My Interview With Bob LeDrew

Photo Credit: Dan Roy

Bob LeDrew is the host of a wonderful website titled the Kingcast. A lot of King sites require a lot of reading. . . which is fine, since most of us read Stephen King! However, Kingcast also offers loads of audio interviews and is a very unique experience.  Bob, as he shares below, is also a music lover and also a fan of Ray Bradbury.

Talk Stephen King: Hi Bob! Tell me a little about yourself.

Bob LeDrew: Well... I have the heart of a small boy... on my desk. Wait, I just stole that from SK. More accurately, I'm a 45-year-old guy who lives in Ottawa, Ontario, which is Canada's capital city. I work for myself, on a variety of things, from working on launching a concert series in 2012 to doing promotions for musicians to starting to teach for a local community college in public relations and social media. I live in a great neighbourhood with a lovely woman who tolerates my eccentricities with the help of our two cats.

My other great passion is music, mostly of the folky-rootsy variety, but I am also a huge fan of bands like The Who and The Kinks.

Talk Stephen King: I really like The Stephen King Cast – it is very unique. I’m sure it’s a lot of work, because each episode requires you to hit the pavement and get the interviews. What was your motivation in starting this site?

Bob LeDrew: I don't do interviews EVERY episode. From time to time I blather on solo. But lately, there have been a lot of interviews. I guess there were a couple of motivations in starting the Kingcast. I've always had a finger or two in the radio / audio pie, so the freedom that podcasting provides to "make your own radio" is very appealing. I've been a huge King fan for decades, and I like to think I understand a bit about his work. So rather than bore my friends with it, I thought I'd spread the boredom over a much larger potential listenership.

Photo Credit: Dan Roy
Funny, the easiest part of the interview shows has been actually getting the interviews. I've only been turned down flat once, by the psychologist in New Zealand who said Stephen King books were causing mental illness in her patients. She refused the request because I am a "fan" of King. Shame, really. I spend more time once I've gotten the interview booked trying to prepare myself. I want to make sure that if someone like Shawn Piller or Annabeth Gish is giving me a half-hour of their time -- that's a lot -- I want to give them good questions that engage them -- and the listeners too.

The other thing that motivated me to do the podcast is that I went online to find Stephen King podcasts, and those that were there had suffered "podfade." That's a phenomenon when people start out a podcast going gangbusters and rapidly lose their motivation. So I thought there was a niche there, and I suspected there was an audience.

Talk Stephen King: What are some unique things you’ve learned doing this? (Any new insights into Stephen King, the fans or the world of Stephen King?)

Bob LeDrew: I think I appreciate more the breadth of what King has done and is doing. He's continuing to challenge himself artistically, which I admire for someone of his age and experience. I thought Full Dark No Stars was amazing. I don't know that this is unique to me, but I am more convinced than ever that King will be seen as the Dickens of our part of history - a socially minded, immensely popular, sometimes soft-hearted, sometimes maudlin writer who believes in the power of "the little people."

Another thing that has struck me over the time I've been doing this is the passion and protectiveness that King fans have towards his writing. The most obvious example of this is the movies. Writers or directors who change things from the book really open themselves up to some vicious criticism from fans. I try to be open to those changes and judge them on whether they help make the movie or TV property usable (with a certain degree of success), but man, there are some people who will tolerate no change from the book.

Talk Stephen King: I really enjoyed your interview with Ms. Mod and her discussion about the work at the Haven foundation. You’ve interviewed some pretty interesting people from the King-realm. Any favorites stand out?

Bob LeDrew: Oh man. I feel that if I point out one someone else might feel left out. Matt Frewer was a superbly nice guy. But so were Mick Garris and Annabeth Gish. But I also really enjoyed talking to Brad Ricca about violence and moral panics. The best part of interviews to me is that you get to talk to people who know more than you do and learn from them.

Talk Stephen King: How long have you been reading Stephen King? What’s the draw for you? (And what do your friends and family think of your interest in the Stephen King universe?)

