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Bill Fortin
Bill Fortin

What would happen if Pablo Escobar, the world’s most notorious drug kingpin, had gotten his hands on a fully functional nuclear weapon? That’s the chilling premise behind Medellin Acapulco Cold, the latest military thriller from author Bill Fortin. It’s 1987, and a group of rogue Russian operatives manage to deliver the nuke to Escobar’s secret lair in Mexico. Now, it’s a race against the clock and the whims of a madman as CIA agent Rick Fontain and his team must find and recover the weapon before Escobar vaporizes half of Acapulco.


Today, Silver Screen Videos is honored to host the virtual book blog tour for Medellin Acapulco Cold. It’s the third in a series of “cold war adventures” by Bill Fortin, whose own career rivals that of his series hero, Rick Fontain. After a stint in the Vietnam-era Army (which provided some valuable background for his first Fontain novel, Redeye Fulda Cold) and a successful business career that sent him to 37 different countries, Bill turned his talents to writing. In talking with Bill before the blog tour, I discovered that he’s somewhat of a film buff as well. The conversation turned into the rather freewheeling interview that follows, where we discuss a possible film version of Medellin Acapulco Cold, along with the meticulous research that goes into all of Bill’s books and various other topics.


Medellin Acapulco Cold is published by Cold War Publications. You can buy Medellin Acapulco Cold on Amazon in hardback, paperback, audiobook or Kindle versions, along with Bill’s other Rick Fontain thrillers, Redeye Fulda Cold and Stinger: Operation Cyclone. My thanks to Bill Fortin and to Teddy Rose of Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.   


Medellin Acapulco Cold
Bill Fortin - Medellin Acapulco Cold

SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: Today, we are talking with Bill Fortin, author of three military thrillers including his latest, Medellin Acapulco Cold, whose blog tour makes a stop here at Silver Screen Videos today.  Bill, you have now written three novels that take place over a 20-year period from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. What interests you about this era, and why did you decide to set your books during this period rather than in the present day?


BILL FORTIN: In 1968, the height of the Vietnam era, “that war was the only war shown on America’s TV sets… The Cold War wasn’t on anybody’s radar! I wrote Redeye Fulda Cold almost 45 years after the fact. The death of the man who saved my life and the lives of my team pushed this story to the forefront of my to-do list in 2012. 


As I have stated on more than one occasion:


“…Some historians profess the proverbial beating of their (the Russian military) feet back across the Amu Darya River in Afghanistan, utilizing the infamous Friendship Bridge, signaled the end of the Cold War. I, for one, did not believe this to be the case and call your attention yet again to the historic 1993 collapse of the USSR which only fanned the flames of world domination. In 2014, the people of Ukraine were again reminded that the Cold War was alive and well…and is very much alive today!”


The 1980s touted the Presidency of Ronald Reagan… I had always held a particular interest in this man. It’s taken almost 30 years to see anything like it again!


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: Your latest book, Medellin Acapulco Cold, takes place during the reign of Pablo Escobar and the other Colombian drug lords. How many of the events and characters you describe are real, and how much of the book is fictional?


BILL FORTIN: The whispers (or rumors) started when the SALT II US/Russian agreement was being assembled. Most were not true but were interesting to contemplate nonetheless. Thank God, the protocol for the disassembled warheads was strictly monitored. Having said that… I will tell you… Medellin Acapulco Cold is exactly what would happen if certain Russians had their way back then. Some of the characters in this novel are real, most are not. As for the real persons in this story that are still living, some needed to have their names changed… for obvious reasons! There is no point, I thought, having your car blow up some Sunday morning… no matter if you go to church or not.


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: How did you go about researching Medellin Acapulco Cold? What are some of your more interesting or unusual sources of information?


BILL FORTIN: In 2011, I decided to reacquaint myself with the military communities of which I was once a member. I wholeheartedly recommend this endeavor to anyone who has served. With the internet tools available today, I found this to be a rather simple exercise and a very positive experience. The results produced a means to reacquire old relationships and led to many new friendships. These contacts have been an invaluable resource for building narratives for each of my novels. 


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: Your series hero, Rick Fontain, is roughly your age, and the two of you share a military background. Did you pattern Rick after yourself or someone you served with? If not, who, if anyone, was the model for the character?


BILL FORTIN: Rick Fontain, Radar O’Reilly, and Donald Trump are all about the same age as me.  Rick’s role certainly started with my military experiences. Stinger: Operation Cyclone and Medellin Acapulco Cold are more defined around my corporate persona at Bell Labs. 


Redeye Fulda Cold is 60% factual. Rick’s satirical personality is patterned after me, for sure… As far as the “super agent” label in some of the reviews, like the title of the De-Phazz song, these were a gift from the “backstreets of my mind.” By the way, to date, I still have not purchased a cape!


