Episode 72A – TW Piperbrook – Alive Again

Clip

Overview

Tyler lives with his family in Connecticut and has been writing for about 10 years. Yes, he is full time with his apocalyptic fiction.

Like many authors, he also plays music besides writing. He and I talked hair metal for awhile – until he lost power.

His writing career started when he was 10 and submitted manuscripts to publishers

Website

http://twpiperbrook.com/

His Book

Some Favorites

The Book Barn:

https://www.bookbarnniantic.com/

YouTube

Transcript

[00:00:37] Stephen: Hey, all welcome to episode 72 of discovered wordsmiths. Today. I’ve got TW paper Brook and he writes dystopian fiction and we had a really good conversation.

Mostly about hair metal. We both liked to hair metal and we were getting so intense in our hair metal discussion that he lost power. Maybe that wasn’t the reason, but, I just wanted to say it is now [00:01:00] fall. I love fall that the snow is going to be coming. I know a lot of you hate that, but not me.

I love snow. I can’t wait. So I’m very excited these next couple of months, I’ve got a lot of great interviews coming and it’s a great time of year for me. So be. Fun couple of months. And as a reminder, please, if you’ve been listening to the podcast or if it’s your first time, please go to your favorite podcast app and give us a give us a review, give us some stars, a thumbs up, whatever it helps others discover.

And the more people that discover the podcast, the more new authors are being discovered and read. And that’s the goal here. We want our authors to get the recognition that they deserve. Also, we have a YouTube channel, check that out if you like listening to things on YouTube at us, into the playlist, subscribe to us there.

Without further ado, here’s. Tyler welcome. Today’s discover wordsmiths. Great talking to you again. Face-to-face if not in the same room like we were before, how are you [00:02:00] doing?

[00:02:00] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. Good. How are you doing? Thanks for having me on.

[00:02:03] Stephen: Yeah, it’s great to see you again. Oh, sorry. I think we got a bit of a lag.

If I over-talk top you. I apologize. I’ll try not. Sure. Okay. So to get started, we want to find out a little bit about you. So tell everybody a little bit about yourself things you like to do, where you live outside of writing, things like that.

[00:02:22] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. Gotcha. Again, I’m TW Piper, Brooker, Tyler Piper, Brooke.

I live in Connecticut. So on the Northeast here got a wife and a son and a crazy little shit too dog I’ve been writing for well full-time for about eight and a half years, I think now. But yeah, as far as what I like to do. Outside of writing. I’m also a guitarist and a vocalist. So I think me and you had talked to eighties, hair metal a little bit.

Yeah. I love all that stuff.

[00:02:48] Stephen: Yup. We push past the metal guys and we just went with the hair glam stuff to get them.

[00:02:54] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. I like all that stuff. I like, I do the harder metal too and punk rock and just regular rock and all that stuff [00:03:00] too. But yeah. So I’ve been in a band in the past too. I guess other artistic pursuits.

And then I like hiking and I guess I’m in a fairly good place for it in the Northeast here. There’s I’m right near a river. And we’ve got like a lot of those rail trails around, that used to be like the train tracks. They turn them into walking or biking trails so I can be seen frequenting them and dreaming up my plots there.

[00:03:21] Stephen: Nice. That’s good inspiration. So what got you into writing? You’ve been doing this a lot longer than most of the people I talk to. And how did it turn into a full-time gig for you?

[00:03:31] TW Piperbrook: Yeah, so I I’ve been writing, ever since I was a kid, I think I was one of, I don’t know if I’m one of the rare people, whatever, but I’ve always known that I want to be a writer since I was like eight or 10 years old.

Like I just love books. I loved reading. I remember in my elementary school, They used to have this some kind of machine or something that would make books. Like we could make our own like fake books and they’d almost stitch together the spines or something, and then print them out on the old school computers.

And we, the pages would go in there and I had like illustrations in there. [00:04:00] And so I don’t know that every school had that program, but so literally we were making books when I was in like second, third, fourth grade at this old elementary school, really into reading. And actually I used to submit to publishers when I was like 10 years old, the old trad publishers back in the eighties and early nineties.

So I would, I had a typewriter then we never had a computer at my house, but I later got a word processor, but at the beginning I would type up my stories type up, send a self-addressed stamped envelope and everything and publishers when I was 10. And then I would get you wait whatever, however many months, but they, maybe because of my age, I would actually get responses back, like personalized response.

