this one, I wanted to get in L .A. You know, I wanted to challenge myself to write about something other than pine trees. Right. Right. Well, and if I'm not mistaken, didn't a likable woman didn't some what was some gal really liked it? Some some kind of popular up and coming gal. She used to have a TV show. What's her name? Oprah. Oprah. That is practically a mic drop on twenty twenty three when you got that.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (06:51.374)
recognition. it really was. That was that was that was incredible. Yeah, that was very, very, very, very high moment. You know, I'm watching your expression, May, and I've gotten to know you over the years. And you are you what amazes me about you. And I love about you is you're just you're so humble. You're still the same East Texas gal going. Yeah. I lived in Hollywood. Yeah, I'm working with the Vitovich. Yeah. Shelton. Yeah. I got a TV series. Yeah.

Why don't you go, you know, whatever. It's just hilarious. And you're just, that's what I adore about you. Thank you, David. I'm trying to keep it real around here. Life is real as you know. So it's, yeah, it's, I don't know what to say. I just, I feel like I got the good fortune of being hooked up with the right people and I can't take credit for anything like that, you know.

We're going to take a very short break because my sponsors want to say hello and so forth. But when we come back, we're going to find out what life has been like since Hollywood invaded the Cobb household. Perfect. So don't go anywhere.

And welcome back to the Thriller Zone. My guest is Mae Cobb. The book is a delicious read. The Hollywood Assistant. We're celebrating year number three of the Thriller Zone. Thanks for coming back, Mae. No, thanks for having me back on David. This is the best. Well, I was afraid that maybe I was going to have an assistant give me a ring. Mr. Temple, Miss Cobb is having a more important meeting. She said she'd like to do lunch another time, but not.

No, this is I was my god when your email came across I was overjoyed Yeah, well, you're so kind. So here's what I want to know because I love inside scoop so Hollywood rolls in into your home into your hometown because as we had mentioned off -camera the beginning of the show I was trying to make a trip come together where I was going to be on the set of a may Cobb TV series and

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (09:00.686)
talking about The Hunting Wives, the first book that we talked about when we launched the show three years ago this week. And some things just didn't come together. That's fine. You had your hands full anyway. But tell me what it has been like in that little whirlwind, whirling dervish of excitement. It's been absolutely, really surreal and astonishing. So.

It's actually so it's actually it is said in East Texas, but it's being filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina Which doubles really well as East Texas because of the pine forest there But they had me out for pilot week and it was just it was just wild to you know Meet all the actors and the director I've already known this showrunner for a couple of years now She's so fabulous and just to see it being brought to life was just the surreal is the best

I just kept pinching myself. I don't want to make this about me because it's all about you girlfriend, but you do know that I spent like 20 years in Charlotte right before I moved to... I, you know what? I know that now. Now I remember that. That's crazy. We're gonna have to look after her. That's so cool. What a great, I mean city.

Yeah, when I moved there, it was nearly a one -horse town and it blew up in the 20 years I was there and not quite 20, but yeah, a great, great setting, great, you know, beautiful people, blah, blah, blah. So good for you. So what was kind of your favorite part? I mean, meeting stars, that's cool. Hanging out in a cool city. But, you know, when you get a chance, and I'm using a Hollywood assistant, if you, when you get to, when you know that you've spent a year crafting something,

And then you get to sit as they call quite on the set, ready action. And those words start coming out. Talk to me about that. I was absolutely overcome and covered in chills. There is a specific scene that's set in the woods. And when someone delivered a line that was, you know, because a lot of it changes from book to script. But one of the lines that was.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (11:10.094)
one that I had written and one that still makes me laugh. I was like, my God, I just, I honestly can't believe this is happening. And the casting crew have just been like so welcoming and they've gotten my own chair with my name on it. And they're making me feel like, you know, cause you know how it is sometimes on set, you can feel like you're in the way, but it's been the exact opposite. They've been so like, my God, thank you for writing this book. This is.

We've been waiting for a juicy, like, female -led, you know, thing. And I think everyone's just also so grateful to be back at it after the strike.

Yeah, we had a one -two punch, a little COVID, little strike. I mean, it was crazy town out there. So do you remember, give me that line, because I want to see if I remember it from Hunting Wives. my gosh. Sorry to put you on the spot. You're gonna ask me because now I'm like, I can't remember the exact line. Okay, well don't worry about it. Yeah, it was one of those just surreal, yeah. And I should have.

