Horror Writers Association

Veterans in Horror: Interview with Chance Fortune


Chance Fortune is an American Dark Fantasy and Horror author based out of Eugene, Oregon. Chance graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in writing and a minor in media communication. He is the author of “In the Web of the Spider Queen” now available on Amazon and KDP. Chance served ten years with the Minnesota Army National Guard and is a veteran of the global war on terror. Chance is currently querying agents for his second novel.

Tell us a bit about your military service. Years? Branch? Specialty?

I’ve spent the past ten years in the Army National Guard. I spent ten years with the state of Minnesota, responding to floods, riots, and most recently a year long tour in the Middle East. During my service I specialized as a reconnaissance scout leader.

What role, if any, did reading and writing play during your military service?

The ability to communicate clearly is so crucial in the military. As a military leader I found it necessary to accurately convey information in written reports and after action reviews so that those higher in the chain of command were able to get a clear picture of the battle space and situation from the frontlines.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always had a strong desire to create something that would matter to people. I think of how my favorite stories made me feel, and I wanted to do the same for others.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I personally just think that horror writers have the most fun. Horror really is a cross section of genre. You can do horror westerns, horror sci-fi, horror fantasy. There’s really no limit to how many different ways you can tackle horror. I’ve always been a bit fascinated with the dark and macabre. I also believe that a really good horror story can elicit a lot of different emotions from people. To me it really is the most versatile genre.

What role, if any, does your military experience play in your writing?

Interestingly, I’ve never had an interest in military horror, or horror that revolves around the military. I think through my work in the military I am able to apply a gritty realism to some of the more human aspects of my horror. I wrote a section for my first book where a murderous sheriff essentially explains the details of a sucking chest wound while his victim lays dying on the ground. Things like that I have pulled from my understanding of combat first aid. However, on a more practical level I think that my time in the military has made me task oriented and disciplined and that has kept me grounded when it’s time to sit down and write.

What is your favorite depiction of military service in all of literature? Why?

If you’d asked me a few years ago I probably would have said “Ice Station” by Matthew Reilly. However in the past few years the Terminal List series by author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr has really caught my eye. It is a series that really hits at the core of what being a service member is even at the most elite level. His subject matter knowledge of how the military works and the equipment we use also lends to the book’s authenticity. Also it is probably one of the most graphic and violent book series I have read outside of the horror genre.

How do you feel military veterans and the broader military experience has thus far been represented in the horror genre?

I think that there is some work to be done on that front. Because of Hollywood there is a very overblown bravado surrounding the portrayal of military members. I think that the audience almost demands it. I believe that writers should approach military members as unique individuals with their own interests and quirks. At the end of the day, the military is a career path that pulls from across the country and its members are diverse and varied. Military members are not the mindless drones that they’ve been portrayed as.

Who are some civilian characters in horror that you think would have made for great soldiers?

My first thought is Stu Redman from The Stand and then I remembered that he had spent some time in the military, though at a time when being in the military was a very different experience. I think in the modern U.S. military Stu Redman would make an excellent leader.

Who are some military veteran horror authors you recommend our audience check out?

I’m sad to say that none come to mind right now. Maybe this spotlight will help me find a few!

What’s something about veterans most people don’t know?

There is a massive nerd culture within the veteran community. During my tour overseas, when we weren’t training or out on mission a group of us were playing Dungeons and Dragons. I still play once a month with a group of people I served with.

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