D.W. Whitlock - Deadly secrets, Revenge, and Computer Hacking
D.W. Whitlock, author of Crucible of Fear, has been a storyteller for most of his life. Starting with short stories scribbled in crayon, animation flip-books, stop-motion and later CG animation for television and video games. While pursuing a career in animation, writing has always been the first step, from short descriptions to detailed backstories. As a life-long reader and book lover, crafting thriller novels felt like the natural evolution of those first forays into writing. When not writing, D.W. enjoys gaming, spending time with his family and Triumph Motorcycles. D.W. lives in California with his wife, son and French bulldog. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about Crucible of Fear.
Please give us a short introduction to what Crucible of Fear is about
Crucible of Fear is the story of what if our modern world of interconnectivity was weaponized and turned against us and how frightening that would be.
Tell us more about Dante Ellis. What makes him tick?
Dante is one of those guys who feels like he has things figured out, despite some pretty rough setbacks. When his life is slowly turned upside down by Dark Messiah, he has to come to grips with how little control he actually has.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
I've always been fascinated by technology and our easy relationship with it and how bad things can get when it fails.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
A4: In many cultures, the dragonfly represents change and adaptability, seeing beyond one's shortcomings in order to grow. They are typically seen as beautiful or gentle creatures but in reality, they are ruthless predators from nymph to adult. Structurally, they also make sense for the basis of a drone. We're talking several hundred million years of evolution here. I felt the dragonfly was the perfect symbol of something that looks benign and represents personal growth, yet is actually the face of something quite sinister.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I make all my own trailers.
Readers say this was a thought-provoking read. Was this intentional?
Absolutely. I think the idea of our beloved cell phones and other devices being used against us is absolutely terrifying. Just ask anyone who's had their identity stolen!
This thriller is fast-paced. How did you manage to keep the story moving fast throughout?
Short chapters are a great way to make a story feel fast, along with short sentences, strong verbs and minimal adverbs. Another lesson I learned to apply was: If it doesn't reveal story or character, it doesn't go in!
Why cyber fiction? What drew you to the genre?
When I first started writing stories, I started with Science Fiction, but I found world building to be difficult and not much fun. I found that thrillers and their sub genres allowed me to write about all the stuff I love, (science, technology, history) without being hindered by the narrow confines of current science fiction genre types.
What was your greatest challenge when writing Crucible of Fear?
As my first novel length work, it was difficult to see if the story was working from a top down, structural level. Now that I have this experience behind me, my second novel is moving along much more quickly.
Did you plan the plot out before you started writing, or did a lot of it just "happen" along the way?
Yes. I plotted the entire story out using a version of the three act structure that made sense to me. I've always seen plotting as a guideline, though, not a blueprint. I let things change organically as the story grew.
Are any of the characters in the book based on real people?
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I don't focus on daily word count. I'm more concerned with whether or not what I wrote hits the emotional core of what I'm going for in a particular scene. If I feel the scene works, I move on. If not, I keep working that scene until I feel it "hits" at an emotional level.
What are you working on right now?
I'm currently writing my second novel, but it's not a sequel to Crucible of Fear: A Thriller. I did leave the ending open, but it was more about making the story feel larger, that the characters have a life beyond the pages than leaving it open for a sequel. Never say never though!