Well, hon, it was it was chock full of those great little zinger one liners between all these girlfriends because they were in various levels of intoxication. Guns were everywhere. So you got plenty to choose from. It gets a little crazy in the book. You know, of all the accomplishments and maybe this is maybe that is it. But of all accomplishments, I mean, you've written for The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Austin Monthly.

Texas Highways magazine. You now have five books under your belt. I mean, can you, and it's kind of like saying, you know, who's your favorite child or niece or nephew or grandchild or whatever, but do you have a favorite accomplishment in this journey so far since you and I have been friends, which now marks three years almost to the day? my gosh. Wow. Three years. That's so special. I'm David, I'm trying to think. I mean, I really think.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (13:12.046)
You know, once again, I don't take credit for the adaptation going forward, but that moment where I got the phone call from the producer that it was legit happening, that has been the most gratifying, you know, 10 minutes of my whole career. Honestly, I staggered out into the hall and fell into my husband's arms weeping with just like, my God, I can't believe this is happening. I have to stop and share that with you because.

You know, we all kind of dream of this secretly. We'd all love to see our stuff up on the screen, but I'm trying to imagine what that feels like and what your husband feels like because he's been there championing you. I remember our very first conversation, you know, times were tough. Money was tight. We're all wondering, can we make a career out of this? And he's like, he was there going, come on, you got this. You can do this. This is your passion. So I love that you remember that about.

Yeah, and he's still that way and he's just happy and proud Plus he gets a brand new jet that's parked right out there in the backyard. It's yeah, it's a it's a it's a what did we get? We got a hondi santa fe but it kind of looks like a jet But I bet you paid cash girl

I love it. Well, you know, I know that we're a little crunched on time, but you know, I can't think of a better way to celebrate. And I knew that I knew the moment was coming, but I can't think of a better way to celebrate. And my wife is so excited about this than to spend it with you because I fly. I'm going to say it again. I flash back to those early moments. I'm sitting at Lake Tahoe at a friend's house on the deck overlooking the lake.

Scribbling out notes Man, I'm so glad miss Cobb will take my call. I'm so glad that she'll just spend some time with me I'm just starting a brand new podcast gosh, you know And here we are almost 200 episodes and three years later And here you are astonishing and you've had literally everyone on and the top of the top, you know

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (15:30.734)
of the thriller genre on and it's every time I see a new guest, I'm so happy. And while you're just such a OG pro. Can I quote you on that OG pro? Wait, I'm writing that down. I'm blurbed.

Well, I would say no one knows what the future holds, as they say. But if I swing around to year four, and I'm not saying I got to wait till year four to talk to you because it's always fun, but I hope you'll make it a four or four. Well, if this is a three Pete, would they be a four Pete? Yes, that sounds good. I love it. Yeah. Now, I don't recall if I asked you this question on a show number one. I'm.

pretty sure I didn't because it's kind of my standard clothes that I developed over the years that I found myself going, if I could sit down with any author, and as you just said, thank you for acknowledging that, some of the biggest authors, thriller authors in the world today, I've asked the same question, what is your best writing advice? Because all my listeners, the people who actually stay to this part of the show all the way to the end in this world of shortening the attention spans,

They go, ooh, ooh, what May Cobb said was fabulous. And even if they're all saying similar things, the fact, everybody brings a little something extra to it. So go ahead. I gave you plenty of time to think about it. Yeah, yeah, no, I don't even have to think about it. The best advice I ever got and the best advice I still use is that a novel can be written in 15 minute chunks. You don't need.

You don't need a retreat. You don't need a grant. You don't need an MFA. You don't need to quit your part -time job. Maybe you do if your boss is a jerk, but you can write. So my first novel I wrote in a year in 15 minutes chunks while my husband was bathing my son while my son was asleep while my mom took my kiddo to gym class. And it's amazing if you put that cell phone away and you set a timer.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (17:41.198)
What you can do in 15, now I've shifted it to 20 minutes, and once you, you know, you might write a paragraph, but then your subconscious is working on that, even if then you have to go pick the kiddo up or fold the laundry or go to the job or whatever it is, you know, you're still, as long as your subconscious is doing that, then you can take your phone and in your notes app, you can jot notes down and dialogue, and then it's just like you're writing when you're not even at your desk.

