Yeppoon businessman and spec fic author Dean Anderson has lived in the shadows of MacGyver/Stargate star Richard Dean Anderson for decades. Today, he shares the low down on his unusual connection to an American icon.
Cheryse: I got goosebumps when we were introduced. After all, if you share two-thirds of Richard Dean Anderson’s name, you have to be at least 6.6 on the cool scale. Turns out my goosebumps were right. Most writers are introverts who’d prefer to handcuff themselves to their desk but you’re a fireball of charm and energy when you step out at social events. What’s your secret?
Dean: I’m introverted when I need to get the words down, but I need the socialising to feed the extrovert chained up when I am buried in my writing. As you know, I can talk – a lot – when I’m in the right crowd. I tend to be comfortable when helping or organising and, if there is another extroverted person around, it draws me out further. At events like WriteFest (WF), I temper my enthusiasm to make sure others are not intimidated or overpowered. I was fairly shy and the odd one out at school (yes, really!) so now when I spot an “unsure someone”, I know how they feel. I can’t help but go over and say hi – because that’s what I would like to have happen to me.
“When (Stargate) first came out I was sceptical about Richard Dean Anderson playing a Sci Fi role
D: I never actually saw a MacGyver episode but was a serious follower of Stargate when RDA played Jack in the lead role. When it first came out I was sceptical about RDA playing a Sci Fi role, but I was quickly converted.
C: Are you a MacGyver or Colonel O’Neill-type personality? Are you sexier than RDA?
D: In some ways we all have a bit of MacGyver or O’Neil in us, except I personally would struggle to behave myself. As to being sexier than RDA… only if I had his hair.
“As to being sexier than Richard Dean Anderson… only if I had his hair
C: Do you cringe when you see MacGyver’s hair in its early eps? What’s your most embarrassing fashion faux pas over the decades?
D: If I had hair, style would be important but my scalp hasn’t chatted with a comb in many years. Until recently, I wouldn’t even wear clothes unless they had my name or company logo emblazoned on them. One day I walked into the local men’s store and bam! I have shirts and a decent, cleanskin suit. I confess, I still have some corduroy jeans and a mission brown jacket somewhere…
C: RDA has dated some stunning actresses, including Teri Hatcher and Lara Flynn Boyle. If you were single and lived in New York or LA, who would you have designs on?
D: Ah, I’m a Kylie fan from way back, don’t ask me why but she has always done something…. Don’t get me started on Nicole Kidman – or Karen Gillan off the latest Dr Who series.
C: What’s your favourite movie or tv show?
D: I have a lot of favourites. Television greats include Buffy the Vampire Slayer from way back, Doctor Who (all versions) and, lately, Deadwood and Being Human. In the film arena, X-Men plays on my childhood obsession with comics. The Lord Of the Rings and Avatar are addictive, Fight Club is a brilliant Edward Norton movie, followed by the original Swedish version of Let the Right One In and then the Stieg Larsson series of The Girl Who…
C: What’s your fav genre and which authors inspire you?
D: My first real book was The Hobbit which introduced me to fantasy when I was a child, followed by Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E Feist, Stephen Donaldson, Janny Wurts and Sara Douglass. Lately, I have taken a morbid interest in anything paranormal. Sometimes I am not sure it is because they have that ‘right’ story or because the writing is so easy to read, not necessarily good writing.
“… my darker imagination was unleashed…
C: How long have you been a writer?
D: I’ve always been a writer/storyteller but it’s only in the past three years I have put words to paper with the passion to publish. Living on the Central Queensland coast, with a love of fishing, means I get to see a lot of scenery that many don’t. Couple that with a vivid imagination, some great nights around a beach campfire and from here my darker imagination was unleashed.
C: Tell me about your work-in-progress.
D: It’s a Dark Urban Fantasy series – but not a vampire in sight! Mason Douglas learns about the existence of a race called Unnaturals after one clan (the Bloodells) murders his parents and tries to kill his wife and child. Their motives are unknown to Mason but the Bloodells’ attack triggers in him a violent change and the clan quickly discovers they have become the hunted.
“… centuries of secrets lurking in every corner
When Mason’s family and the Darkells (another Unnaturals clan) are thrust together, both families have to coexist to survive – not easy given centuries of secrets lurking in every corner, and Mason’s vicious homicidal tendencies towards Unnaturals. The story has a fast pace, with lots of family conflict, and escalates into a bloody, cross-world showdown where the Bloodells’ creator tries to take up residence on Earth!
C: Is it an Australian setting?
D: Naturally! The first MS (manuscript) stretches from the islands off CQ down to Bondi Beach.
C: Do you write under your own name? Will readers never be able to Google you because the first 3.3 million links will focus on RDA?
D: Yes, I write under Dean J. Anderson and have yet to solve the online search problem for anyone having a similar name to a well-known actor. Most likely, the book title will be marketed first.
“…like a jet-powered bellows feeding oxygen into a smouldering fire
C: Why did you choose to sponsor Bundaberg WriteFest (WF), Australia’s leading regional writing event?
D: I didn’t – WriteFest chose me. I found out about WF through the Bundaberg Writers Club (BWC) website, contacted coordinator Sandy Curtis and – holy crap batman – I went to my first WF in 2009. This was like a jet-powered bellows feeding oxygen into a smouldering fire – just ask Sandy and BWC’s Di Esmond. Every WF after that has only fed my passion, forcing me to write six out of seven nights a week. When the BWC asked for WF volunteers last year, I dived right in, soaking up every bit of the weekend that I could – without being considered a stalker. Then, with the floods and general disaster fest we had in late 2010 and early 2011, corporate sponsorship became a major hurdle. Who can blame anyone in business in CQ for hanging onto every cent they had? I put together a plan on how to help fund the event through salary sacrificing on top of some funds I scraped up through my company, Sunbrix Australia. Failure was not an option and on May 21st the seventh annual WriteFest was another brilliant success.
WF cultivates a friendly and vibrant atmosphere. Even this year’s presenters could not believe the passion from the people who attended their classes. The Friday night Meet and Greet Dinner helps break the ice while the Saturday night debrief with club members and presenters only helps the club prepare an even more spectacular event the following year. It is immensely rewarding to talk to so many people of all ages and backgrounds about what they gain from WF – inspiration, friendships, knowledge and empowerment.
C: What’s the story behind your email addy?
D: I came up with firstname.lastname@example.org because I wanted something I could remember, without random numbers stuck on the end. Now to get the matching number plate…
“Running naked along the beach in a full moon
C: What is the wildest or wackiest thing you’ve ever done?
D: This interview. No, wait! There was that time… Nope can’t say that. There was that street race… probably best not to talk about that, either. Running naked along the beach in a full moon howling with a group of naked people I didn’t know? Not really wild since it was a common event on Great Keppel Island in its heyday… and it was summer and the mango season… it’s a CQ thing.
C: If you were marooned on a desert island, who or what would you want by your side?
D: A decent knife, a hat, an axe and Bear Grylls.
For more information about Bundaberg WriteFest, visit Bundaberg Writers Club.