A short interview with authors Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Kate Corcino on their contribution to The X-Files: Secret Agendas anthology, out now from IDW Publishing…
THE X-CAST: How did you come to be involved with Secret Agendas?
BRYAN THOMAS SCHMIDT: Jonathan Maberry invited me and I asked my friend Kate, who was a more knowledgeable fan at the time, to join me.
KATE CORCINO: Bryan Thomas Schmidt first asked if I was a fan of X-Files. After my enthusiastic response he invited me to co-write the story with him. I leapt at the opportunity, as any writer fan would!
TX-C: Have you both always been a fan of The X-Files?
BTS: Actually, I became a fan for the story, because I had not related to the whole conspiracy theory thing in the 90s when it was originally on and had been too busy getting my Masters degree to watch much TV anyway. I had started watching a few reruns when the opportunity came along, and thought it would be a good fit, so I asked Maberry, and when he said yes, I then watched all 9 seasons, 2 movies, read all the novels, all the YA books, and the prior anthologies in about 8 weeks before we wrote the story.
KC: Yep, from the very beginning. I’d rave about the show to anyone who’d listen–I even got my mom watching. I think she became an even bigger fan than I was.
TX-C: What inspired your story here? You touch on various elements, including the treatment of Mexican people on the US border – were there any real-life inspirations?
BTS: Kate currently lives in El Paso. I did for two years and for a decade before that spent a lot of time on business down in that region. The real murders of women in Juarez has been an ongoing issue for two decades. It remains unsolved. I thought it would lend itself well to an X-Files spin, tragic as the real story is, and I immediately saw ties to the Mulder-Samantha mythology.
KC: Absolutely. Living on the border, and being a half-Latina woman, allows me to witness the complicated relationships that are woven into the fiber of the people here. There is a very real history here of Las Desaparecidas, more than 150 women and girls who’ve gone missing and whose disappearances have never been solved. Revisiting that horror in our story was a way of keeping the frustration and anguish current and real to an audience who otherwise might not be aware.
TX-C: Can you describe the process of writing the short story in tandem?
BTS: We decided I would write Mulder and she Scully. We outlined it, and I wrote the opening scene of the disappearance of a victim, and all Mulder, she wrote Scully, then we polished for voice.
KC: We tossed ideas back and forth in IMs, outlined together over the phone, then passed the story back and forth for each scene in our assigned POVs. I think this story came together the fastest of any story I’ve ever written. I tend to be a slow, perfectionist writer. Bryan made the process of collaboration easy and fun.
TX-C: Given the myth arc links in the story, did you always set out to make this very personal to Mulder’s search for Samantha?
BTS: I think I answered that above, but the goal was to create a story that felt like an episode of the show. So I wanted to weave in some threads episodes had in common, including the humorous banter of the two leads, their different approaches, and some mythology. The Samantha storyline lent itself best to the main storyline we’d chosen, so it was the obvious choice.
KC: We wanted the story to feel like an episode, including exploration of a larger arc. Mulder’s search for Samantha fit perfectly with the tone and topic of our storyline.
TX-C: Do you believe in the paranormal?
BTS: I believe there is a spiritual realm and spirit warfare with angels, demons, and other forces. Beyond that, it’s fun to write about, but I don’t know what else I believe. I have encountered real spirit warfare stuff when I was a missionary and traveling in Brazil and Ghana, so I know that’s real. I have never seen a UFO though, but I assume other intelligent life might well exist somewhere in the universe.
KC: *laugh* Even before experiencing “unexplainable events”–stories for another time–I was always a Spooky Mulder fan. So, yes.
Many thanks to Bryan & Kate for their time. You can follow Bryan on Twitter @BryanThomasS and Kate @KateCorcino
Questions by Tony Black, who you can follow on Twitter @Mr_AJ_Black.