Interview

High Castle
High Castle
Meckler Castle section drawing from novel
Meckler Castle plan drawing from novel
Q: How did you create the idea of the Phoenix Project?
 
A: It was really a combination of years of adventure, books, and movies that I watched over and over again, and conversations I had over a beer with my other creative friends.  The main driver was the insatiable appetite to create a story that I wanted. 
 
Q: How were you able to tie up everything at the end?
 
A: Research is key. You have to have all the information correct. You have to set up a time line that you have to study over and over again to make sure there are no loop holes. It is very time consuming, but I found out that by putting it all down side by side on a large marker board helped me visualize the story from a different perspective. That and a few friends to call you out when they see something is amiss!
 
Q: Have you thought about the next book, and will it be a sequel?
 
A: Yes! I have been writing it for a few months now. It took some time to get the idea straight in my head, but after many many hours, I think I have cracked it... “think” is the operative word here. Since I have started the book it has been changed around. The plot is the same, its the ‘how I get there’ that keeps me up at night!
I will give you a bit of info... just a tease... It starts off 1870’s London where  we are introduced to Jake DuMonde, Max's great great grandfather. After his arrival there is a murder in which he is asked to help in the investigation. From there we move forward to 1944 Rome Italy where Nazi’s have broken into the Vatican underground. All these story lines not only set up the plot of the story but they give you a look back at the origin story of the DuMonde name...
 
Q: So what can we expect in the second book?
 
A: From what I have so far it will be totally different than Phoenix Project. Think more Raiders of the Lost Ark. I have always had a itch to be an Archeologist... discovering new cities with treasures beyond dreams. The sequel will have its “hold on tight” adventures.
 
Q: Can you give us a hint?
 
A: Sure... the plot in the second book revolves around an object in the first! And once I reveal the title you will know exactly what I am talking about!
 
Q: You love planes and cars. Which are your favorite?
 
A: For planes it’s the Storch and the Autogiro. I am also fascinated by the U2 and Zeppelins. Right now if I could have any aircraft it would have to be the Autogiro.  Cars are a different monster. I love so many I have to break it down by decades, and there are more than one per decade. Here are a few... 1917 Ford model T. 1928 Chrysler 75 (Le Mans racer). 1932 ford V8. 1940’s Tucker Torpedo. 1950 Mercury (I had one of these). 1964 Ford Galaxi. 1978 Porsche 928 #366 off the assembly line (should have never sold it). 1981 DeLorean and so on. Oh and anything Land Rover built! I could write a book on all the cars I like! Now that could be an interesting project.
 
Q: Since you love mechanical things... Do you have hobbies?
 
A: Oh yes, I designed my own watches and dabble in inventions. I have a few ideas from a submersible to a soap holder... I have prototypes of some of the smaller ideas and hope to bring them to the market in the near future. 
 
This summer I had the opportunity to row Volga (Venetian style rowing... standing up) through one of the most beautiful cities in the world... Venice. So after that experience I decided to build a Sandolo (Venetian family/work boat) think of it as the light duty pickup truck of venice (before the combustion engine was invented) I just started, and I have the ribs cut. Next step is to build them to form the "skeleton" of the craft.
 
Q: You mention that you graduated with an Architecture degree. What happened with that?
 
A: I still work on new design ideas for homes and do consulting on the side. I love working from gird form and making spaces that work with each other, and enjoy getting my hands dirty. I started out in construction then went on into Architecture, but have not built anything lately. I have some good ideas... taking the midcentury modern home design ideas and integrading them into the 21st century living, I mostly study the "case study homes" and the Sarasota school of architecture, and currently looking at properties to build my next project.
 
Q: You mention movies, which are your favorite?
 
A: As mentioned in my bio, Raiders takes the top spot. I was on vacation in the U.S. when my mother took my cousin and I to go see a movie. I had no clue what I was walking into but my life changed when I left the theater that day. 
The movie was Raiders of the Lost Ark.
 
Q: How about your favorite books?
 
A: There are the classics which we all know and love but then there are those few books that just grabbed me and did not let go. The Delta by Marshall Harrison is my favorite. Along with that book we have The List of Seven (Sherlock Holmes homage) Harry Potter, every single book Mathew Reilly has written and Stephen Coonts. His flying scenes are fantastic! Again there are many others to list but these are at the top of my list.
 
Q: How about collecting?
 
A: Don’t get me started! Star Wars toys, Samurai swords, plane yokes, books, cars, etc. etc.
 
Q: Do you play any kind of organized sport?
 
A: I am not a gifted man when it comes to golf... but I love the challenge of the game. It is all on you! I used to play football (Soccer here in the U.S.) and Baseball. I also like the unknown sports like fencing, archery, shooting, kayaking, kite surfing, deep sea fishing etc. I studied Aikido with Gaku Homma the last student of O’Sensei (Creator of Aikido). He lives in Colorado. Now that I have kids, I will be looking into Aikido and Fencing plus all the regular sports for them!
 
Q: What about music?
 
A: I played the Saxophone for three years then realized it was way to loud an instrument to get the girls. I do write songs though, which I practice with my musically inclined friends.
 
Q: Any pets?
 
A: Two Portuguese water dogs. There is Cousteau, named after one of my childhood heroes, Jacques Cousteau, and Indy... Yep named after Indiana Jones!
 
Q: If you wanted any gadget in the world fictional or non what would it be?
 
A: Apart from the Millennium Falcon? A Lightsaber.
 
Q: Who would you like to meet?
 
A: Lets put it this way...I would like to have a beer and a round of golf (that is four people) with Matthew Reilly, the Dalai Lama, and Adam Carolla (Yes, I know, Adam does not play golf).  That would be a fun 18 holes!
Same concept but this time in a plane... Buzz Aldren, Richard Branson and Harrison Ford... We could go on all day!
 
Q: What are a few things you would like to do that you have yet do to?
 
A: Space!  I want to go into space! Also live under the ocean for a week... this way I can become an Astronaut and a Aquanaut, and put that on my business card!