Please enjoy this interview with David Litwack, author of the gripping contemporary novel, Along the Watchtower, and the deep, dark dystopia, There Comes a Prophet. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.
1. Along the Watchtower is a powerful blend of
contemporary fiction and fantasy that demands the reader’s attention
from start to finish. What was your inspiration for writing this work,
and for combining World of Warcraft with a casualty of war and a dream
I’ve always been fascinated by how we perceive reality. Think of the film Rashomon,
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 and 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
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
These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.
2. Without giving away too much, can you introduce us to
the main character Lieutenant Freddie, and tell us how he’s similar and
different in both worlds he inhabits?
When Freddie comes out of his medically-induced coma in the VA
hospital, he’s nearly given up hope. Everything he had to live for was
gone, and he was racked with bad memories and guilt, in addition to his
Prince Frederick doesn’t have the luxury of giving up. If he yields
to despair, the kingdom that depends on him will fall into darkness.
Because of this, he’s more willing to struggle through his trials. It’s
through the prince in the fantasy world that Freddie is finally able to
confront and overcome his personal demons in the real world.
3. Your first novel, There Comes a Prophet, explores the
roots of the dystopian fiction category while also reinventing it for a
younger generation of readers. This genre boasts many great classics
including Slaughterhouse V, 1984, and Brave New World to name a few. What are your favorite classic books?
Dystopia literally means dysfunctional utopia, not necessarily an
evil, power-hungry regime The City and the Stars.
In this near perfect world, there’s no disease, hunger or poverty, and
people are effectively immortal. But all are afraid to venture outside
the walls of their city or even look beyond them. The thought of the
open expanse of stars in the night sky terrifies them. All of this had
been put in place to protect them from some past too horrible to
mention. Yet the unfulfilled aspirations of a single individual drive
him to discover the lost truth and let humanity move forward again.
Lois Lowry’s The Giver is another great example. In a simple
but beautiful writing style, she tells the story of a seemingly perfect
world where bad memories have been abolished, except for one person, the
keeper of memories. But the people are left unable to feel anything
much—good or bad.
4. People read books for many different reasons. Of all the
different reasons you’ve seen in reviews, can you relate one story that
really stood out for you about a reader’s experience?
One reviewer read Along the Watchtower and it brought back
memories of being a young college student, witnessing the twin towers
fall on 9/11. The book touched him deeply, because it reminded him that,
as a result of that tragic event, we’ve been at war his entire adult
life. The shock he felt on 9/11 all came back to him in reading the
struggles of the recovering Lt. Freddie Williams.
Interestingly enough, that same reviewer had a powerful reaction to the dystopian world of There Comes a Prophet.
In that book, a ruling power limits learning and growth. This reviewer
associated my story with the courageous young Malala Yousafzai, the
Pakastani girl who the Taliban tried to kill for advocating education
5. Along the Watchtower features a veteran’s healing
process on the physical, emotional, and intellectual levels. What role
do you think fantasy role-playing games and dreaming can play in a
When we’re confronted with trauma too terrible to comprehend, our
mind sometimes shuts the experience out to let us heal. But the memory
still lingers in our subconscious. Sometimes it’s easier to confront
those feelings through fantasy, like dreams or video games, rather than
facing them head on in the cruel light of reality. Then once confronted,
we’re better able to move on.
6. Symbolism and description play a huge role in the opening chapters of Along the Watchtower.
As the lines between reality and fantasy become more and more blurry,
did you find it difficult to remember which ‘character’ you were talking
Freddie and Prince Frederick were undergoing the same trials at an
emotional level, even though their circumstances differed. The hardest
part in writing the two was to maintain a distinct voice for each—for
Freddie the gritty language of the VA hospital and for Prince Frederick,
more of a high fantasy tone. This difference was important to make each
world believable. But since the book was written in a first person
point of view, it was also critical to quickly alert the reader whenever
there was a switch in worlds.
7. Ocean imagery features prominently in your book Along the Watchtower. What’s your favorite place to visit, and what scenery do you find most inspiring as an author?
I almost hate to mention this because it’s such a well-kept secret.
But my favorite spot is a place called The Knob in my home town of
Falmouth. It’s a raised spit of land rising up dramatically into the
harbor onto a domed rock, reachable only after a half-mile walk through
the woods. I’ve actually used it as a setting in my upcoming novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.
8. You run a very active blog and website, though the demands of
marketing yourself can be overwhelming for many authors. How do you find
balance in your life, and time to enjoy your surroundings in a highly
technical world? Coming from a software background, I’m sure you might
have unique insights on balancing the ‘real’ world with the technical
9. You’ve published two books, Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet. Is there anything you’d like to share with readers and your future writing plans?
I’m in late stage edits with an alternate world story called The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.
It’s about a world divided between the Blessed Lands, a place of the
spirit, and the Republic, whose people worship at the altar of reason. A
mysterious nine-year-old girl from the Blessed Lands sails into the
lives of a troubled couple in the Republic and seems to heal everyone
she meets. She reveals nothing about herself, other than to say she’s
the daughter of the sea and the sky. But she harbors a secret wound she
herself cannot heal.
I’m also currently planning what will be a sequel to There Comes a Prophet.
I’ve always wondered what happened to Orah and Nathaniel after their
world changing heroics and what became of the contemporaries of the
keepmasters who had crossed the ocean. Stay tuned.
10. What do you like to do to unwind? You know, in those rare moments when you’re not writing!
Since writing and social networking are indoor activities, I try to
get outside as often as possible. I go for long walks on the seashore,
play some golf, bicycle, and generally try to stay active. I’m fortunate
to be able to split my time between Cape Cod and Florida, both
beautiful places in their respective nice seasons.