AUTHOR: Richard Stephenson
BOOK TITLE: Collapse
GIVEAWAY? Sure. Three electronic copies. BE SURE TO LEAVE CONTACT INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN DRAWING!
Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself?
I’m a 37 year old living in Southeast Texas. I’ve worked in law enforcement for the past twelve years, starting in the US Army as Military Police, currently working in federal law enforcement.
What genre do you write in and why?
I’m writing a four part series in the dystopian genre. I like dystopian fiction because at its core it is usually about survival and fighting for a better life. The comforts we enjoy are often taken for granted and sometimes its humbling to enter a world where it is gone.
Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
Collapse is a dystopian thriller set in the year 2027 and tells the tale of the downfall of America. I’ve always been a sucker for end of the world fiction and wanted to write one that doesn’t deal with zombies, a killer plague, or an alien invasion. I wanted to tell a story that is grounded in reality and illustrate how fragile civilization can be.
How long have you been writing?
About a year.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
Working in law enforcement, I don’t have the luxury to evacuate during a natural disaster. In 2008, our region was hit by a hurricane. After it passed, we were completely cut off from society – no phones, computers, tv stations, we couldn’t even get radio stations on the dial. It was a very surreal situation to ponder the thought that aliens could have landed on the White House lawn, and we’d have been none the wiser. The isolation and potential for anarchy and chaos was sobering; it terrified me. I thought of it on a national scale, and it opened my eyes to how easily everything could fall apart.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
Absolutely. I outline and map out all the key plot points and figure out how the characters are going to get from point A to point B and what will happen along the way. Writing is easy for me after that, it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.
What comes first: the plot or the characters?
The plot. Not a lot changes about the plot during my writing process. The characters, however, are at the mercy of the plot and can be adjusted accordingly. A minor character that I planned to kill off ended up growing on me and stuck around.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. I hate it. It’s like doing homework.
Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?
Not a lot, really. I drew from my own knowledge and experience for the majority of it.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?
Stephen King, Lee Child, Vince Flynn.
What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I think we are at the forefront of the publishing world being shaken to its core. Self-publishing and ebooks take out the middleman leaving only the reader and writer. Writers have the golden opportunity to let readers decide for themselves what they want to read. The pricing model is a great benefit to the reader. I think it’s an insult to expect a reader to pay $14 for an ebook when the distribution costs are a small fraction compared to distributing physical books.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Don’t quit your day job. If you’re expecting writing to pay the bills, you’ll be in for a letdown. Keep writing because it is your passion and let that be the only reason you write.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
America is falling, ready to join the Roman Empire as a distant memory in the annals of history. The year is 2027. Tired and desperate, the American people are deep in the middle of The Second Great Depression. The Florida coastline is in ruins from the most powerful hurricane on record; a second just like it is bearing down on the state of Texas. For the first time in history, the Middle East has united as one and amassed the most formidable army the world has seen since the Third Reich. A hidden army of terrorists is on American soil. This is the story of three men: Howard Beck, the world’s richest man, also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Richard Dupree, ex-Navy SEAL turned escaped convict. Maxwell Harris, a crippled, burned out Chief of Police of a small Texas town. At first they must fight for their own survival against impossible odds. Finally, the three men must band together to save their beloved country from collapse.