Note: These questions were penned by my friends and publicists Cynthia, Adrienne, and Jenny. I did not just make them up for a bit of fun and sport. ––JWW
Question: Why did you write this book, and why is it important now?
Answer: Follow your passion.
I wrote Little Anton because I was fascinated by the exciting and romantic history of European Grand Prix auto racing during the prelude to World War II. Unless you’re a car and racing geek no one knows about it, especially Hitler’s involvement with the Mercedes Silver Arrows and the Auto Union Silverfish, cars truly ahead of their time thanks to the genius Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and others. Or the tale behind the creation of the VW Beetle. But the story became much more than all that. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I wrote it not only because the subject matter interested me, but because the greater story beyond the racing is important for everyone to understand or at least try to…in my humble opinion. The greater story continues at speed in high gear as I write the sequel, Lion, Tiger, Bear.
As a former pro racing driver and consummate nutjob gear head myself, I have a bit of a penchant for mechanical detail and raw excitement. As a Porsche enthusiast, I’ve crafted this book almost like my old Porsche GT3R racecar with close attention to the details, but I didn’t let them overshadow a good adventure yarn, and by the way, at its very core it’s a love story between two young blithering idiots that stumble through life and war one misstep at a time. Some will call my book “revisionist history” or even military science-fiction, but I vehemently disagree, and I’m not alone, avant-garde historian-wise.
Society en masse is waking up to our true history and its thick bodyguard of lies, deception, and disinformation that once concealed it. There are direct parallels in the book to current political, corporate, and military technological developments in the U.S., China, Russia, UK, Australia, and Europe, if you were wondering, and I just know you were.
Q: When did you become interested in alternative, or revisionist, history? How did you first discover the Ley Lines, Templars, the Cup of Knowledge, the recipe for the Aryan Superman, the Vril Society, etc.?
A: From my earliest beginnings, I’ve always been a misfit whack-a-doodle cynical skeptic like my main character Bea, bless her boots. Mainstream knowledge always bored me to tears.
I’ve been questioning history text books since I was in fourth grade at a medieval-style authoritarian Episcopal Church school, not just because the books were deadly boring and full of endless dates, kings, reforms, treaties, Papal armies, dead queens, and religious wars mostly, but because no person and no nation had ever learned any real lessons. Why in bloody hell did history always repeat itself? Are we all really that stupid? Why did Columbus have Knights Templar crosses on his sails? Who genuinely backed him in the shadows and for what reasons? What in hell is the Venetian Black Nobility? Sir Francis Bacon’s Knights of the Helmet?
I just didn’t buy a lot of it because my teachers never had any solid answers for me, the hamstrung troublemaker and D-grade dissident that refused to pray in mandatory, mind-numbing daily chapel (Nor did my fun Jewish friends). Legends, tall tales, and myths are important, they didn’t just spring out of nothing. Where did they come from? Why weren’t they important too? Why weren’t we taught about the high civilization of the Native American Mound Builders? The huge African civilizations of Zimbabwe and the Sudan? Why was religious and genocidal Aryan European history presented as the most important? The most trustworthy? I smelled a status quo rat.
My mother encouraged my curiosity and interest in––cough––“alternative history,” and gently persuaded me to read out-of-the-box books and novels like Herbert’s Dune series and Jules Verne’s writings. So, in addition to traditional science-fiction, I studied all of ancient history, the Egyptians, ancient Rome, the Minoans, Atlantis lore, Tibet culture, Native Americans, and Nazi Germany intensely. Strange correlations began to appear. Uh-oh…
Thusly enlightened, or so I thought, I’d ask uncomfortable questions in class that got me sent daily to the principal’s office for being “disruptive, contrarian, and way too curious,” they said. Finally, I realized by college that we are mostly taught what to think, not how to think, and I mean on everything. I majored in Russian history at UVA and I’ve been researching revisionist history for over 30 years––and guess what? All history is revisionist, “a pack of lies agreed upon, and it’s written by the winners,” said Napoleon. And that includes the Vatican Inc., whose Jesuit history defilers carved most of our inconvenient ancient history into ribbons centuries ago, Scaligerian fans.
