Q&A with author Richard Stephenson

1. Collapse takes place in 2027, what made your pick that year?
 Well, I knew I wanted the the book to be set in the near future.  It started out as a "What if?" to some of the current events we are facing today.   Little tidbits about the Middle East that are happening right now are mentioned.  Our struggling economic recession grows into The Second Great Depression.  I probably wrote a third of the book before I finally had to slow down and figure out the exact year.  It basically was a problem of continuity growing into a monster that I had to tame.  When I started to reference earlier events in the character's lives it got really hard to keep track of things like.....  OK, so he got out of high school and spent eight years doing that, now he is in his early forties so what year is it now?   When I gave one of the characters children and started writing scenes, I had to make sure that their ages matched up with the present day of the book.   I had to sit down and chart out each character and events from their lives to make sure that the continuity was sound.  Once I was done with the chart, the year was 2027.

2. Our of your three main characters, which one was more of a challenge to write and why?
 My wife asked me early on:  Which character is you?  Well, to be honest, all three of the main characters are versions of me in some fashion.  The character that I most closely relate to is Chief Harris.  Writing him requires me to hold up and mirror to my own life and that can be tough if you don't want to look.

3. What is your favorite thing about the writing experience? 
Creating a world that I completely control.  If I get stuck on something and can't figure out how to make something work, I just remind myself.. "Hey, you're the god of this world, do what you want!"  The answer comes easily after that.

4. What is your favorite scene from this book and why?
The chapter dealing with Richard Dupree's crime.  Hardest to write.  One page of it took me hours to write.   Ended up being my proudest work.

5. Where is your favorite place to write?
Anywhere my iPad and bluetooth keyboard happen to be.

6. What sort of Starbucks coffee would your characters order?
Howard only drinks coffee from his own kitchen.  Richard has never been inside of a Starbucks.   Max prefers caramel macchiato.

7. What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
  Being thrown into a frozen duck pond.  (My fraternity brothers were kind enough to break the ice first)

8. What is the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?  Cigarettes and coffee

9. What book are you reading right now?  Kill Shot by Vince Flynn

10. The Beatles or Elvis?  Beatles      

Read an excerpt or add Collapse to your Goodreads shelf here. Check out Richard Stephenson's website here or follow him on twitter here.