Middletown 2 The Interview: Shawn Chesser

What makes the apocalyptic genre so appealing to you?

I like that there are no defined boundaries in PA fiction. We get to flesh out our worlds and then destroy them in any manner we choose. I especially enjoyed being able to off many of our well known politicians as my STZA series unfolded. Of course, the names were changed to protect the (insert eye roll) innocent. So as not to get any one side’s panties into a bunch, I made sure my virtual scythe drew blood equally from both sides of the aisle.

What about this project was uniquely challenging to you?

I wrote my first MA piece, Noble Intentions, with the expectation of having the surviving characters resume their journeys in the new MA piece. Alas, that assumption failed me when I learned we were writing new characters in an entirely different city. Making the most of this new scenario, I built upon what I’d already established in MA1 and with just a couple of tweaks was able to make it work within the framework of MA2. Still, I really missed being able to write from Riker’s point of view.

What draws you to projects like this?

For the most part it’s the opportunity to rub elbows-so to speak-with some of the best writers in the business. Doesn’t hurt that the project itself is in the genre I adore.

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

Being a pantser, I’m into letting the characters dictate where the story goes.

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

Mirroring real life for me up to now, it would go like this: Hapless everyman survives the apocalypse by relying on Lady Luck, a fair amount of serendipity, and an ever vigilant Guardian Angel.


Shawn Chesser, author of the best-selling ‘Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse’ series has been a zombie fanatic for decades. He likes his creatures shambling, trudging and moaning. As for fast, agile, screaming specimens… not so much. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and two fish.