Recently I’ve gone deep on philosophy, metaphysics, the Vril and Thule Societies, Himmler, the SS, and the entire occult world; it’s wasn’t pretty back in the 1940s, and today it’s become even worse. Much worse. It’s taken me my entire 57 years to come to terms with it all as a Johnny-come-lately neophyte initiate of the mystery schools, philosophy, and the Hermetica. Conservative and conformist historians cannot, will not come to terms with it, and thus deem most of the “newfangled stuff” as nonsense born of sheer fantasy and Hollywood. I assure you it’s not. If you want fantasy, read all our religious texts, folks. From all religions.
Trust me, the heretic, the so-called “alternative stuff” makes vastly more sense if you look at the very big picture from a distance, the uncomfortable dots connect handsomely and synchronistically, but that takes immense time and effort and critical deep thinking in our fast-paced smartphone, virtual reality, social media, super-busy, texting, 24/7 working world. Be so advised. A civilization ignorant of its genuine, unvarnished history cannot claim to be civilized at all.
Q: How did your father influence your interest in military history?
A: Hoo-boy. Are you kidding?
My father used to pick me up from lower school and bring me to the Pentagon to do my homework while he worked late into the night. He was Secretary of the Navy at the time, (and later Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Select Intel committee too), so he would sit me down in his big office at his desk with a Hershey Bar and head off to his meetings, or he had them there; I remember when POWs were captured after they were shot down in north Viet Nam, the admirals stressing their concern for tough negotiations. Hell, I remember crying about it, and Dad had an ominous and poignant painting in his office of a blindfolded American POW being towed off to a prison camp in Hanoi. He once said to me: “I want you to remember this damn war and its cruel sadness, so you and your generation will not have to fight another!”
The war back then was very real to me, my parents viciously yelled at each other over the nightly CBS Evening News, and divorced later on mostly because of the LBJ/Nixon/Military Industrial Complex mess. Viet Nam stung everyone in America, hard. Still does. I write about war because I hate it, nightmare of it, but the people forced to fight them, and the refugees and homeless who survive them, should forevermore be heralded.
Bored sometimes in that vaunted Pentagon, I became curious, I looked around, snooped around, absorbed everything I could by osmosis––every ship, tank, plane, uniform, or submarine. The fleeting glory and the everlasting horror. One time a friend and I (He’s now a Federal Judge) snuck into the computer and big-screen War Room, which was very active at the time. A four-star general worthy of Dr. Strangelove burst in and said, “What the fuck are these damn kids doing in here? There’s a war on!” We thusly bolted. Except for the Viet Nam conflict and tons of much-needed protests (My Mom protested outside the Pentagon), the 1970’s was a great decade to be a wide-eyed kid, but it still brings tears to me.
Q: Your central character Lady Beatrice Sunderland is bold, brash, helter-skelter, a royal muck-up, and, uh, sometimes brilliant. She dominates the story in fascinating ways, both personally and professionally. The way you write her dialog is very perceptive. Who are the women that influenced your deep understanding of feminism and its ancient beginnings?
A: Ah-ha! My lovely wife Teba is a great help to me. A fount of Spanish wisdom and unconditional love born in Barcelona. There’s a little of her in Bea, too.
In addition to growing up with frisky older sisters and their mischievous friends, my mystic grandmother Mary Mellon was very well-read concerning philosophers Rudolph Steiner, her close friend Carl Jung, Annie Besant, and George Gurdjieff. She died in 1947 sadly, but today I have a fairly clear picture of what her passions were. She and Grandad created The Bollingen Foundation to embrace all those folks and their philosophy, but it’s gone today.
A chip off the old metaphysical block, my mother Catherine Mellon Conover became a brilliant artist and independent thinker like her mother and encouraged me to read between the lines of history and official reality just as Mary did. Mom taught me to read and write at age two because, she said, I asked her to! That I don’t remember, but it does sound like me. She nudged me hard to read other sources besides what was taught in bland-as-sand and conformist, hive-minded schools, and by the by, I was a terrible student and proud of it, most “seekers” are.