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: What sets Rick apart from all the other similar action heroes out there?


BILL FORTIN: I’m not convinced he is… If you are familiar with the novels of W.E.B. Griffin (Bill Butterworth), then you will understand that creating well-liked characters is at the top of an author’s list for enticing a reader to follow your stories.  This is especially true if you want to have your stories read more than once. I’ve read every one of WEB’s stories a lot more than once… Why? His characters make us feel good… They make us feel part of the story. They become your very good friends and make you feel good when you are with them.


The term “paying forward” also applies here. In my case, it was the gift of life given to me by a fast-thinking teammate during an event that took place in ’69 (Germany’s Cold War, as described in Redeye Fulda Cold). What America wants… what America needs… are the positive feel-good recounts of our Nation’s history. My novels, I think, articulate those characters and times very well. 


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: My site is primarily a film review site, so let’s steer this interview in that direction. If you were a Hollywood casting director and could get anyone you wanted, who would play Rick Fontain in the movie version of Medellin Acapulco Cold and why? How about some of the other main characters? 


BILL FORTIN: This is a great question. Some of the review comments thus far have likened Medellin Acapulco Cold to an HBO mini-series and Stinger: Operation Cyclone to a MASH-like TV show. (Some comments say this is a grunt level view of Charlie Wilsons War.) That’s a great compliment, yes?


I suspect my detailed descriptions of a location, the décor of a room, and the background, mindset, and the dress code of the characters lend themselves to visualize the chapter not just read about it. Comments thus far suggest each of these stories would make a great movie or an exciting TV series.


Chris Pine has been my favorite pick for the role of Rick Fontain. He and Kevin Costner (as Bill Douglas) have worked very well together… not a lot of rewrites needed here! Clint Eastwood would be a great director for this story. Why? For the simple fact that once he selects the players, he gets out of their way and lets them perform. He also would make a great General Gerald Bushman. Dennis Haysbert as Jim Pezola, Vin Diesel as Major Pascal Sotomayor from the Mexican State Police… I could go on, but I think we are over budget by at least $30 million already.


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: Would you like to see Medellin Acapulco Gold or your other novels made into movies? What is it about them that you think would be particularly appealing to film fans?


BILL FORTIN: Is a frog’s ass watertight?  Sorry, ever since I heard Michael Keaton say it in Gung Ho, I have always wanted to use that line! You can put a line through it to regain the coveted PG-13 status. (SSV NOTE: I have it on reliable authority that we won’t have to worry about the site owner censoring this interview.)


Of course, we would very much like to make a movie and, if ever given the opportunity to do so, I promise not to complain as Tom Clancy did in the shooting of Patriot Games… you know, when the sun was shown setting in the east (not the west) on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. (It took me a minute to get that too.) This may have something to do with the fact that Tom was already a millionaire before the screenplay was completely finished, but if a studio wants to make one of my books into a movie, I intend to be much more open-minded…


Seriously, my novels are action-packed, realistic, and draw the reader into each and every chapter… and that, in my mind, makes for a great screenplay!


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: To wrap this up, you call your novels “cold war adventures,” but you’re rapidly running out of cold war to write about. What does the future hold for Rick Fontain, and do you have any other writing plans you’d like to tell us about?


BILL FORTIN: It is my contention that the “cold war” has never ended. Even now Mr. Putin is plotting his next series of invasions.


As far as future books are concerned, Rick leaves the CIA at the conclusion of Medellin Acapulco Cold. He becomes the lead figure in a black ops group formed inside Gerald Bushman’s DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). The mismanagement of the Russian relationship in the 1990s has been America’s biggest mistake in the Cold War. This can be a target-rich environment for any writer. The list of players and events of this time are extensive and will provide an endless amount of material … generating tales that hopefully make the readers’ hair stand on end. Of course, at my age hair is not an option, standing or sitting down.


SILVER SCREEN VIDEOS: Thanks, Bill, for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today. I look forward to the next Rick Fontain adventure, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.


    Bill Fortin is the author of three "cold war adventures," military thrillers detailing the exploits of CIA operative Rick Fontain. Before becoming a writer, Bill served two years in the U.S. Army during the height of the Vietnam War, followed by a career at Bell Labs. As a subject matter expert on Intelligent Building technologies, he was asked to consult on projects in 37 countries. Following his retirement from Bell Labs in 2001, he became the CEO of Integrated Building Solutions, Inc., an international marketing and systems engineering company. Bill also has a Master's degree in Management Sciences from the University of Baltimore. He currently lives with his wife, Judy, and a host of four-legged children (Border Collies) in the rolling hills of Westminster, MD.

    Follow Bill Fortin on Twitter: @BillFortin / Facebook: @BillFortinBooks / Website: / Amazon author page: