Hello, I’m Steve Stred, and this is… (BOM BOM BOOOOOOAAAAAAMMMMMMBBBB) 3Q’s.
Today’s guest joins me at a time when the world is influx, the NHL season has started, the MLB playoffs are in full swing and his books are flying off shelves.
That’s right – I’m talking about none-other-than (BOM BOM BOOOOOOAAAMMMMMBBBBBB) Tyler Jones.
I connected with Tyler when his debut, ‘Criterium,’ arrived and his fiction has a way of infecting your soul.
Please, do welcome (BOM BOM BOOOOOAAAMMMMBBB) Tyler!
Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Tyler: It’s changed a lot over the years. The first ten (or maybe more) books I wrote were done in stolen hours after my kids fell asleep. I’d think of the story all day at work, and then the words would come rushing out when I finally sat down at the computer.
These days, my schedule is much more intentional. Writing time has become an important and protected part of my day. I’m incredibly blessed that my wife supports and encourages me to hide away for hours at a time and tell spooky stories.
On a good day, I get up early and spend an hour or two before the kids wake up attending to the more “business” side of writing. Emails, interviews, scheduling etc. After the kids go to school, I’ll get at least three hours of solid writing done. No music, no distractions. Around noon I’ll break to have lunch with my wife, run errands, do work around the house, and maybe a little reading. I’ll try to fit in another hour before school lets out, and if I’m really caught up in a story, I’ll steal another hour at night.
I keep a close eye on how many words I’m writing, but it’s more to feel a sense of progress on a day to day basis.
Depending on where I’m at in a project, that “writing” time might actually be editing or rewriting or note taking.
Steve: You decide to host a writer’s retreat. One weekend in a luxury house on an island. What three other authors do you invite to come along?
Tyler: Only three? Well, this means I have to be selfish. No room for friends on this retreat. First, I’d invite Thomas Pynchon. I assume he wouldn’t come, but in this scenario, let’s just say he does. Why Pynchon? Besides the obvious (no one knows what he looks like, he doesn’t do interviews, and he’s written some of the craziest books in American literature), because I’d love to have a conversation with him about anything other than writing. We already have the books. I don’t want to know his process. I’m fine believing he performs some kind of sorcery, or goes into a trance and auto-writes stories telegraphed from the future. I just think it would be cool to hang out and chat with him, get his thoughts on the world, on society. I’d love to discuss Edward Snowden, government surveillance, privacy in the digital age, UFOs, and the JFK assassination. And he seems like he’d be a fun guest. I mean, he voiced himself on The Simpsons and his character wore a paper bag on his head.
Second would be David Mitchell. His prose is electricity in my brain. His novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet is one of my favorites of all time. I didn’t read that book so much as live in it. And I really admire all the effort he and his wife put into getting the book The Reason I Jump out into the world.
Last, would be Joe Hill. To those who know me, this will not be a surprise. I love Joe’s writing. His prose, his stories, his ideas—especially all the big ones lurking behind the smaller ones.
I imagine this writing retreat being one where we all go our separate ways during the day and write our stories. But once the sun goes down we’d gather in the dining room for dinner, then move to the massive library where we’d drink wine and talk into the early morning.
Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Tyler: Earlier this year my horror collection ‘Burn the Plans’ was released. Fifteen stories that contain ghosts, bloodthirsty machines, witches, ghosts, dark family secrets, and mysteries that touch the edge of the cosmos. Two stories in the book, “Trigger” and “Full Fathom Five” are my favorites of anything I’ve written. If you’re looking for stories that are character and concept driven, and don’t hesitate to run headfirst into the dark…then grab a match and set your plans on fire with me.
I’ve got a new story called “Trip Sideways” that’s in the anthology Campfire Macabre 2, which also includes tons of other great writers/friends.
In a couple months Thunderstorm Books will release a special edition collection called Turn Up the Sun, which combines four novellas (Criterium, Enter Softly, The Dark Side of the Room, and Along the Shadow) into one volume, along with a brand-new novella that takes place in the Criterium world. My good friend Ryan Mills did the cover art and it’s stunning.
My story “Who Built the Moon?” will be appearing on the Tales to Terrify podcast later this year as well.
A new novella called Heavy Oceans will be released by Dark Lit Press in Spring 2023. It’s a cross between The Mist and Nope. A bloody, bonkers good time.
And last, my novel Midas will be released in October 2023 by Earthling Publications. It’s about a man mourning the death of his son, and he stumbles across a cave that contains the power to transform anything into solid gold. This puts him on a collision course with a violent cult leader who has been searching for the power for years. This book means a lot to me, and I’m absolutely thrilled it found such a good home.
Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?
Tyler: Victor Frankenstein, without question. That book is somewhere in my DNA, and so is he as a character. A tragic figure who follows his ambition across a line he didn’t even know existed. And that mistake, along with an act of cowardice, set in motion a series of events that lead to death after death, loss after loss, until Victor is a just a haunted shell of a man, obsessively trying to destroy what he’d created.
That book is one of the most haunting stories every written. It contains so much, and I’d love to unpack the details surrounding a life suffocated by guilt. I’m sure he’d have some unique insights. If he’d survived that book, I bet he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from creating again. A man like that…he’d have to. You know he’d be thinking, “I can get it right this time.”
Excellent reason! Thank you so much, Tyler and best of luck with all you have going on!
To find more of his work, check the links!