Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reader Meet Author

J.A. Tyler

No matter how long you have been writing or painting or making music, even creative outlets require disciplined attention. You need to set goals and limits as you shift your focus perhaps from hobby to profession. It's true that you can not schedule inspiration or creative, but you can focus harder at certain times or place yourself in a setting to create each day. The important part is that you work on your writing or painting each day regardless of the outcome.

As I look through print and on-line journals the one name that I see more often than any other is that of J.A. Tyler. In 2008, he had 139 stories accepted for publication, and I can only image that number will continue to grow this year. His short fiction is captivating and refreshingly original. In addition to that he runs the lit journal Mud Luscious and ML Press. He is also a web editor for Pindeldyboz, a reviewer for Rural Messengers Press, manager of The Trench: A New Play Development Series, & an editorial intern for Dzanc Books.
Recently, J.A. Tyler was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): The word prolific really doesn't even begin to describe your activity in 2008. You clearly have no problem getting published on-line and in fact you run an on-line journal yourself, but do you feel their is still cache or validity to getting a story or poem in print?
J.A. Tyler (JT): Absolutely. I am honored to be included in any journal, but there is a special thrill to holding the printed page, opening the mail or breaking the binding. cache and validity, most definitely.

OA: How often do you sit down to write? I don't have nearly as much going on as you do, but I have to be very structured with my time. Do you find time management and writing coincide?
JT: I have a word count I try and attend to on a daily basis, 1000 – 1500 words, and I do it basically whenever / wherever I can. between things, before things, after things. if it is a heavy editing day, on the cusp of ml press design proofs, a new mud luscious issue, or other editorial reading, I sometimes push the writing off, but I double it the next day and move ahead. I also teach, so the summer is particularly nice, allows me to structure and manage my time a bit more concretely, several hours in the morning and then on to everything else.

OA: I love the cover of your new chapbook on Achilles, Everyone In This Is Either Dying Or Will Die Or Is Thinking of Death. How did you get involved with Barry and Achilles, and what has the experience been like? Any thoughts on Sam Pink in general are also welcomed?
JT: I had a flash posted with his dogzplot site, and then a short story later on. we emailed and talked writing, and he happened to mention the arrival of paperhero press / the achilles chapbook series. and of course as any good writer does, I read up. I liked the look of what barry was doing, and he liked my work enough to invite me in. from that point on it has been a great collaborative effort – barry has checked in with me on all aspects of editing and design, and he has worked tirelessly to promote and publicize the collection.

as for sam pink and his brilliant cover, I saw the artwork originally posted on his blog and suggested to barry that it would be a fantastic fit with the book. sam ended up creating several for us to choose from, but in the end this original ‘angela lansbury in decay’ was the one.

in terms of sam pink the writer, I am excited to watch his future moves. ml press recently published his piece BE NICE TO EVERYONE and he was a delight to work with – accepting of edits and completely punctual and professional in terms of design. his work has a twist that not everyone enjoys, but I feel that he grows with each new piece he publishes – YUM YUM is more scattered in terms of focus than I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF – and no doubt his next extended work will be even greater.

OA: What can you tell us about Someone, Somewhere? I don't see anything on the Ghost Road Press site, when is it scheduled for release?
JT: SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will be one of two novellas published by ghost road press in 2009. for me, it was a work intended as the biography of a man who hasn’t done anything, accomplished anything, or even lived, but as it grew and expanded it became the story of how lives intersect and connect, how families and their words exist, doubling and re-doubling back on themselves. its official release date is july 2009.

OA: How are things with Mud Luscious? What is the biggest challenge of running an on-line lit journal?
JT: In all honesty, there is no challenge with my work on mud luscious. submissions grow monthly and the pieces we are getting test and push our concepts of language with every issue. and we have now expanded to print with the ml press series – single author, unpublished works of less than 1000 words in a small chapbook form, run in a single limited printing of 50-75 copies each, and released three volumes per month. this has allowed us the phenomenal opportunity to work with and contribute to the writing of such tremendous authors as michael kimball, blake butler, norman lock, brian evenson, shane jones, peter markus, ken sparling, david ohle, and a slew of others. very exciting stuff, all of it.

OA: What's next for J.A. Tyler?
JT: I have two full-length projects finishing up now: GIRL WITH OARS & MAN DYING, a short novel written in flash segments and focusing on last breaths and loss, and MOTHER FATHER BOY GIRL GIRL, a longer novel centered on the strength of a woman who, while building life on the kansas prairie, watches her family members nod in and out like daily sun and wheat. both of these works are in the final stages of writing / re-writing and have excerpts up in several journals (linked at
on the editing front I stay busy as an intern for dzanc books, a web editor for pindeldyboz, a reviewer with rural messengers press as well as keeping up with quarterly issues of mud luscious and looking forward to the next six-month stretch of ml press. hectic and good in all aspects.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, where can you find the best cup in your area?
JT: yes, yes, yes. the eco-friendly bean cycle here makes a fantastic cup. and the alley cat is open 24-hours a day, so you are never left wanting.

OA: What type of music do you enjoy and who are a few of your favorites?
JT: I am into a little of everything, but right now I am hooked on say hi to your mom, great lake swimmers, jukebox the ghost, kaiser chiefs, kevin devine, and cold war kids.
For more information on J.A. Tyler please visit his website.

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