America has traditionally been tasked with being the global police force. This has afforded it to be able to speak with a certain level of distance from the ‘Third World.’ It fascinated me to play with the idea of bringing America, not only into that realm, but beyond, and into a decaying despotism of a Soviet ideology that wanted no part of them. They wanted America to devour itself and to disprove the American ideology and way of life was wrong.
Through careful calculation, and playing on the racial politics and social hierarchy intrinsically linked to American fabric, the Soviets were able to be successful through a new type of warfare, a war based on perception, and mind games rather than brute force. When there is a stalemate at arms the smarter man wins, and in my story the smarter men, or for arguments sake, least compromising, were the Soviets.
The people born into the S.S.A (Soviet States of America) post Kennedy Incident, a term the inhabitants colloquially refer to The Cuban Missile Crisis as, really had to build their history and identity from stories based on the survivors, which at this point were little more than twisted cult members. Some of the now ‘Indigenous Americans’ turned out, and some turned in. I found it more fascinating to write about a man who turned out and joined a revolutionary group to discover what really happened to America and what’s going on in the rest of the world.
Through the vehicle of Maria, my Last Passion Bearer, and ultimate protagonist, we are seeing and learning all of this through Calhoun. A broken man who really learns to want to live again because of her. We are invited to his history in the S.S.A and to investigate his misconceptions as he slowly uncovers the truth.
Southlander is the introduction into my S.S.A series, and Calhoun is my Trojan Horse to bringing the audience into this world through the eyes of a fascinating and flawed character. You get introduced to players who have become POV characters in my sequel that give you a further depth into just how deep the Soviet influence goes and where other conflict arises on not just an American, but Global level.
This was a labor of passion and love and I hope you enjoy your copy of Southlander, and I invite you to come along with me on my journey as I navigate through the rest of the S.S.A saga.
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Daniel Larson was born and raised in New York City. He received the Middlebury College Book Award for excellence in writing in High School and later pursued this further as a Creative Writing Major at Bucknell University. Today, Daniel still lives in New York and you can see some of his published poems in collections put out by Eber & Wein.