And to me, that is what has saved me being under deadlines, you know, year in, year out. So like I live and die by that. That's so good. You know what? You just did something for us that I often think about and I, and, and I heard someone, I've got it here. We put so much pressure on ourselves between the pressure that we put on ourselves, that silly.

voice in the back of our head that says, you know, this sucks, right? Yeah. And what will people think or what will people, will they like it? And can I make a living at this? If we could just take some of those and toss them out the window. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. We don't have time for that. We have to get the words down and trust in the reason we're being called to do this. I still have that. I had that voice this morning.

Like, no one's gonna wanna read this. I mean, I'll always. This is what I love about you, May. Another thing, there's so many as you can see. Okay, I'm fangirling, fanboying, whatever they're going. I heart you, May. Is that you've always kept it real. You always keep it real. You put it in little bite -sized chunks. And then,

Pia, speaking of bite -sized chunks, which this is not. There's my notes. I love it. There's my, I always do notes. And then I do highlighting and so forth. But girl, let me see. I wanna make sure I have this right, yeah. 398. This is a little bit thicker. Yeah. A little bit thicker than the first one, wasn't it? Yes, and I actually, I cut 10 ,000 words.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (20:06.286)
Wait, wait, wait, 10 ,000 from this version? Yeah, thank God for my editor that suggested it needed to be trimmed. Okay, ask this question. I know I usually end on that question, but you've sparked a little thing. You still have a couple more minutes? Yeah. Okay. So wait a minute. So I'm reading the 400 page, which is the uncorrected copy. It's an arc. So it's 10 ,000 words less now? Yeah.

Well, well, no, that is the that is the 10 ,000 words less version. It was 10 ,000 more. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. Cause I was sitting there going, wait, what did I miss? You know? Okay. Well now there's a rumor out there in a book publishing world that people are wanting the page count to shorten just a wee bit because of rising costs. That that's probably a factor. I'm sure that that's a factor and.

And I was grateful because I've never had to do that. I usually am guilty of underwriting. And so it was a good exercise for me to learn that maybe you don't need to capture that person drinking coffee again. It's okay. They're caffeinated. We can move on to the martinis.

I remember that first conversation. We spent many times talking about martinis, which the girls in the hunting club really enjoyed. What was your, you have a, I remember cause you had a favorite one. What was the, the Vesper. Yes. I still have that. I must order that. I just remembered that. The Vesper was made famous by James Bond, thanks to Ian Fleming. And it's basically, it's quite a punch young May. So you won't be,

likely having more than two because it'll if I can say this it'll pitch slap you up pretty good. Okay good to know. All right well this has been absolutely delightful and I feel I feel like a cheeseball shaking this little ball around. I love it. My little my granddaughter Ali who calls me Popo she'll see that go Popo you got you got my little shiny thing. I'm like yes I do. Thank you so much for.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (22:27.278)
I'm so happy to celebrate three years with you. Man. Wow. Here's to many more. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Man, isn't she a sweetheart? I love her. The Hollywood assistant. Guys, I'm going to be straight up with you. It's a little bit of a chip book, but I dug it and I'm very confident in myself. You know what I'm saying? It's good. Hey, guess who's next week?

Ooh, Kendra Elliott, Melinda Lee. The book is Echo Road, and they're gonna be my guest. We got a twofer on next week's show. All right, before I scoot, I wanna say a couple of quick things. Thank you so much for being there. Thank you for going through one, two, and now three years. Three years of The Thriller Zone. Hard to believe. Nearly 200 episodes. I wanted something fierce to hit all 200.

but a couple of health issues slowed me down and this, that, and the other. But you know what? Doesn't matter. Who's keeping score? I'm having fun. You're having fun. We're learning stuff all the time. That's what really matters. So while we have celebrated that landmark of three years and we're kicking off into the next season, which should be season seven with Elliot and Leap, you know, I just want to say thanks again. If you ever want to just drop us a note, you know our email.

TheThrillerZone at gmail .com. You know our website, TheThrillerZone .com. You know where you can find us on social, Instagram, Twitter, text, Facebook. The Thriller Zone. Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? We are your front row seat to the best thriller writers in the world, including me. I'm writing some too, folks.

Anyway, thank you so much. I'm your host David Temple. I'll see you next week for another episode of The Thriller Zone.