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Interview with Richard Stephenson, author of Collapse

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America will fall” – that’s an arresting statement. Tell us about your novel Collapse and the world it is set in.
Collapse is set in the year 2027 and gives a realistic portrayal of the downfall of America.  My goal for the novel was for it to be grounded in plausibility, not zombies, aliens, a killer asteroid, or nuclear war.  I wanted the blame for the fall to rest solely with the American people and how they react to a serious of very unfortunate events.

What genre is it?
Dystopian thriller.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?  
I think it will appeal to all sorts of readers.  Anyone who likes a good thriller will enjoy it.  It also appeals to the apocalyptic/dystopian fans.  I also think that the end of the world preppers will find it to be a cautionary tale.

You have said that character Howard Beck is modelled after your son. Tell us a bit about your son and then a bit about Howard Beck.  
My son is 15 and has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.  He was diagnosed at the age of four and my wife and I had no idea what it even was, we immersed ourselves in every bit of research we could find.  I think it is important to raise awareness and having an Asperger’s character was a must for me.  Howard Beck is reclusive billionaire genius, a cross between Howard Hughes and Bill Gates.

Collapse’s other lead characters are Richard Dupree and Maxwell Harris. What sort of men are they, and what brings the men together?  
Dupree is an ex-Navy SEAL turned convicted felon and Harris is a burned-out chief of police in a small Texas town.  For most of the novel, all three of the main characters are on their own adventure and their seemingly different paths converge at the end.  I’d rather not give it away if that’s okay.

Complete this sentence for us: if you like_________________________, you’ll love Collapse.
Good question! I would answer that question in a few ways. 1. Lights Out by David Crawford 2. The movie Olympus Has Fallen. 3. The TV show Revolution. 4. I’ve had many reviews that compare my writing style to Tom Clancy. Collapse is in the top 10 political thriller category alongside a couple of Clancy’s work.

What can you tell us about Collapse’s sequel?
Resistance is set 18 months after Collapse.  Howard Beck and the other two main heroes have established the Pacific States of America, secured from the rest of the United American Empire under the tyrannical rule of President Simon Sterling from Collapse.

The world’s in a bit of a mess right now. Do you ever feel as if you were being too optimistic setting your book in the distant future?  
I jump back and forth on this one to be honest.  A lot of the events in the book are based on what’s happening today and some of it is a bit of a stretch right now but could easily come to pass by 2027.  I think if the American people can let go of arrogance and conceit over the deluded belief that we are the greatest country in the history of mankind we might have a chance.  I’m not trying to be un-patriotic, but our greatness was built on the shoulders of great men and women from our nation’s past.  We have to be brave enough to see our weaknesses and correct them.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 38 years old, live in Southeast Texas, been married for sixteen years, worked in law enforcement for sixteen years.  I have two wonderful children that I’m thankful for everyday.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
Rastephensonauthor.blogspot.com

Do you use social media? How can we follow you on it?
Facebook.com/NewAmericaSeries
@RStephenson5

What’s next?
The sequel to Collapse, entitled Resistance, will be available on Amazon in June (2013).

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