Daniel Kucan - Self-published author, Command & Conquer actor, professional martial artist, and renowned carpenter
Firstly, I think it is fair to say you've had a wild life. Acting, writing, carpentry and more. Have any of those professions felt like a true calling? If you had to pick one job for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think secret agent would be cool, except for the ‘secret’ part. It’s only cool if everyone knows you’re a secret agent, but I guess that sort of defeats the purpose. You can’t really be a ‘famous agent’, and being famous rocks. Guess I better give this some more thought.
I'm a huge fan of the Command & Conquer series. What has been your favorite roll for C&C? Were you ever asked to do a part and refused?
When my older brother Joe started working on the very first C&C, I was living in New York and Joe brought me out to Vegas to work on it with him. He and I and several other actors had a big discussion about who was gonna be the bad guy and no one wanted to do it. We settled on Joe because he was the scariest, but it wasn’t really his first choice. Ironic because it made him a global superstar, and I ended up getting exploded, slapped, set on fire, ion cannoned, run over, mortared, and killed in various and sundry other ghastly ways. I think my favorite was getting tortured by the blonde supermodel… you know they actually PAID me to do that? Crazy world.
What inspired your writing? Was there an exact moment when you sat down to put words onto paper and knew you would be a writer?
I’ve written stories since I was very young, probably second grade. But there is a difference, I think, between a writer and a storyteller. I love telling stories. My first novel is a semi-autobiographical series of stories set in the professional fight world. And the thing is, every fighter I know is a GREAT storyteller. I think a lot of guys fight simply so that they have stories to tell. There is a really deep and rich history of pugilism stories that are constrained to oral tradition because they are only told in gyms or BJJ schools or what-have-you. One of my goals in writing Full Contact was to get some of the things I experienced written down.
Did you read a lot when you were growing up? If so, what were your favorite authors? Have they influenced your style at all?
The first big chunk or reading that I read on my own was The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander when I was about eight. I can’t overstate how they utterly changed my life. I think it’s a crime that we have young kids reading Dick and Jane when they could be reading about Taran kicking the shit out of the forces of darkness.
When writing, do any of your characters feel a lot like you? Have you purposely written yourself into any works?
Full Contact is certainly based on events of my life, but I wouldn't say that it’s ME. Some smartypants once said that the characters in our dreams are all aspects of our own personality. I guess I feel the same way about the fiction we create.
Do you have any more books planned for after Full Contact? Any works in progress?
My next novel is called The Gossamer Prince and is an urban fairy tale with all sorts of dark and sinister turns: you know, goblins and devils running loose among the downtown crowd, vampires and temptress goddesses and renegade dragons eating up the souls of the wicked. Joe and I are also working on a play for our theater company in Las Vegas. It’s an adaptation of a Fritz Lang film and we are really excited about it.
Have you ever considered writing in the style / universe of Command and Conquer?
Funny you should ask! Joe and I tried for several years to acquire the rights to create a C&C movie, but EA wouldn’t even entertain the notion. I’m sure they have their own plans for the franchise and I can say unequivocally that it will suck so hard that the fabric of the universe may actually be damaged by the vacuum created.
What sort of advice would you give to an aspiring writer? How about to an aspiring martial artist?
To a writer, I would say, “Write.” To a fighter, I would say, “avoid fighting.”
Seriously though, I really like writing and I really like fighting. But the part about fighting that I could never get over (and that kept me from being truly great) was that I simply didn’t have the fighting instinct. I never liked beating someone up. I was good at it, at the science of it. But when I lost I felt lousy, and when I won I felt… uh.. lousier. I still fight a lot, probably too much for my wife’s taste. But I’m generally teaching or helping someone out. When I write, no one ever gets a dislocated jaw or a cracked rib.