Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dead Guy - Author Interview - Doug Hewitt

The Real Hollywood Book Chat welcomes author Doug Hewitt author of The Dead Guy for an Hollywood interview. Find out what happens how he sells his book to the shipwrecked crew on Gilligan's Island and what character name he picks to be one of the puzzles on the television show The Wheel of Fortune.

Jack Thigpen works in Detroit, nicknamed The Motor City, the perfect place for a fraud investigator who specializes in car insurance scams. He is on a case he believes is a typical, low-level crime, but it quickly turns into a situation with ominous international consequences. Ironically, as he is targeted for death because of his investigation, Jack is diagnosed with a fatal disease that is untreatable, a disease that will end his life within months. And instead of killing Jack, the hit man shoots Jack's best friend. Struggling to come to terms with his impending death, Jack vows to track down his friend's killer.

Jack plunges into the world of corrupt car dealerships, chop shops, and fraudulent auto repair shops. He is soon swept into the darkness of Detroit's criminal underbelly to uncover the truth about power struggles within organized crime rings. Death is staring him in the face, but Jack doesn't back down. He pushes ahead, plowing through perilous roadblocks planted by his enemies, propelling himself toward the finish line and a teeth-gritting, heart-pounding conclusion.

ABOUT THE AUTHORDoug Hewitt was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan and now lives in North Carolina. Along the way, he did a four-year stint in the Marine Corps and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He has been writing short stories for over 20 years and has been getting them published for most of that time, with over 80 stories in print. His stories have appeared in anthologies such as The Dead Inn and 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories. He has appeared in the premier issue of Apex Digest and has seen his chapbook, Slipstream, published by Scrybe Press.
He turned his attention to longer works and had his first novel SPEAR published in 2002. The Midwest Book Review calls SPEAR “a thrilling and deftly crafted novel.” After being remarried in 2004, he and his wife, Robin, founded In addition to authoring a non-fiction parenting book, The Practical Guide To Weekend Parenting, Doug and Robin teamed up to write The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting.
Doug returned to his original passion, writing fiction, and wrote The Dead Guy, which St. Martins author Lynn Chandler-Willis calls a “high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal ride through the criminal underbelly of the automotive world.” You can visit Doug Hewitt and read a free PDF chapter of The Dead Guy at


1. Gilligan’s Island Trivia – Taking a three hour boat tour, you find yourself shipwrecked on this tiny little remote island where 7 people were also shipwrecked. How would you convince this varied audience to read your book? Remember on this island besides The Skipper, his little buddy Gilligan and MaryAnn, is the smart Professor, the rich Mr.& Mrs. Howell who have the money to make your book into a movie and Ginger the movie star who might have a starring role. Please talk to the audience not to me.
Hello Shipwrecked crew!

You have some unusual problems here, shipwrecked on a deserted island. I have my novel with me, and it’s called The Dead Guy. Let me say right away, my main character is also confronted with some unusual problems, and he goes through the thought process on how to solve them. Let’s face it he’s diagnosed in Chapter 1 with a fatal, untreatable disease. How can he go on? How can a shipwrecked crew go on? So, as you can see, you might have a lot in common with The Dead Guy.

Skipper and Gilligan, did you know I have a boat ride in The Dead Guy? Actually, it’s a chase scene on boats. Cool, huh? It’s not a three-hour tour, but how can you resist? My amateur detective, an insurance fraud investigator named Jack Thigpen, confronts the bad guy, who promptly abducts a pre-teen girl and takes off across Lake St. Clair. You might even see some nautical terms in there.

Mr. and Mrs. Howell, a lot of the action takes place in Grosse Pointe, a suburb of Detroit (the Motor City). Lots of country club action here. Do you think the bad guy is a member of the country club? You’ll have to read The Dead Guy to find out.

MaryAnn, Professor, and Ginger, you’re going to have to read The Dead Guy to find out if there’s a role for you when the book gets optioned for the silver screen. I have in mind some parts for you, but I need your input.

2. Wheel of Fortune – you have been asked by the Wheel of Fortune writers to create a word puzzle spelling one of the books characters his/her name. Which character name would you want on the Wheel of Fortune puzzle board and why?
Dear Wheel of Fortune personnel,
I believe my tennis playing sidekick, Octavia Popodakis, would be a great word puzzle. Let’s face it, if someone guesses “o”, they’re halfway home! Plus, it’s my favorite name of all of my fictional name creations. It has such a ring to it! Say it three times really fast, and you’ll see what I mean.

3. Gone With the Wind – If Rhett Butler were to change his famous line from “Frankly, My Dear I don’t give a damn” to Frankly, My Dear I think you should read this paragraph from this bestselling novelist. What paragraph is Rhett referring to? Tell us how it fits into the novel?

Rhett is referring to a paragraph at the end of The Dead Guy, in which my main character Jack Thigpen believes he is succumbing to the fatal disease he is diagnosed with in the first chapter. It’s not often an author can imbue a character with an insight into death, but this is one of those instances! And let’s face it, Gilligan Island residents need to think about what they need to wrap up before they die. We all do. It’s a mental thing, right? Or is it? If you read The Dead Guy, you might gain some real insights.

4. Hollywood Book Walk of Fame – A bookstore in Hollywood, California had decided that books should have their own walk of fame. So they have lined the sidewalk in front of their store with book molds in the sidewalk. Your name is to appear on one of these book molds. You give an acceptance speech at the ceremony. What would you say and who would you thank?

This is a tribute to The Dead Guy and my main character, Jack Thigpen. Yes, I created him. But once I did, he dictated to me what he was going to do. Jack Thigpen is one of the most alive characters I’ve ever created, and I owe this book mold to him. If you want to read a good mystery novel, read The Dead Guy.

Not only do I want to thank Jack, I want to thank my wife, Robin Hewitt, who has supported me and my writing through some rough times. We always tried to maintain a positive outlook, and I owe this to her. Thank you, Robin.

Thank you, Doug Hewitt, for stopping by The Real Hollywood blog today. I wish you continued success on your virtual book tour and who knows your book might just make it to the silver screen.

Thank you for having me! I’ve had a few reviewers comment on what a great movie this would make. Fast paced. Great dialog. Excellent pacing. I hope to see The Dead Guy at a neighborhood movie screen soon!

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