Alan Watt Bio – Cutting through the matrix talk show host Alan Watt is a master in uncovering the New World Order predictive programing agenda
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Alan Watt was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1965. At the age of three he moved with his family to North America, finally settling on a strawberry farm in Guelph, Ontario when he was ten. At eighteen he moved to Toronto to pursue a career as a standup comic. He has spent much of his adult life working as a comedian. He now writes full-time. DIAMOND DOGS is his first novel.
Alan Watt’s debut novel, DIAMOND DOGS, will stun you with its starkand brilliant characters and prose. It’s the story of what happensto your life after you make that one irrevocable mistake. And evenfurther, what happens when your father helps you cover it up. Findout what it took for this standup comedian to turn novelist andmore behind the title, the idea, and the desert of DIAMOND DOGSas TBR’s Editorial Manager Dana Schwartz interviews Watt.
TRC: DIAMOND DOGS is an incredible debut novel — what an achievement.It’s seamless and intense, a literary psychological thriller overa tragic coming-of-age story. I couldn’t put it down and now thatI’m done, I can’t stop thinking and talking about it. After writingsuch an amazing book, are you anxious about your next one? Do you have plans for another one?
I am working on the nextone. When my agent sold DIAMOND DOGS, she told me that a lot ofpeople wanted to know what I was writing next and suddenly I feltthis pressure. “Gee, what are people going to think of the nextone?” It lasted about a day. It’s liberating to know that no matterwhat one does, there will always be someone who detests it.
TRC: The book centers on a high school football star, Neil Garvin,who accidentally kills a fellow student while driving home drunk.When his father, the town sheriff, covers it up, there is no turningback. Neil spends the next few days in the novel coming unhinged,and all the while Neil Diamond — his father’s favorite singer— croons eerily in the background. How did you choose Neil Diamondto be such a significant part of the book? Did you have any othermusicians in mind?
No, I never had any othermusicians in mind. When I moved to L.A. I had one tape in my car.I don’t know if I bought it or somebody gave it to me, but it wasNeil Diamond’s Greatest Hits and it was all I listened to for ayear while driving around. I never listened to the radio; I’m notsure why. And his songs really burned a hole in my brain. Neil Diamondis a brilliant songwriter and I just knew that the father was obsessedwith him and found solace in the music, some kind of absolution.It just couldn’t have been another musician. His songs are veryemotional, very powerful, but there’s also something sort of manipulativeabout them, like he knows he’s pushing your buttons. I guess maybeit could have been Don Ho. I could have called the book Ho Dogs.That’s a joke.
TRC: Tell me the meaning you intended for the title of DIAMONDDOGS, and let me know if my theory is close or completely off base.I imagine that “Diamond Dogs” refers to the sad lonely men who followNeil Diamond around, like Neil’s father, who for those 90 minutesfind peace and serenity. They are the dogs, forever roaming thedesert and never coming up with anything substantial other thanthe brief moment of music. What was your inspiration?
Well, yes, that is right.But the title I ripped off from Bowie’s album from the early ’70s,which my UK editor told me he lifted from William Burroughs —that made me feel a whole lot better. It’s the only title that madeany sense. There was a time when we wondered about changing it,but nobody could come up with anything. It sort of had to be DiamondDogs. So yes, it’s about loneliness, isolation, these men at theconcerts, looking to make a connection — a connection with anything.Not even necessarily with another person, but just with some kindof meaning. The book is about searching to uncover your secretsthat are keeping you trapped, whatever they are, and holding themup to the light and letting go of the stranglehold they have onyou.
TRC: You mention in an essay you wrote about the book that forthirteen years after the end of a relationship you wrote like afiend, in bars, in restaurants, drunk, sober. Is this when you weremulling around the idea for DIAMOND DOGS in your head? Did thattime period lead to any other stories or ideas you plan to writeabout?
I didn’t begin writing asa result of a failed relationship, though that sounds very romanticand perhaps I’ll start telling people that that is what happened.I wrote hours and hours of standup comedy plus many unproduced screenplays,most of them unreadable — I am the antithesis of a prodigy. Inever wrote any prose, except once I wrote a short story for mysister for Christmas. And yes, that time period did lead to a lotof stories that I want to write eventually.
TRC: You’ve been a standup comic for years, so one might assumeyour first book would be humorous — but it’s not — the intensityof the novel rules out any space for humor. Why were you drawn tosuch a heavy subject matter?
I know I’m the only personwho feels this way, but I don’t agree that the book is not humorous.If you saw me do standup you’d see that the voice is just very dry.But who knows, maybe my standup wasn’t funny either.
TRC: If you think about it, standup comedy is inherently darknot only because you’re satirizing the human condition, but alsobecause it is such a cutthroat business. If you don’t make peoplelaugh you’re a failure. Do you think your background in comedy aidsin writing dark stories?
