An Interview with Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, both non-fiction and novels. His recent books include Wanderers, which is a Locus, Bram Stokers, and Goodreads award Nominee. As well as the series Miriam Black, Force Awakens, the Invasive Duology. You can find him on his blog Terribleminds or his Twitter account @wendig, where he might be talking about writing, birds, apples, or sandwiches, depending on the season.

Chuck was kind enough to chat with me about his writing and his upcoming horror novel, The Book of Accidents.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig[GdM] Reading your stories, I have noticed that you don’t do a lot of worldbuilding. You establish a setting and go, or maybe jump right in as you did with Wanderers because [gestures around] the scene is pretty much already set. Is that a conscious choice or how the words flow out of you creatively?

[CW] Worldbuilding is something I love very much, coming from a roleplaying game background (both playing and writing) but it also can be an anchor that drags a story down—I do as much worldbuilding as is ideally needed to get to the next section of the book. It’s a bridge, in many ways. Not to say you can’t or shouldn’t build other pieces of glorious architecture. Every book is different, and I don’t think every story needs to be mercilessly screaming WELL THIS MUST SERVE A POINT OR YOU WILL BURN IT DOWN. But for my mileage I do prefer to focus more on the characters, and through them, worldbuilding is revealed.

[GdM] As someone who is deathly afraid of ants, I read Invasive because apparently, I enjoy creeping myself the hell out. One of the first lines of my review was “Chuck Wendig, you are a maniac.” Why ants?

[CW] Ants are awesome and weird, that’s why. Like bees, they are eusocial, and have behaviors that are both individual and group-based—I’ve always been interested in them. In fiction form they also make a nice metaphorical stand-in for anxiety.

[GdM] Wanderers is an epic story. When you sat down to write it, did you have any idea the depth of scope it was going to cover? Or did you always know that it was going to be a huge story?

[CW] I knew it was huge, but mayyyyyybe not 280,000 words huge.

[GdM] What kind of research did you do for Wanderers? While we did not have a great sleepwalking plague of 2020, there are certain similarities between the governmental response in the face of a health crisis and how things played out in your novel. Wanderers was remarkably prescient. Especially the Black Swan AI versus Blue Dot AI.

[CW] I’m a lazy writer, and much of the research for the book was not done for the book, but was rather just stuff I read that I found interesting. A lot of the prescient stuff wasn’t particularly insightful or prophetic on my part—it’s not like we didn’t know pandemics could happen or that white supremacy was a problem. But the Black Swan / Blue Dot thing was hahaha yeah, that was a little freaky.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig[GdM] Tell me a bit about your newest book, The Book of Accidents. It seems like a complicated horror story to sum up with a small blurb. A lot is going on. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few of the different horror types in it: Lovecraftian, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, psychological, and serial killers, all as part of the narrative. As the author,