Hello, and welcome to our latest series of author interviews. The long anticipated anthology "Altered Europa" will be coming out on April 2, 2017 (ORDER YOUR COPY HERE)! In preparation for this grand release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.
Today I'm interviewing DJ Tyrer, who contributed the solo story The Archers.
MTI: Starting off, for those readers who haven't run into you before, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
DJ TYRER: I’m the person behind the Atlantean Publishing small press, based in Southend-on-Sea in the UK, which has been going for two decades, and am a writer and poet who’s had work in a number of anthologies and magazines.
MTI: Now, the next question I generally ask contributors is this; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
DJT: I’ve always done it and would be doing it even if I wasn’t being published. The bulk of my writing tends to be horror fiction, but my favourite is whatever I’m writing right now; I like to try my hand at different types of story, even if the result isn’t always successful.
MTI: If you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
DJT: That’s a tough one! Starting out, it would’ve been Tolkien. Then, Lovecraft became a major influence upon my work (and still is). But, probably it’s R.W. Chambers, whose Yellow Mythos has become a regular playground for my own writing, and the inspiration for my most successful fiction.
MTI: Your story, The Archers., appears in Altered Europa, an anthology devoted to alternate history and altered reality. Tell us a little bit more about this contribution, particularly, how does it deviate from known history?
DJT: The story had its inception in the claim that, when the British railways moved from steam to diesel, the government stockpiled the steam engines in hidden tunnels for use in the event of nuclear war. The deviation from known history takes place during NATO's Able Archer military exercises. As in reality, the Soviets believe them to be the prelude to an attack on the Communist bloc – only, in my story, they launch a preemptive nuclear strike. While they nuke the NATO military forces in Europe, their attack on Britain is restricted to a high-altitude detonation causing an electromagnetic pulse that puts a lot of modern technology out of use. The arrival of a steam train is both the symbolic and literal start of a return to normality, although it proves a fraught journey.
MTI: If you could go back to any point in time and change any historical event to create an "altered" world, what would you choose to change?
DJT: To be honest, I don’t know if I would. There are certainly things I wish had been different, but having no way of knowing what the knock-on effects of any change would be, there’s no way to know if even the most positive-seeming changes wouldn’t lead to something worse. I doubt this is the best-possible world, but it could probably be a lot worse.
MTI: For further pondering, if a wormhole leading to an alternate reality suddenly appeared in front of you, would you dare to take the plunge and discover what awaits on the other side?
DJT: I suspect I might just wuss out, but curiosity might just get the better of me and pull me through!
MTI: Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
DJT: Primarily, I’m focused on stories and poetry for submission to anthologies, along with a ‘fictional non-fiction’ booklet for my Buxton University Press imprint. I’ve got a long list of projects I want to get to work on, but my plans to focus December and January on writing a novel were derailed by the discovery of a damp and mould problem that has had me spending an inordinate amount of time on drying and salvaging books. Still, I’ve learnt a surprising amount about mould and it’s inspired a couple of stories and poems, so it’s not all bad!
MTI: Other than your work appearing in Altered Europa, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
DJT: I’ve just had a novella, Different Masks, published across two issues of The Yellow Sign magazine (Rainfall Books). I’ve got stories in forthcoming issues of Xnoybis, Dunhams Destroys Lovecraft and Frostfire Worlds, amongst others, and anthologies such as What Dwells Below (Sirens Call Publishing) and More Bizarro Than Bizarro (Bizarro Pulp Press).
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
DJT: I don’t watch much TV, but I do enjoy Death In Paradise. In watch a lot of DVDs and recently discovered Big Love.
MTI: Ah, yes, I've heard interesting things about Big Love. So sad about Bill Paxton passing recently. Now, how about music?
DJT: Very little recent music has caught my attention (The Handsome Family and Meghan Trainor being the main exceptions), although my tastes cover a ridiculously-wide range.
MTI: Can you name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?
DJT: Murder By Death would be first, as it’s one I rewatch a lot. Addams Family Values, definitely. The third would probably be Franklyn, as it rewards rewatching as I seem to notice something new each time.
MTI: Readers love samples. Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?
A sudden jolt wrenched me awake. Despite the discomfort of the carriage, somehow I had managed to fall asleep on the wide red-leather seat, although my dreams, nebulous as they were, hadn’t been pleasant. I seldom remember the details of my dreams, but I could recall a shadowy figure looming over me with a bloody knife in hand. I shivered at the thought, despite the warmth of the day.
Clearly we had left the highway. From the way in which the carriage rattled along, lurching and bouncing, the road that we now took hadn’t been maintained in years. That meant we were likely drawing near to our destination, which was deep in the middle of nowhere.
I was on my own in the carriage, the coachman being seated up top. My parents had decided to send me away to stay with my cousins in the country due to the war. Father was in the army and Mother was doing some sort of important war work. Most of the servants had left to fight or work in the factories. From what I recalled, it had been said that the country was safer than the city. Not that I knew the details, it was also rather hazy. I couldn’t recall ever having met Camilla and Cassilda; something about their names made me think that they must be an obnoxious pair whom I would hate. I wasn’t looking forward to my stay.
Feeling curious, I leant my head and shoulders out of the carriage window. It was marvellous to feel the breeze on my face and whipping back my hair. We were passing a bright-yellow field of rape that looked amazing in the golden sunlight. The rape was the same colour as the dress I had on, my best, the one Father had given me for my birthday, and of the bow in my hair. It was also the colour of the house that came into view a moment later as we crested a hill. It was an oddly garish colour to paint an otherwise grand house. I had heard someone call it The Yellow House, but hadn’t really given any consideration to what the name implied. I didn’t particularly like the look of the building, although I couldn’t really pinpoint why.
My novella, The Yellow House, is available on the Kindle and in paperback from Amazon
MTI: A truly tempting sample! Thank you for this insightful interview. Those who wish to read more of Mr. Tyrer’s work can pick up a copy of Altered Europa!