Middletown 2 The Interview: Heath Stallcup

What makes the apocalyptic genre so appealing to you?

That’s a tough one. I think for me it’s the fact that you are only limited by your imagination. Whether it’s a post nuclear survival, alien invasion, zombie apocalypse or any of the hundreds of natural disasters that are possible, the genre allows you to explore the many different ways to survive what is thrown at you.

It seems that any time people are faced with impossible odds, their true potential rises to the surface. True, some characters, like real people, just aren’t wired for survival in extreme circumstances. Some become predators. Others are entirely dependent on the assistance and good will of others. Some are born to lead, others to follow. Throwing a whole mix of people from different backgrounds into a similar situation allows the writer to create any number of scenarios.

What about this project was uniquely challenging to you?

Staying within the parameters of the story. It’s too easy for someone like me (who writes by the seat of the pants) to allow the story to take on a life of its own. That moves the story in directions that aren’t necessarily in sync with the parameters. Rather than allow the story free rein, I have to rope it in, steer it in the right direction, then let it run free again.

What draws you to projects like this?

Probably the biggest thing is it allows me to be a part of something bigger than myself. I get to throw in with some of the best fiction writers available. People who have never heard of me might like what they read. Others who are familiar with my works may pick up on a new author that they might not have been exposed to before. It’s a win-win situation.

If there was one thing key to your writing style, what would that be?

Chaos. Seriously, my writing is very chaotic. Often times the story will take a twist that I hadn’t considered and I’m left staring at the screen wondering, “WTF just happened?” Sometimes it’s a cool factor, other times the twists or turns are just as surprising to me as it is to a reader. I just get surprised much sooner than they do.

If someone were to write you into an apocalyptic story, what would be the plot?

I’d be the guy who trips over his own feet, falls and shoots himself in the head. I’m not very graceful. Nor am I in the shape it would take to survive for long…so I’d be a side character that either cost the group something valuable or I’d be a drain on society. Unless they decided to place a really high value on storytelling…then I’d be a hit.

Now, thirty years ago…I’d be the one leading everyone to safety. But time is a bitch and growing old is not for the weak of heart.

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