INTERVIEW: Jim Beard on The X-Files: Secret Agendas – ‘Desperately Seeking Mothman’

A short interview with author Jim Beard 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?

JIM BEARD: I saw a post on the American Horror Writers Association Facebook page from editor Jonathan Maberry about needing to fill some slots in the book. I admire Jonathan to the nines — he’s a living, breathing action hero himself — and couldn’t believe the opportunity was presenting itself. I wrote a pitch, sent it in, and about a week later got a Private Message from Jonathan asking if I could deliver a finished draft in x amount of time (pun intended). I said, uh, yes? He said “Welcome to the X-Files.”

I found out later I was up against about 680 other pitches. Yow.

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

JB: Full disclosure: since Second Season. My wife started watching from Episode #1, back in the day, but I came to it later (can’t really remember why). Being a big fan of the Occult Detective genre of fiction, I twigged to it immediately and here we are, all these years later (and yes, I went back and caught up on First Season).

TX-C: The Mothman is a well known American urban legend – what made you want to use that as a jumping off point for your story?

JB: It jumped into my mind, unbidden, for realz. I think it was because it was a subject that hadn’t really been covered on the show before, not really. Or it might be the actual, documented undue influence the Mothman has on people. Regardless, as you say, it became more of a jumping off point because the plot went where it wanted to go. Which is a very cool thing to happen to a writer in my estimation; a story that has a life of its own.

TX-C: You put Mulder through the psychological wringer here – did you enjoy letting Maeve get under his skin?

JB: Ha — I saw what you did there 🙂 Yeah, I did. I write mainly pulp and in pulp the characters tend to receive more physical abuse than anything, so placing Mulder into a twisty-turny, mental labyrinth was a feast for me as a writer. And between you and me, he kind of deserved it. A little.

TX-C: Did you enjoy writing Mulder’s perspective specifically here? Was that a conscious choice from the beginning or did it evolve?

JB: Weird thing is that I’m more of a Scully fan, but Mulder demanded to take the wheel on this one. I think that’s for the best because writers should come out of their comfort zone and tackle characters and subjects they may not have cared much for and see what makes them tick. Mulder’s ordeal here grew organically as I plotted and I’m proud of what transpired, even if it meant that Scully took the backseat this time.

If I get a second chance to write X-Files again, that will be rectified. Oh, yes.

TX-C: Do you believe in the paranormal?

JB: As in other things, I’m an agnostic on that score. It depends on what day of the week it is. As Mulder might say, “I want to believe,” but common sense sometimes rears its ugly head and shatters the attractive alternatives.

Show me a ghost, though. I’m ready.

Many thanks to Jim Beard for his time. You can follow him on Twitter @writerjimbeard.

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

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