My stepmother Elizabeth Taylor? She was in that same vein, oh yes, a real pistol like Bea, irreverent and tough. She questioned everything, and brow-beat my Dad for all his fuddy-duddy, in-the-box, 1950’s Leave it to Beaver logic.
Therefore, I consider myself well taught by enlightened women embodying the metaphysical Divine Feminine, the very creational force of the cosmos. In deeply ancient times until the Middle Ages, most druids and holistic healers were women who exquisitely understood Hermetic wisdom, medicinal herbs, geomancy, and the healing powers of nature, but frightened patriarchal society, the church, and the ruling class burned them in inquisitions and witch hunts, then took away their equality because they saw women as too powerful, peaceful, and creational a force. But hey, we’re not taught that in schools, so it can’t be true, right?
Truly fierce, independent, smart, lovely, and all feminists, were the women in my life.
Q: What childhood or teenage events influenced your interest in car racing?
A: I firmly believe that people like myself are born with passion, gasoline, and oil in our veins, it’s genetic and perhaps spiritual in nature. They say there’s good drag racing on the astral plane…
No one else in my family took an interest in automobiles or dangerous sports competition as far as I know, maybe they’re just smarter than me.
As a wimpy kid, I was fascinated with all things mechanical, and more often than not took apart model trains and toys and appliances to see what was making them work. Hot Wheels, model cars, electric Lego this and that, rocket-engined skate boards with GI Joes strapped on, bicycles, souped-up minibikes, Honda dirt bikes of greater and greater displacement––it just felt natural to want to go fast, to jump, to conquer the fear of crashing and the challenge of sheer, unadulterated high velocity. I became a private pilot too, not wanting that knowledge and experience to pass me by either. It’s a Zen kind of meditation in a way: The faster you go, the slower the world becomes. Nothing in the cosmos stands still, everything moves. I just wanted to move a bit faster. Still do.
Q: What memories of car racing stand out the most to you?
A: Just like my Dad, I love people, all kinds, all flavors.
I thoroughly appreciated all the racing folks involved in the sport––the wild ’n’ weird personalities, the ingenious crew chiefs, stern team leaders with a heart of gold or lead, the varied racetrack personnel that were always professional and kind, the brilliant mechanics that made the impossible work, the fiery whack-jobs, the fun wives and sweet sweethearts, the funny drivers, the humor, the pranks, all of it slathered with hot dogs, a cold beer or Coca-Cola, deep-fried anything…and all of it melted together in perfection under a scalding hot Texas sun. I met Paul Newman and dated his youngest daughter, the entire family an absolute joy to me. He would flip me the bird as he passed in a faster car while on the Daytona high banking. “Up yours, kid!” he would say, but I was 38 at the time. I miss all those people, every day, every hour.
Oh sure, I was petrified and shit my suit when I spun and crashed at 150 mph, everyone was scared shitless when they did so, hugely pissed off too when one pitches their helmet to a wall in frustration before being forcibly strapped to the med board and choppered off to a hospital, but “that’s racing,” as they say. “Suck it up, bitch.”
It was the testing of one’s self, the scrubbing up of raw courage and (Hopefully) keen intellect to do an almost impossible job in a boiling sauna while processing everything at a million bits a second at 195 mph inches away from a competitor and a concrete wall and getting it right, or…at least not too wrong. I really raced against myself above all, it’s alchemical, the blacksmith’s hammer beating out the imperfect, raw elements from a hot piece of iron ore over and over until it’s transformed into something strong and flexible. Sometimes it was just enough to survive the race intact and alive. I knew a few drivers who died doing what we loved, damn good ones like Dale Earnhardt. After our 2001 Daytona 24-hour sportscar endurance race, he died as a true legend two weeks later at the fateful NASCAR Daytona-500 when his harnesses broke. It put the fear of God in all of us lesser drivers, whether religious or not.
Almost like the ultimate first-tier challenge of war and combat, second-tier blood sports change you fundamentally, they reflect back in utter truth what a person is really made of mentally, spiritually, and physically. An example? The best driver I ever saw was a woman paraplegic who raced with us in California at Infineon Raceway; she was damn good, better than me all right, drove with hand controls only, and pulled herself out of a flaming wreck with just her arms, the quick-on-the-scene corner workers in awe of her. Hell, everyone was. Now that was bravery.