Bob LeDrew: I don't know how long. A LOOOOONG time. Probably around my early teens, which would make it more than 30 years. I think the draw has changed over the years. I suspect my younger self enjoyed the visceral thrills that King provided. I was also a huge HP Lovecraft reader back in the day. But as I've aged, and kept reading him -- and trust me, I read stuff repeatedly -- I feel like I've come to appreciate what King has been able to teach himself and the reader about human nature and the human character. Lovecraft has not aged anywhere near as well as King has for me.

Most of my "real-life" friends have very little appreciation for King. In fact, my partner has grudgingly read a few things, and she watched Bag of Bones, but nothing much beyond that. I think (hope!) they appreciate my passion for King, and accept that I'm just a little offbase -- which is no surprise to most people who know me.

Talk Stephen King: Bag Of Bones recently aired on A&E – with very mixed reviews. What did you think of it? Do you have a favorite King movie?

Bob LeDrew: I have mixed feelings about the miniseries. On one side, I think Garris gets a very rough ride from fans. And I think there are some set pieces in Bag of Bones that are genuinely affecting and chilling. Mike's grief, at times, is painful to watch. The end of Sara Tidwell was done much better than I expected. I wasn't sure how they would deal with that, and I thought they did a great job. The strong erotic current that runs through the book like a through-line from Sara to Jo to Mattie was well executed.

On the other hand, there were weaknesses. I think the ability of a malign presence to influence the entire TR (or Dark Score, as they call it in the series) was diluted in the script. And the climax didn't work for me. And the last scene really bothered me. Overall, I think it was a solid effort, but not the best adaptation.

I think my favorite King adaptation is Misery. The film kinda reminds me of Hitchcock as a self-imposed challenge to the director: "Okay, two characters, one room. Make it work." So tense. I also am a fan of Dolores Claiborne, mostly because I think Kathy Bates is just a superb actor. She is so wonderful as both Annie and Dolores.

Talk Stephen King: Okay, let’s turn the tables on Bob. . . "suppose the house is burning down, what Stephen King piece from your collection would you save?"

Bob LeDrew: You know, I don't have a lot of King memorabilia or things of particular material value. I have most of his books, but none signed, none first editions, and most are well-thumbed over. If I had to pick one King piece, it would be the paperback of Salem's Lot with the totally beaten-up cover and pages falling out. But I'd leave all the King and grab my note from Ray Bradbury, to be honest. That could likely never be replaced.

(Talk Stephen King: A note from Ray Bradbury! That is totally rockin' out there cool! He is awesome!)

Talk Stephen King: Do you do any writing? If so, what kinds of things have you written?

Bob LeDrew: I do a LOT of writing. I've been a journalist and a PR / social media guy for nearly 30 years, so I've written a lot of stuff. News releases, communication plans, newsletters, magazine articles, radio scripts, speeches.
I have dabbled in fiction as well, but never published anything. I have a couple of quarter-to-half-finished novels in the virtual desk drawer, but I have no idea if I will ever finish them, or for that matter if they deserve it.

Talk Stephen King: You seem pretty familiar with the Stephen King online presence. What are some of your favorite Stephen King haunts on the web?

Bob LeDrew: I spend WAY too much time on the Stephen King Message Board. Quite a lovely community there, and that garden of King fans is very well tended by Ms. Mod. Lilja's Library is one that needs to be regularly visited. I was pretty excited to see the folks behind Dark Score Stories put a little shoutout to his site in their site.

Your site, of course. And Bryant Burnette's Ramblings of a Honk Mahfah is a great site. His self-interview / review of Bag of Bones is HILARIOUS. He really disliked the miniseries, but he expresses his dislike VERY wittily.

Matt Jacobs is generating huge piles of stuff on his various SK Fancast sites and podcasts.

Beyond that, I have some Google alerts set up that I try to keep on top of to get the latest SK news. 

Talk Stephen King: Thank you for taking time to do this. I really enjoy your site, keep up the good work. Happy New Year!

Bob LeDrew: Thanks! Happy New Year.


  1. Great interview, David!

    I love Bob's podcast -- looking forward to seeing what he whips up for 2012.

  2. Thanks, Bryant. I am really enjoying meeting more people in the SK universe. I hope Bob interviews Lilja this year.