What goes on behind the curtains?
As we are progressing with the Act 1 plotlines we thought you might enjoy a mini interview of one of our main authors. At the same time, this is a great way for us be very outspoken and share some light on the persona of our development team. We are continuing this mini interview series with Sean T. Smith, who is a US author published by Permuted Press, with a solid resume in post-apocalyptic fiction, including Objects of Wrath, Children of Wrath and Wrath and Redemption are his first three novels, set in the United States after the next world war. Sean T. Smith is an avid gamer, father of three, and student of military tactics and history.
What got you interested in The Seed project?
Sean: "I discovered The Seed through a post-apocalyptic fiction group on social media that I’m fairly active in. I followed the posted links, and was instantly impressed by the artwork and the overall idea of the game. The photography is world-class, absolutely riveting. Ideas started popping into my head right away. I knew I wanted to be a part of this team."
What is so appealing about the post-apocalyptic theme and setting?
Sean: "I’ve been a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and games for about thirty years. Books like Lucifer’s Hammer, Alas, Babylon, The Stand, and The Road inspired me to write the sort of books I wanted to read. The Seed is unique. The setting is post-apocalyptic, and the world is as peeled and depleted as that of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but in this novel, the reader has the ability to choose where the story leads. I love the idea. Since the story is set in Russia and Eastern Europe, I found this fascinating, as well. I haven’t read another post-apocalyptic story set there. This made for some thoroughly enjoyable research. In terms of themes, I think that the apocalypse will bring out the best and worst in us as human beings.
Most people are kind and decent, but evil exists, and when it comes calling sometimes there is nowhere to run. It must be defeated. It is in those dark places that I find hope for humanity. The game itself is built around the choices that define us as humans. Most of the time, there is no clear right or wrong choice. Our assumptions can get in the way of clear thinking. When I’m writing I put myself into the character’s shoes and ask myself what I would do, trying to look at the situation from all angles. It can be uncomfortable and revealing and there are times I can feel the icy Russian wind on my own beard and hear the collective anguish of the doomed world."
What mystique or symbolic value lies in the title 'The Seed' for you?
Sean: "Although life has been stripped from the earth, the seeds of a new world still exist. A seed is untapped potential, a promise waiting to be fulfilled. I look at the main character through that lens. Whether the player bears fruit depends on the choices; all decisions are not created equal."
What would you say defines the core audience for The Seed?
Sean: "Readers and fans of post-apocalyptic games and books who are looking for something different and more immersive than what they are used to. Fans of the Fallout games will enjoy The Seed, but this game doesn’t pretend to be a shooter or an RPG. It’s something new and dynamic, and if readers allow their imaginations to wander through the empty wind-blown streets and smashed cities, they will be thrilled to the bone."
Could you mention a tough moral choice that you've faced in your own life?
Sean: "This is one of the toughest interview questions I’ve had to field! I guess the hardest choice I’ve been forced to make recently involves an element of forgiveness, or at least tolerance. There is an individual out there who has done great harm to my family, who deserves the wrath of God unleashed upon him. Retribution and anger can be poison. I had to decide what kind of man I am, and what sort of example I wanted to set for my children. I’ll leave it there."
Any quirky writing habits?
Sean: "I think all writers are inherently odd, otherwise they wouldn’t think for a moment that anyone anywhere would ever give a damn about what they had to say. It takes a certain fierceness to be a writer, I think. Beyond that, I guess I drink way too much coffee, smoke too many cigarettes, get up too early and stay up far too late."
Is humor an obligatory aspect to be featured in any good novel?
Sean: "No. There isn’t a funny moment in The Road, Grapes of Wrath, or The Old Man and the Sea. That said, I wish I had the knack for more humor in my own writing. Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving are two of my favorite authors who are masterful at blending humor with heavy themes."
In no particular order, name three of your favorite movies.
Sean: "Saving Private Ryan, Rob Roy, and Gladiator. I love books and movies that possess soul and action and depict the triumph of the human spirit."
Do you believe in fate or coincidence?
Are you a spiritual man?
Sean: "Yes. I’m a Christian, a deeply flawed one, at that. I figure that good and evil are real, and that there is indeed a daily battle that rages, a certain balance that must be struck. While I read and study the Bible, I also fear that mankind has attempted to put God into a box far too small to contain Him. The paradox of free will versus fate is something that fascinates me. In my mind, God is far more vast than we can possibly conceive, and He is able to see the infinite possibilities. Some choices lead to easier paths and better outcomes in our own lives, but in the end, one way or another, His will is accomplished."
The Seed has multiple possible endings.
What sort of impact does this have on your normal approach to writing?
Sean: It’s not as different as you would think. When I’m outlining a novel, I do it in very broad strokes, only a few pages long. I break it into three distinct parts, or acts, if you will, with the rising action, the tension in the middle, and the climax. I break this down into smaller parts, and typically outline chapters two or three a time while I’m writing. Herein lies the similarity, because when I’m in this mode, this pure storytelling mode, I often write alternate scenes and chapters to see how the characters should behave. “What if he does this…” And I see where it leads. Some of the best twists I’ve come up with arose through this process. In writing for The Seed, it’s the same process, only condensed in each chapter. I have to make myself believe it before I can write it, though. I have to understand why a character might make a choice I wouldn’t make myself, and justify the outcome. That’s what makes the game so interesting. People are different, and will make their own choices based on the information they have at hand, their own experiences."
What other projects are you currently writing for?
Sean: "My next novel, Tears of Abraham, releases on March 22, published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster. This book is about the coming American civil war, seen through the eyes of heroes, innocents, and villains. The rhetoric and political nastiness in the U.S. now makes me weep for my country. A civil war should be unthinkable, yet it is not. I’ve also got a trilogy out, beginning with Objects of Wrath, about the aftermath of World War III. And I’m almost finished with my fifth novel, Faith of the Fallen. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write. The main character is an angel with very limited abilities. The book alternates between the past and present. He’s been a gladiator, a monk, and a knight, and his choices have sent ripples through human history. In the present, he is trying to thwart the apocalypse. The research required for this book has been insane."
What are the pros and cons of writing for a video game vs a standard novel?
Sean: "My sons finally think I’m cool because I’m writing a video game! Seriously, writing for a game is fun for a number of reasons that don’t apply to writing a novel. With the game, there is collaboration, where we bounce ideas back and forth, dreaming up plot, whereas a novel is a solitary endeavor. Also, I don’t have to come up with many of the plot points; that’s done for me. I get to flesh them out, and that is an enjoyable, refreshing process. There is a certain feeling a writer gets when he gets to hold that book in his hands for the first time that is priceless; with the game, I’ll be able to listen to the sound effects and look at the fantastic graphics as well. I can’t wait for it to release."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Feel free to comment on how you like'd this interview or if you have some specific questions that you'd like to see answered from Sean T. Smith in addition to these.
Stand by for more insight and news on development progression!
Misery Development Ltd.