Friday, February 14, 2014

#Author David Litwack on His New #Book "Along the Watchtower" @DavidLitwack #Fantasy

Image of David Litwack 
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about? Can you tell us about your main character?
Along the Watchtower is about a tragic warrior lost in two worlds.
Lieutenant Freddie Williams war in Iraq ended when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.
In his dreams he’s Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory—and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.
How did you come up with the title?
It’s from the song written by Bob Dylan and made famous by Jimi Hendrix.
Here’s the final verse:
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl
I thought the lyrics represented the mood of the book, the sense a wounded veteran might feel returning to the states to find everything in his life has changed.
Tell us why did you wrote it?
I’ve always been fascinated by how we perceive reality. Think of the film Rashomon, the classic exploration of multiple realities, where several witnesses to a crime describe events completely differently, each bringing their own life experience and biases into play. But it’s when we’re ripped from our normal life and placed in extreme circumstances that our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war.
At the same time, I’d become engrossed in playing the online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, with my son, an avid player. With me on the east coast on him on the west, he suggested we meet weekly in the fantasy world of Azeroth—an invitation I could hardly resist. For several months, we had a Wednesday evening appointment, where our avatars would meet in this virtual world and go on quests together. I was struck by how totally immersed I could get in the game, how quickly time passed and the surreal mood of wandering around in castles and crypts, solving riddles and following quests.
The fantasy gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it. And I began to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by war, PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Long walks, bicycling, golf, dinner with a few close friends, time with my family, and travel.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Naps work well. One writer once said she liked to write in the morning after waking and after naps, so she could go from one dream world to another.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I try to write two sessions a day, two hours each—that’s about as long as I can concentrate without my writing degrading. Morning is best . . . or after a nap.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
I usually conceive of a new book as a series of scenes, daydreaming about them while I finish work on the prior novel. I maintain a file for the new novel and do a rough draft of these scenes—a  very rough draft, what some people call “riff writing” like improvisation in jazz. The file can get pretty chaotic. Every now and then I make a feeble attempt to organize it (when I’m finishing up a novel, I try to avoid distractions and stay focused on getting it out to the publisher). By the time I’m ready to start the new novel, I usually have about 20,000 words of loosely connected prose—20-25% of the eventual word count but probably 80% of the novel’s essence. I take a couple of months to read, edit and organize that file into a dense plot outline. Then I start a new file from scratch, cutting and pasting prose as appropriate.
It’s pretty messy in the early going, but I feel I need that amount of writing to get to know the characters and live in the story.
As far as a schedule, I like to set deadlines to complete a draft. I only make them about half the time, but they still help motivate me.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it - What keeps you going?
Motivating myself to write is easy when the ideas are flowing. Editing takes more persistence, an intense stubbornness to get the words right.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
We may or may not write stories about everyday people, but all successful novels write about a time in the protagonist’s life that is most intense—something in the real world we  experience only a few instants in a lifetime. I call these moments the “Rocky moments”, where at the end of the second movie after Rocky finally defeats Apollo Creed, he shouts out: “Next to the birth of my son, this is the greatest moment of my life.” People identify with a character because they want to go along for that ride. By reading a good book, we can experience that intensity far more often—the sense of living life to its fullest—than we ever could in the real world.

AlongtheWatchtower
WINNER: Readers' Favorite Book 2013 Bronze Award Winner, Drama Category -Fiction
A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds...
The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he's a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he's inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse--and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.
In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission--a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory--and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with David Litwack on Facebook & Twitter