Interview with D.A. Heiserman

February’s most-read author is new to the craft. D.A. Heiserman’s “Level Cap” garnered an impressive 1400 reads throughout the month.

Heiserman’s story tackled the growing social problem of online gaming addiction. Though a player of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGS) such as World of Warcraft, he chose to illustrate the dangers of turning one’s back on the real world in favour of the virtual.

Interview with D A Heiserman

EDF: What should people expect when they see a story with your byline under it?

DAH: Something they aren’t used to. Like with this story I like to try and explore uncommon themes or elements in my stories.

EDF: Your bio was very short, and a quick Google search reveals very little about D.A. Heiserman, the writer. Please tell us a little more about yourself.

DAH: I am currently a second year English major at the University of Northern Iowa. I actually wrote the story as part of a beginning fiction writing class and submitted the story on the suggestion of my professor. As a writer I’m still very much getting my start. I wrote a youth column in my local paper in high school and also did some fiction writing on my own at the same time, but for the most part I’m still just getting my start.

EDF: Where can people go to find more of your fiction?

DAH: Honestly, the only other place people will be able to find my fiction would be on a small smattering of fan sites for the Legend of Zelda video game series. The only other stories I’ve ever had put up online were some very juvenile pieces of fan fiction I wrote when I was in Middle School. So, for the time being, at least as far as fiction is concerned, “Level Cap” is it.

EDF: Your story “Level Cap” portrayed online games like World of Warcraft in a negative, but poignant light. What is your opinion on the effect these kinds of games have on society.

DAH: I actually like to think that the story is not so much a negative commentary on Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games (such as WoW) so much as it is a story about the unraveling of a life and the character’s flight from the real world. I personally am a very avid and passionate gamer and really see MMO’s as just another type of game. While I don’t currently play any myself, I do have several friends who play MMO’s quite actively and without any ill effects at all (beyond the loss of their free time, which would probably just be spent hanging out or playing other video games anyway). On the whole, I see MMO’s as being a perfectly acceptable form of recreation that nevertheless can be dangerous if not enjoyed responsibly, hence my juxtaposition in the story of Maxwell’s experiences with the games with his abuse of alcohol which I view in the same light. Anything can be deadly when taken to excess.

EDF: Your story was a blend of the fantastic and the mundane. Is this your usual style? Where you do get your inspiratin?

DAH: As I said earlier in the interview, I’m really still exploring myself as a writer and haven’t really hit on a style that I think of as definitively “mine” just yet. The style of the story was influenced by a mythology class I took in high school in which we studied the mead hall stories of the Anglo-Saxons, a style mostly concerned with glorifying the deeds and traits of their subjects. I thought that that was the sort of style you would use to describe a character like Galandar, a style that would be at home in his world and that at the same time would highlight the stark differences between the two characters. In the end it was just what felt right for this particular story. As for the story itself, the story of the MMO gamer who “plays themself to death” is not an unfamiliar one to those who monitor gaming news (even though it is more often a problem in Asian countries than in the West) and has always sort of been rattling around in the back of my head and so when I was trying to come up with an idea for a story late one night, the image of a lonely game avatar standing alone on a hill while its player lay dead inches away from him was the image that popped into my head and it went from there.

EDF: What has been your best moment as a writer so far? Your worst?

DAH: I would have to say that getting my story published here on Every Day Fiction is one of my best moments as a writer. It’s one thing to have a professor give you a good grade on a story or a have a friend tell you that a story is wonderful, but those two experiences are nothing like as validating as having someone you don’t know, who doesn’t know you or any of your other work, tell you that your story is good enough for them to want to publish and share with other people. As far as my worst moments as a writer, I’d have to say that my worst moment as a writer was realizing that I had turned in a horribly proofread article to my editor that got published as was when I writing for my local paper. That was very embarrassing.

EDF: What is next for you as a writer?

DAH: Right now I’m in a class on writing creative non-fiction so I’m currently exploring that. I hope to continue to writing flash fiction on my own, and to hopefully work on and complete a few projects that I’ve been toying with for a few years.

EDF: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview.

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