INTERVIEW: John Gilstrap on The X-Files Secret Agendas – ‘Seek and You Will Find’

A short interview with best-selling author John Gilstrap on his contribution to The X-Files: Secret Agendas anthology, out now from IDW Publishing…

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THE X-CAST: How did you come to be involved with Secret Agendas?

JOHN GILSTRAP: I’ve known Jonathan Maberry, the editor of the anthology, for years. We shared a publisher at one point, and I think we even shared an editor. When a writer of his caliber reaches out and asks you to participate in an anthology, the only reasonable answer is to say yes.

TX-C: Have you always been a fan of The X-Files?

JG: During its television run, I was a fan in principle, but rarely got a chance to watch it. During that sleeve of time, I was in the hazardous waste business, and on the road almost constantly. After I committed to Jonathan to write a story, I bought the first season of shows and watched them all. Loved them.

TX-C: Why did you choose to write from Mulder’s first person perspective?

JG: For “Seek and You Will Find” to work, the story had to be told from a very limited point of view, and there is no POV more limited than first person. Plus, in my novels, I never get an opportunity to use 1st person and I liked the challenge. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

TX-C: Did you find Mulder’s internal monologue easy to find & write?

JG: I’m not sure I could qualify any element of writing as “easy,” but there’s a twitchiness and cynicism in Mulder that I enjoyed exploring. He’s a nerdy tough guy who’s well aware of the fact that he’s an outcast, and I don’t think there’s an artist of any stripe who has not felt like that from time to time.

TX-C: Your story deals with an alternate reality – what inspired this to be your X-File element of the story?

JG: A lot of my writing deals with the unexpected consequences of unusual events. When I started exploring plot lines, the first one to come to me was, what would it be like to be with someone who just went *poof*? Given that no one would believe the story that the person you were with just evaporated, would charges be filed? On the flip side of that question, how unnerving would it be for the person who disappeared? What’s on the other side of reality? That’s what my story is all about.

TX-C: Do you believe in the paranormal?

JG: I believe in energies we don’t understand. I know that some people exude kindness, and others exude malevolence. I know that in a crowded party, if I look with a certain intensity at my wife who is all the way across the room, she will turn and meet my gaze. I know that when my son, unbeknownst to us, was the subject of a National Park Service search because he was lost in the woods, I woke up in the middle of the night compelled to write a scene about a character lost in the woods. Is that paranormal, or just coincidence? I’m not sure.

Many thanks to John Gilstrap for his time. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnGilstrap and check out his website here.

Questions by Tony Black, who you can follow on Twitter @Mr_AJ_Black.

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