Q: As a motor racing enthusiast, do you relate to Bernd’s comment, “The star that burns twice as bright lasts half as long?” (p. 332)
A: Hell yes. That’s a quote from Plato. All car racers, mountain climbers, people who are involved in extremely risky sports, jobs, combat, or challenging endeavors, are living life at 100% as opposed to fifty or much less, and that’s a fact. As ace driver Steve McQueen once said, “Racing is life. Everything else is just fuckin’ waiting around.” He had been a tough Marine as a younger man, by the way.
Q: We’re going to regret asking this, but how did you get started as a writer?
A: I hated writing compositions in high school. Until this novel, I hadn’t written anything since 1981 when I graduated, nothing creative or intellectual or poetic anyway. Writing was boring, it was for literary dweebs. Bookworm dillweeds too. Intellectual schmucks.
Oops. Then life takes a sudden hairpin turn on the hellish racetrack they call The Dark Night of the Soul…and nothing is the same. Trauma is a catalyst, pain a learning tool. Change is constant in the cosmos, and sometimes the change is within us. The cosmos kicked my ass in gear, but I’ll spare you the grim details.
When I was recovering from a racing accident and two spine surgeries in 2007, my good St. Albans friend and Shakespeare literature teacher Brian O’Connor slithered from the shadows and said to me in disgust: “Filthy lazy misanthrope! Your dubious racing career is over, hotshot. You have all this time on your hands, stop watching so much Star Trek, buy a laptop, learn to type on your own, quit bellyaching about the pain, and start writing something with the only erudite thing you possess, your fertile but infantile imagination.”
So I gave it a go, wrote some rubbish short stories for my own amusement and trashed them, rinsed and repeated, had a spot of divorce, lost my beloved dogs in said divorce, had fun from grave illnesses, and by 2018 and 1,000 pages into Little Anton, still in chronic pain (Whine-bitch-moan, etc.), I knew I had something, a very long epic something, something inexplicable. Barely digestible. Dangerous.
Nowadays the characters argue in my head and tell me what to write sometimes: “Expand my bloody dialog in this chapter, you filthy dog of an insomniac hack!” yells Bea at 3 a.m. precisely. “Honestly now…”
Q: Uhm, okay…I guess. Now, you once said that you approached your research from a military history perspective. Please explain and be quick about it.
A: Not exclusively, but yes, I do.
From 4th grade on, I literally carried my Dad’s briefcase to the Pentagon, the Senate, navy bases far and wide, the Kremlin, Buckingham Palace, Parliament, the Capitol, and towards the horizon during his travels all over the world, ones where he included me, ones that provided a unique education. I met world leaders, presidents, generals, kings, queens, snotty royal types, sundry black-hearted oligarchs, more interesting admirals and officers than I can remember, grew up on Navy and Marine Corps mess food (Really good), and was absolutely fascinated by the military and it’s advanced technology. My father and Uncle Charles were Marines, both grandfathers were U.S. Army (Paul Mellon was OSS), and alive or not we all have enormous respect for the military, past, present and future. Every year we host an event or two for wounded warriors at my farm in Virginia, and I’m donating every cent of my profits from book sales to wounded veteran charities. Those men and women are the best. My work, all of it, is my gift to humanity. Looking back, I wish I too had served and would do anything to change that personal history, but the siren song of the race track called me to the other side of the green hill when I was but an idealistic young man full of piss and vinegar in the wild-ride 1980’s, a decadent decade where we young’uns still reeled from Viet Nam’s shadow.
Q: What was your research process like? Where did you travel to do primary research? Were you given special access because of who you are?
A: I went to Germany twice and loved it all. No preferential treatment, and I didn’t need or want any as the Germans are very nice, funny, helpful, and enthusiastic about racing. At the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, I bizarrely found that I knew more than they did (All those big books on the professor’s nifty engineering), or at least more than what they were proffering as official history––there was nothing on Dr. Porsche’s involvement in WW2. Okay, fine, I get it. Who can blame them? But Nazi history will never fade away, ever, and should it? If it did, we might forget the harsh lessons learned.
