On the verge of a new anthology, we are celebrating IN THE AIR with a behind the scenes view of authors and their stories. Here’s a look at DJ Tyrer and his story “Dark Air.”
ABOUT THE STORY
Tell me a little about your story and the world you’ve created.
The world is the mundane flyover states of the US, far from anywhere of apparent interest, where people are only ever passing through, just like Maisie and Jake. Having crashed their car, they head for a nearby motel only to become caught up in a series of terrifying events in the midst of a terrible storm.
What came first, the plot or the characters?
In terms of the story itself, the basic idea for the plot formed first, after which I dropped the characters into it to see what would happen. But, Maisie and Jake are in many ways an archetypal (but, hopefully not too-stereotypical) couple whose antecedents doubtless precede the story.
If you had to describe your protagonist in three words, what would they be?
Terrified city folk!
What is something about your protagonist that only you know?
Where they were driving to before their crash, and why.
Which scene was the most difficult to write and why?
Not a specific scene, but trying to foreshadow various elements of the story and build up the tension as it proceeds was the most difficult part of the writing process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m either reading or running my small press, Atlantean Publishing. Both out of interest and for research purposes, a lot of my reading is non-fiction, especially history. The reason I don’t read quite as much fiction for leisure as might be expected is that I read a lot of submissions, as well as review copies, in my editorial role.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?
That life really is, if not exactly stranger, certainly less believable than fiction for a lot of people. Almost every time an editor has rejected a story because they couldn’t sustain their suspension of disbelief the reason cited has been something that is actually real.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
It’s almost a cliché, but if you want to improve your writing, you need to read and you need to write. The more experience of writing you have, both in sampling it and doing it, the better writer you will become. Teaching and tips may help, but that is the core.
What do you think makes a good story?
I don’t think there is a single formula that can define a good story. Not only do different stories set out to achieve different things, but every reader’s subjective experience is different. It is possible to make objective statements about the quality of writing, the coherence of the plot and the story’s structure, but while those elements often go hand-in-hand with good storytelling, they are not its heart. A technically-brilliant story might not entertain, except perhaps in the conceit of its structure, while an entertaining romp might be flawed from a technical point of view yet still work perfectly. Perhaps the most that can be generalised is that the more content and form work in harmony, the better the story is likely to be.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Does it come as any surprise that the answer is an author? That, or ruler of the world. One-out-of-two isn’t bad!
What is your favorite writing tool or technique?
A pen and a blank piece of paper. Although I occasionally type a piece up from nothing, I find that writing by hand generally produces more creative results for me. Working directly onto a screen tends to feel slightly removed and stilted for a first draft.
How would you describe your general writing voice and tone?
A little cynical, a little sarcastic, a little playful, perhaps? I do like to experiment with different styles and approaches to writing, so it’s difficult to pin down a consistent voice, although I’m sure readers who have encountered my work frequently have a clearer idea than I have!
Share something fun or interesting:
DJ Tyrer appears as a character in the Sherry Hormones story The Day of the Davidians by Neil K. Henderson, which parodies the Atlantean Publishing small press (which responded by publishing the story in Neil’s booklet, Hormones A-Go-Go).
DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishingand has been widely published in anthologies and magazines around the world, such asChilling Horror Short Stories(Flame Tree), All The Petty Myths (18thWall), Steampunk Cthulhu(Chaosium), What Dwells Below(Sirens Call), The Mad Visions of al-Hazred(Alban Lake), and EOM:Equal Opportunity Madness(Otter Libris), and issues of Sirens Call, Hinnom Magazine, Ravenwood Quarterly, and Weirdbook, and in addition, has a novella available in paperback and on the Kindle, The Yellow House(Dunhams Manor).