Gold Eagle Author Spotlight--Douglas Wojtowicz
Author Douglas Wojtowicz has been a member of the Gold Eagle writing team since 2003. He works on four of our series--The Executioner, Stony Man, Mack Bolan and Outlanders. Recently Doug was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself for us. Enjoy!
1. Has the action/adventure/science fiction genre always been a passion for you?
I have written (and drawn) superhero, SF and action adventure stories since I was young. I'd always "Mary Sue" (or Marty Stu) myself into things like Star Trek, Starsky and Hutch or Doctor Who, until I got tired of working with someone else's ideas and made up my own characters. That doesn't mean I don't have a love, or even a yearning, to do the characters I grew up with. Indeed, if it weren't for my enjoyment of Mack Bolan, Able Team and Phoenix Force, I wouldn't have a professional career today. I'd started out writing little three page Phoenix Force stories on my old Commodore 64 when I was 15 or so, and even had drawn a few pages of an original Able Team comic around the same time.
2. What are your literary influences? What are your pop culture influences?
Literary influences? A little bit of everything, beginning with the work of Don Pendleton himself and Ian Flemming. I've also taken influences from older and newer alike – Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk novels Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, the freaky but true non-fiction studies of the odd and occult done by Colin Wilson, the arcane and weird writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and the beautiful storytelling of Fritz Lieber – especially his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series of stories. Throw in Burroughs' Tarzan and Robert E Howard's Conan and Solomon Kane. I'm also a sucker for Louis L'Amour, Jim Thompson, and Donald Westlake, especially his Parker novels, which I was turned on to after reading Stephen King's the Dark Half. Pop-culture wise, I'm all about Marvel and DC comics, and as said above, things like Star Trek, Doctor Who, the classic 70's cop shows. Sometimes the editors catch me throwing in characters – I had two Border Patrol officers named Schultz and Hogan renamed. I've snuck in the civilian names of Marvel's Avengers, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and foes of the Teen Titans as well as springboards for names or incidental characters. A lot of my humor and bigger SF ideas tend to come from British TV – I'm a nut now for BBC America.
3. What are you reading/watching/listening to now?
Sometimes, I don't think there are enough hours in the day to read everything I want. I've got a constant flux of books on my to-be-read pile, from Walter Mosely to Marvel's "Essentials" – reading the classic comics of the 60's and 70's. I'm also digging Nelson Demille, Matthew Reilly and David Baldacci. The minute I see a new Andrew Vachss novel on the shelf, I'm on top of it.
TV is all over the map for me as well. NCIS – the original – is a must for me, as is Criminal Minds. Burn Notice is another good show. As a brainy nerd, I absolutely love the Big Bang Theory. And throw in anything produced by Shawn Ryan – the Shield, the Unit, Lie to Me and Chicago Code are all addictions for me, though some episodes I get taken out of the story like one episode of Lie to Me which had an almost total Shield reunion, Benito Martinez, Catherine Dent, David Reese Snell and Cathy Cahlin Ryan all showed up in the same episode. Also, until they make another Firefly movie, or a new season placed before Serenity, I'm addicted to Castle.
Musically I'm as eclectic as my TV watching and book reading. My absolute favorite band of all time is Queen. You just cannot get a better soundtrack for big, sweeping epics than them. I trend toward female lead singers or good, crunchy metal bands. When I'm having a hard time getting kickstarted while writing, I throw on White Zombie's La Sexorcisto or Anthrax Live: The Island Years to get my blood racing. Right now, my favorite singer/performer is P!nk. She's a great singer, and she hasn't suffered any of the scandals that have affected the other "pop girls."
4. Where do you find inspiration for your books? How much do world events affect the stories you decide to tell?
My first novel was inspired by true events, combined with the writings of Andrew Vachss about the child sex trade in Thailand. I keep my eyes open for world events too. Somali pirates caught my attention even before more recent problems popped up. I've referred to the riots in France on multiple occasions, and I've also borrowed conspiracy theories from the web, such as the theory that al Quaeda and American white supremacists gave support for the Oklahoma bombing.
A lot of the time, I'm heavily inspired by my distaste for violent bigoted groups. Pick a band of supremacists, from the Jangaweed in Darfur to neo-Nazi groups in the US, and there's a great punching bag. I also draw influences from other tales. Season of Slaughter (Mack Bolan # 103; 07/2005) was inspired by the inscription on The Ring from Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy – "one ring to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them" which coincided with the hatred that was claimed to have united al Quaeda and American supremacists. Hatred is one of humanity's darkest emotions, so transposing hate and darkness for that classic line gave me more than enough of an excuse to bring two patricular brands of bigotry together.
I also love to keep up on modern technology. I've featured things such as "rods from God" kinetic bombardment from orbit, weaponized versions of ebola and mad cow, and even borrowed from old Egyptian curses and Japanese history. Also, as my readers might have noticed, I truly love throwing in ninjas, robots and zombies into my contemporary books.
Though, sometimes, I remember what brought me to Bolan and the others in the first place – catharsis against the evil that men do. Poachers, Mexican kidnappers, human slave trade, ethnic cleansing, they all rile me up, almost as much as the white supremacists.
5. Of the GE books you’ve written, which one would you like to see be made into a movie? Who would make up your dream cast?
It would be hard to choose – for the modern technothriller, I'd go with Stony Man # 97, Splintered Sky (10/2008). It'd have a lot of CGI for all of the orbital and space hijinks, but otherwise, there's only a few big set locations, China and NASA. Cast wise, Max Martini as Carl Lyons and Tim Roth as David McCarter are my big choices here. Shemar Brown would make a great Calvin James. And since the Greek organized crime group was heavily influenced by season two of the Wire, having Paul Ben Victor, one of my favorite character actors take the role that was inspired by his performance as "Spiros" would be icing on the cake.
For Outlanders, I would love to see Pantheon of Vengeance (08/ 2008) made into a movie. Giant robots versus mutants, and Hera's final transformation would be great. I think I'd love to see little person actress Merideth Eaton as Diana/Artem15, Sela Ward as Hera, but I don't think we could get Gerard Butler to be Z00s, even though I was totally in a 300 mood when I wrote that book.
6. Is there a way for your fans to contact you or keep up with your latest news?
I'm easily reachable at my fifteen year-old e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=797088547, but much easier to find looking for Douglas Wojtowicz – there are only five of us in America. I also hang out at the MackBolan.com message boards, www.wethearmed.com, and http://permutedpress.com/smf/index.php talking about guns, pop culture, video games, and zombies.
Be sure to look out for Doug Wojtowicz's latest book, ORBITAL VELOCITY, Stony Man # 112, on store shelves now!