I finally coaxed reclusive genius J. Dane Tyler into doing an interview with me. The only thing is that he refused to do it live, so I had to improvise.
The auto-generated speech can bit a bit hard to understand at times, so here’s the transcript of the interview:
BB = Bryce Beattie
JDT = J.Dane Tyler
Here we go:
BB: Tell me something about yourself that nobody knows.
JDT: Well, I can’t tell you something about myself nobody knows… I mean, my wife knows absolutely everything about me, whether good, bad or ugly. So the best I can do is tell you something YOU don’t know about me.
How ’bout this: The reason I use a pseudonym online is to prevent people who might be looking for me from finding me with my legal name. So I don’t exist anywhere on the Internet under my legal name, at all.
That’s pretty secretive, right?
BB: I always figured that it was because you were hiding from the law. How come you write horror instead of harry potter fan fics?
JDT: Why do I write horror? I fell in love with horror and scary stories a long, long time ago. I knew after reading Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jones and later Stephen King, I’d never want to write anything else.
The trick is, I don’t feel my stuff is horror-ific enough. (Horrible enough?) I always want that edge-of-the-seat, sleep-with-the-light-on images in someone’s mind. I want them … well, afraid.
I’ve never even read a Harry Potter book. And I daresay, I never will.
BB: How about a Twilight fanfic then?
JDT: Twilight fan fic? That’s blasphemy in my horror religion. No sparkly vampires. Even The Count (AHAHAH) from Sesame Street didn’t sparkle. No way. Uh-uh.
BB: What was the last horror novel/story that you read? Was it any good?
JDT: The last horror novel I read was… either Horns by Joe Hill (King), or Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett. I guess the New Thing for authors is to use three names, so I’d better come up with one for the “J.” in mine if I want to sell.
While it’s not a horror novel, per se, I loved Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Really great stuff. Her prose is so clean and crisp. Almost like Amy Tan’s stuff. Amy Tan, btw, is one of the authors I admire most in the world, from just a sheer prose standpoint. It’s powerful, poignant, clear and sharp. She’s amazing, and has the power to make even someone from another culture understand hers. Feel hers, actually.
BB: Speaking of feelings, what are you afraid of?
JDT: Heights. And spiders. Definitely heights and spiders. I’m both acrophobic and arachnophobic.
BB: You know, I watched the movie arachnophobia as a kid and to this day I check for spiders before sitting on the toilet. Idea: You should write a story about a guy who is chased off a cliff by a pack of giant spiders.
JDT: Yeah, Arachnophobia had a pretty potent affect on me, too. I wasn’t a kid, of course, but I’m still not a fan of spiders. I saw this movie called “The Believers” or something like that with Martin Sheen where a woman had spiders come out of her face. Her FACE. Ugh.
Something about GIANT spiders makes them kind of comical. Sort of “8-Legged Freaks” comical, y’know? I think I’ll stay with those that lay eggs in your ear while you sleep. Or in your hair. Or in your rectum. I dunno.
BB: I think rectum spiders would be a good name for a band…
BB: Tell me about your short story collections.
JDT: My short story collections are just that: collections of stuff I wrote which I knew wouldn’t find a home anywhere. At least, not while I was unknown. Or fame-challenged, as it were. Knowing how anthologies get accumulated (by request, generally, unless you’re Stephen King), I figured the only hope I had was to self-publish. When the Kindle store started allowing authors to self-publish to the Kindle platform, I knew that was for me.
The stories are just little pieces from my blog. Some are more novella-length, up to 20,000 words I think, but most of them are in the 1,000 to 10,000 range. I like the short story; I always have. It lets the author get to the point, focus on the particular scene or vignette of choice, and put in as much impact as you can manage. I think it’s a fantastic way to sharpen scene-writing skills, and a good way to develop story-structure analysis skills, too.
I tried my hand at a “World War Z” style, zombie-apocalypse vignette, a ghost story, and just any weird thing which came to mind. A lot of them started life as “Flash Fiction” pieces for my fiction blog, where I participated in the Twitter #FridayFlash… uh… thing. You write a piece of 1,000 words or less, tweet the link and add your story to a collector on http://madutopia.com. It’s pretty fun, and it kept me writing. Only a thousand words at a time, but it kept my hand on the keyboard. So it worked well.
BB: When is the world going to get a chance to read your fully-edited ghost hunting novel?
JDT: I wish I knew. As my ability grew behind the scenes (meaning, even though I wasn’t writing I was getting better all the time without even knowing it — how, I have no idea), my distance from the story grew. When I finally returned to editing it, I was able to slash HUGE chunks of wasted prose out of it. Useless scenes, stuff that didn’t forward the story at all, things like that. When I finished, the front part of the story was tight and concise and short, and the back? Well, the back end didn’t survive much at all.
I guess I started writing more as a serial for my deviantART page and blog than I did as a story, and that shows in the final hacking edits.
When? When I either go back and fix it, or go back and re-edit and have some mercy on it. I can’t say which will come first. I wanted to have a trilogy ready for either submission to agents or as Kindle-platform ebooks. But my computer died at the end of last year, and it took me a while to get a new one. In the meantime, I haven’t had time to recover my data — not to mention not having the means — and it’s tough to squeeze it all in with a family and new job and all.
But you know how that goes, don’t you?
BB: Anything else you want to add? Now’s your big chance to say anything you want.
JDT: Can’t think of anything.
BB: Okay. Thanks for stopping by.
JDT: Thanks. This was fun.
If you have a kindle, you can obtain out Dane’s short story collections at the links below. You can also check out his blog.Â http://jdanetyler.wordpress.com/