Then I traveled to the Porsche Museum at Gmund, Austria, and there in that holy sanctum I found some answers as to what kind of pacifist family man Dr. Porsche really was––a damn good one. You see, most of the history books about him are dry and technical, and there’s precious little on his personal life as a human being with a loving family. To find this out, I signed up with an autobahn-blasting Porsche tour of Germany and Austria with a nice chap named Peter Tsontag of Fast Lane Travel. He, the meister, hooked me up with everyone knowledgeable and then some, plus extra strudel at every meal, but I’ll pass on the high-speed autobahn stuff from now on as I nearly hit a lane-changing-no-signal bandit Fiat going a hundred mph less than I. Porsches have excellent brakes, a racer’s best friend.
Q: Can you expand on Elaine’s comment on page 345, “As I’ve told you, we all learn harsh lessons in our many lives, our many tragic experiences help us become wise through the ages, and that’s the whole point of existence.”
A: If a person reads Rudolph Steiner, Gurdjieff, Carl Jung, Blavatsky, Sufi wisdom, Vedic history, some Buddhism, and Theosophist Annie Besant––whew!––they’ll understand the philosophy and concept of reincarnation and a great many other useful things. It’s just how the universe works. Period. Well, I hope so.
“Resurrection,” as stated in the Bible, is really reincarnation. Early Christians, before Emperor Constantine’s religious skullduggery in Constantinople (Don’t ask), held reincarnation as a core belief. This is why many avant garde historians believe Jesus, an ascended master and all-around good dude, really preached The Law of One (Hermetic Law of Unity), that we are all one with the cosmos…and the cosmos is God, Allah, The All There Is, The One. There was no separation whatsoever from The Divine, none, never has been. Whomever said that is lying. Naughty-naughty!
The reincarnation philosophy states that our souls live forever––awesome!––and its many incarnational lifetimes are hard lessons learned in Earth’s grand school of duality and suffering, at least for the time being. Mozart, da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Galileo, Porsche, Mary Curie, and Nikola Tesla were not just born “geniuses,” they earned their stripes over and over in their many lifetimes, even if they weren’t aware of those experiences or couldn’t remember them. Get it? Unless one forgets their past incarnations, which is part of the “Soul Agreement,” no new lessons would be learned via quite different perspectives––wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, soldiers, doctors, artists, train robbers, kings, queens, test pilots, emperors, mass murderers, bricklayers, prostitutes, librarians, etc. The more perspective lifetimes you’ve had, the smarter and wiser you are. Makes perfect sense. At least I think it does. Doesn’t it?
Fun fact: General George Patton, a misfit mystic genius, publicly stated that reincarnation was why and how he became, arguably, our most effective and fearsome general in WW2, kickin’ ass and takin’ names––the only one the Germans feared at all, and for damn good occult reasons.
His many re-incarnational lives as a soldier throughout history was the answer to many proffered questions, a man (or woman) that learned hard and well from his or her mistakes as a fancy field marshal or common foot soldier. The rest is history. That’s grade-A mysticism and metaphysics in action, folks, so brush off your olive-drab digital camo pointy hats and start marching to star fort-enclosed Hobbit Town.
And HE, ladies and gents, was no New Age politically correct hippie-hipster aligning their chakras with dime-store crystals and a smartphone app while riding a dumbass electric scooter to GMO organic-farm nowhere-ville!
Lastly, if the general whisked through time and deigned to visit unnecessary expensive technology Silicon Valley today riding atop an Abrams tank, Patton would hop down and slap that Facebook kid silly and crush his CIA-grade spyware Google-Glass glasses under his polished riding boot. “Get a grip, son.”
Q: Wow. Don’t sugar-coat it. Okay, what does your family think about your book?
A: Ha! My family just loves it, or they had better.
American women mechanics in WW2. Many of them were aircraft ferry pilots who risked their lives getting planes to the front lines.