Comedians and emergencysurgeons have the darkest senses of humor. Comedians have heardevery joke there is and nothing is going to make them laugh unlessit’s totally original or totally sick. And sick is so much easierto conjure in a bar at two in the morning than original.
TRC: I really appreciate how you took what is so often a clichecharacter — good looking popular quarterback — and make himso heartbreakingly human. During the first few pages you want toknock him out, but midway through you just want to hold him. Howdid you create such a realistic character out of what could haveeasily been a stereotype?
I don’t know. I guess Inever thought of him as a stereotype.
TRC: From the first chapter, Neil explains how the absence ofhis mother, who left him when he was a baby, still affects his dailylife. He can’t concentrate in school because he is obsessed withfinding out WHY she left. When the doorbell rings he still hopesto see her standing there. Do you think people who’ve been abandonedby one parent, or both, can ever get over the feeling of loss andthe discovery of ‘why’?
Gee, I hope so, but I’mnot a psychologist, just a hopeful person.
TRC: Neil’s father inspires a frightening image in the reader’simagination. I see him as almost superhuman, as a very tan chisel-facedstony man, over six feet tall with large calloused hands that couldknock anyone out. But this is really only a facade for a lonelyman who finds solace only in Neil Diamond. How do you imagine Neil’sdad? If someone were to play him in a movie, who would it be?
I never imagined the fatherthat much in a physical sense. For me, like all characters, he mostlyexists as a state of mind. It’s funny what we put on things. Youdescribed Neil as “good-looking,” and I think they say that on thebook jacket as well, yet nowhere in the book does Neil describe himself beyond saying that he’s tall and skinny.
TRC: I got chills when Neil opened the trunk to find Ian’s bodygone and he realizes that his father must have gotten rid of thebody. The psychological unraveling of Neil and his father startshere, first with the death, and then with the cover up. Neil wouldhave been better off if his father unveiled his secret right thenand there — by covering it up he adds yet another secret to hissoul. Why do you think he covers up for his son, besides the obviousreasons of helping him?
Consciously, as far as heis concerned, that is the only reason he covers it up — to protectNeil. Subconsciously, well, I’m not even sure I can answer that.I suppose, subconsciously, getting rid of the body is Chester’sway of showing his son that he loves him.
TRC: The sand that comes in through the plastic sheet coveringone absent wall of the house is a significant image. You realizethings other than sand have been building up in that house for years— secrets. Neil’s father harbors secrets and drowns them everynight with a glass of green midori. Do you think once the secretsare let loose he’ll be able to move on with his life, put back thewall, stop drinking the midori?
Good question. I guess onewould hope. And like Neil says…all we have is hope.
TRC: High school football can be a dangerous obsession to theplayers, their parents, the faculty and the school — especiallyin small towns where there is not much else to occupy the time.Fathers like Neil’s live vicariously through their son’s successes— and failures. When Neil kills Ian, his father knows it willruin his son’s future and ultimately his. Why do you think Americanshave become so fixated on football? Why do we let football playersget away with what other teenagers cannot? Is football that important?
We reward achievement. Wealways have. I suppose people are fixated on it, like everythingin life, art and literature, because we want to see how it’s goingto turn out. I don’t know if it’s necessarily true that we let footballplayers get away with more than any other teenager. I think it’strue that oftentimes people aren’t honest about their motives, andif a star player gets in trouble and that trouble is going to jeopardizea win for the school; then it’s more likely he’ll be sheltered thanif he wasn’t a star. We just never have as much character as wewould like.
TRC: The action of DIAMOND DOGS takes place in just four days,but it feels like so much longer. Do you think everything that happenedcould have taken place in such a short period of time, or did youmake it shorter to heighten the intensity?
I don’t think what happenedin those four days is unrealistic. I worked with an FBI agent duringthe rewrite to ensure the accuracy of the events of the investigation.But it is fiction and not a police log, and so I really just wantedto focus on the vital elements necessary to tell the story.
TRC: The story in DIAMOND DOGS is so well crafted. Did you outlineit ahead of time, or just write?
I outlined it briefly. I’dhad it in my head for a while.
TRC: What books, authors have inspired your life and your writing?
Russell Banks for wisdom,Pynchon for language, and Hemingway for everything. Charles Bukowskihas my favorite line about writing. This lady moves in with himand says, “Will I disturb your writing if I vacuum?” He says, “Nothingcan disturb my writing, it’s a disease.” I thought that was funny.
TRC: What are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading nonfiction,research for the next one.
TRC: What advice would you give aspiring writers? Aspiring standupcomics?
Advice? I don’t have advice.Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer.Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor isout of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write likeyou’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on yourlast breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’rea bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, forGod’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves.Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, sowe can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like youhave a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’reone of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.
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