But for a kid from a dirt-poor family this seemed impossible. I’m the oldest of thirteen children, my father was crippled in the Korean War (he was murdered when I was a teenager but that’s another story) and I always had to pitch in to help feed the family. I shined shoes in bars starting at the age of seven, worked as a migrant worker picking fruit and vegetables as a young teen, toiled on factory assembly lines, for a while I even drove a honey dipper (emptying overflowing septic tanks – the truck leaked sewage everywhere I drove it). Not able to afford college I joined the army, had an uneven experience (the stockade is as unpleasant as you’d think) and after my discharge I went to college while working the graveyard shift in a steel factory to support myself.After graduation I started a small nostalgia movie theater in Grand Rapids, MI because I love movies. They were a primary escape from my very tough childhood. From that experience, I moved on to become General Manager of a chain of theaters among which there were three drive-ins. We showed stellar films like “Cannibal Girls” and “I Eat Your Skin”, and as I traveled from theater to theater, I spent a lot of spare time in motel rooms at night. So under the delusion that I could write better movies than “Poor White Trash – Part Two” I began to write screenplays. And thus I discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream and I struggled for six years as an accountant for film companies to support myself (including with the King of the B’s, Roger Corman himself.) But at every chance, I wrote. Before work, at lunch, every evening and weekend. I tell every one who tells me that they want to be a writer to get a job you hate – you’ll write every second to get out of it.
Eventually I found some success though: A TV series for HBO, features, (Mr. Holland’s Opus, Courage Under Fire, Nick of Time), television, (an Elvis mini-series, adapting John Grisham’s “A Painted House”) and two novels. And now I’m excited to share a book project with you that combines a lot of my past: Drive-In movies, war, and vampires. I could be lying about the vampire part. You’ll never know.
It was inspired by the thought, “What if Dracula was brought back to life to fight the Nazis?”
My book builds upon elements of the original Bram Stoker novel. Professor Van Helsing has settled in Transylvania, married and now has an adult daughter. Hungary has annexed Transylvania and the Germans have taken over. Van Helsing and his fierce daughter Lucy have joined a guerrilla force fighting the depredations of Hitler’s Gestapo, but they are constantly outmatched by the Nazi brutality. After a particularly brutal incident, one of the freedom fighters asks, “How do you fight such monsters?”
Van Helsing replies, “I know a monster.”
With the help of a British O.S.S. agent, Jonathan Harker, grandson of the man who helped defeat Dracula in the original book, Van Helsing revives the legendary vampire from his tomb as a killing machine.
Once he was the ruler of Transylvania. So Prince Vlad Dracul, is, above all else, a patriot. He proves more than willing to once again drive out his country’s invaders. Upshot: No one minds if he drinks all the German blood he can desire.
In Berlin, when Hitler hears about the many defeats his forces are suffering at the hands of an apparent TRUE vampire, he’s seduced by the possibility of becoming immortal. Hitler orders the capture of Dracula and immediately travels to Transylvania himself to confront the legendary creature. Thus is unleashed an epic battle: Superpower against superpower.
The book is written from the point of view of several characters and in different styles, (Hitler himself is present in unsettling but introspective diary entries.) I researched for months to duplicate the many writing styles of the period, so I could be as authentic in tone as possible. There is romance, warfare, castles, and blood galore. I had a damn fun time writing this. As much as you will have fun reading it.
The book is fully written. Once it is funded we will do copy edits, a fresh cover design and release as soon as we are able. I truly hope you are intrigued by my story, and will support this book. I am not a tech person, I used a flip phone until a few years ago, but the idea that you can greenlight my work through this new portal is delightful. I can’t wait to get my book out into the world.