Kurt Schlichter doesn’t pull any punches with his unabashedly conservative columns.
The first paragraphs alone should come with “trigger warnings” for delicate readers. Is it any surprise the same can be said of his first two novels?
Last year, Schlichter made his fiction debut with the self-published “People’s Republic.” It’s a chilling tale of a divided America literally split in two.
“Indian Country” takes place prior to his debut’s timeline. The United States just suffered a violent, bloody division. The red and blue states are still learning how to live side by side. It’s not easy.
Enter Kelly Turnbull, a patriot tasked with prepping ordinary Americans to resist the increasing fascism installed by the blue state government.
AKA the People’s Republic.
HiT checked in with Schlichter to find the inspiration behind the prequel and the man who convinced him to write fiction in the first place.
HiT: You’ve been writing for some time for a variety of outlets. Why did you decide to take up fiction with “People’s Republic?”
Kurt Schlichter: Andrew Breitbart. He saw that we needed to get out and compete in the culture by creating cultural products people would enjoy – without a leftist sucker punch. I always liked thrillers, so why not?
HiT: You can feel so many headlines influencing your new book, “Indian Country.” Was there a particular news meme/narrative that convinced you a prequel was the right way to expand your original story? Or did you have a prequel already in mind while writing “People’s Republic?”
SCHLICHTER: I always thought I could return to this post-break-up America world – I had more to say and had some ideas about where I could go next. I do think the rapid descent into pure fascism of the left spurred me on.
HiT: Writers often say they don’t want their political views to overwhelm the story. (And sometimes their actual work doesn’t reflect that…) Yet right from the first few pages your conservatism shines through in “Indian Country.” And the story’s entertainment value doesn’t suffer as a result. Can you briefly talk about your approach and do you think it’s a method other conservative storytellers should follow?'Today, when it comes to progressives, truth is stupider than fiction.' - Kurt SchlichterClick To Tweet
SCHLICHTER: Write something people will enjoy. It can’t be any plainer. I don’t expect anyone to read my stuff out of some sort of conservative solidarity – there’s nothing less conservative than subsidizing failure. I want people to close the book and want the next one. Tell a solid story, throw in some laughs, some action, some surprises, and give people value. Be a good storyteller first; worry about being conservative second.
HiT: If I had read “Indian Country” three years ago I might have laughed off some of the story elements in play — like the 24/7 identity politics embraced by blue state denizens. What might have been forced satire a short time ago now reads as prophetic. Did you find it hard to satirize elements that are so farcical on the surface in 2017?
SCHLICHTER: Yeah, my problem was that I was trying to show the ridiculousness at the bottom of the slippery slope as I was being overcome by events. Today, when it comes to progressives, truth is stupider than fiction.
HiT: Here’s the hokey author question — did you have an actor in mind while coming up with Kelly Turnbull? If not, is there a modern star who could bring him to life on a small or large screen?
SCHLICHTER: I can see a few – I think Adam Baldwin (when acting) has the kind of looming menace Turnbull has. But if you read carefully, I never really describe Turnbull except that he’s tough. That’s on purpose. He has no color, no ethnicity. He’s American. So everyone can visualize the character themselves and be on-target.
HiT: For years conservatives complained they can’t get their foot in the door of the creative arts. Hollywood is too liberal. Book publishers may be less eager to share their stories. Today, we have self-publishing, YouTube, IndieGoGo and other places where the creative bars to entry have been lowered. Do you think we’ll see a flood of young, talented conservatives contributing their content to the culture? If not, why not?
SCHLICHTER: Hollywood as we used to know it even a few years ago is changing, as are all aspects of pop culture. Technology is opening up the process so the old gatekeepers are fading in power.
Look at “Indian Country.” I published traditionally with an agent and a publishing house [with past non-fiction tomes]; for the novels, I never even considered that route because this gives me absolute control, greater speed and better terms than traditional publishing. But the book is selling by the thousands.
Sure, if a publisher came to me, I’d listen – but they need to bring their checkbook because this shows we don’t need them. I’m not dissing the industry – it’s just me and other conservatives don’t necessarily need to be a part of it unless it’s to both side’s advantage, not just the publisher or studio or whatever.
HiT: Can you share any news about a follow-up novel?
SCHLICHTER: The next one is going to be after “People’s Republic” and we’ll see the blue states go full Venezuela. After that, I might do something different before coming back to write up the novel covering the break up of the country – if real life doesn’t beat me to it!
“Indian Country” is available now via Amazon.com.