From Bantam or penguin or, whoever. And they’re like, oh, you’re, you’re very talented for a 10 year old, but we’re not going to make an offer to publish at this time. And, your character was really interesting. And so they had to like some cool feedback back then, but obviously I, I wasn’t published at that time but I always knew that’s what I wanted to do.

And then, life moved on and, I got into music and went to college. Actually. I did major in English. So I have a bachelor’s in English and a marketing minor. I knew it would [00:05:00] be a rough road to try to get into writing full-time because back then it was, basically traditional publishers was the only route to take.

So I was going to teach at one point and then I just went into some other corporate gigs. So fast forward to about 2011, I was working at a fortune 500 company as a business systems analyst. We were very busy as most companies are and 70 hour weeks. Mergers. And, I was flying out to various business trips and trying to integrate different companies in our systems and whatever, and it was crazy.

And I said, why am I not doing what I wanted to do since I was eight or 10 years old? Like, why am I not writing? I think I was 34 at that point. And I said, I got to figure out how to make this happen. So I had that in the back of my mind. And then we had a work Christmas party at a.

And I think it was December, 2011 and they had a grab bag table there, and there’s all these like prizes you could win or whatever. And on that table was an Amazon Kindle. And so I was walking around and I was looking at the prizes and I saw it at Kindle. I was like, man, that’d be, I don’t have a kid.

That’d be really cool to [00:06:00] get that. Cause I love reading still of all the people that were there that day I won the Kindle. So it’s like just a random thing that just, and so I got into. And I, I started reading authors and then that

[00:06:11] Stephen: tells you something.

[00:06:13] TW Piperbrook: Yeah it seems like it was a sign, so I started reading all these books on the Kindle and I was a big horror fan back from my childhood. I’d read king and Coons and all that. And Christopher pike was an author. I liked back then, too. So you know, so I started rediscovering some of the new works on the Kindle, and then I started poking around.

And somehow I figured out that some of these people were indie authors. And I stumbled upon the Amazon keyboards the writer’s cafe. And this is, 20 11, 20 12. And I saw like all these threads from writers that they were starting to do things full time. Like they were, they would have like lists of the 50,000 sold club, the a hundred thousand sold club.

And there’d be all these names and it would say the genre. So it’d be like romance a hundred thousand sold zombie 50,000. So I was like, are you kidding me? I was like, this is crazy. These people are actually, you’re able to just [00:07:00] publish on the. So I, that was it for me. I read I remember the summer of 2012.

I want to vacation to Cape Cod with the family. And I was laying in bed at night on my Kindle reading cue, how he’s wool. And I said this is, first of all, this is just an amazing story. And I turned to the wife and I said, give me a year and I’m going to do this full-time I told her, we should maybe it’s too much ambition at the time.

But I started getting back into the road. And then I published my first book and my first series in October, 2012. And I went full time May 1st, 2013. So about eight, I think eight and nine months later. But it wasn’t, that’s may sound like I was like, his success came slower, sales came slow.

Like it was, I probably leaped left before I should have, I could just see, this is a possibility and I think that was enough. Gives me the drive to just give it a try. So I probably left too early into the full-time, so don’t get me wrong,

[00:07:52] Stephen: but that’s cool though. I like to hear that, that one of the reasons I started the whole podcast.

Because you see [00:08:00] online, a lot of these people, oh, you know what? I just had my best month ever. It was $400,000 in the first two days of the month. And all this big money and I’m selling this and I’ve been doing, and I’m looking at it going, I can barely even get my first book done. So there was a disconnect.

So that’s why I started this podcast because I think. Author’s hearing about other authors who have struggled to get there, who have worked or gotten just one book out. That’s more of an inspiration sometimes, Hey, if they can do it, I can do it type thing. That’s why I love to hear, I haven’t talked to many people who started back then except Jay and a few others, but most of my authors are still one book type thing.

So it’s good to hear somebody who started back.

[00:08:44] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. It was it was good timing I guess, because it was early days, but at the same time, like I said, when I published my first book, it was like, sales were a trickle, if that, so it’s it took it, it was a very slow build in one sense, because like it took, I had to released another book and then, you start to do the [00:09:00] marketing on the first book free or whatever, and then you start to see things pick up.

So for me, it was more like, I can see that it’s possible. Type of thing versus you’ll hear like a wool or somebody or the marsh and where it’s just like immediate, said that but that was, but it was inspirational, so I think just knowing something as possible, I think is always just a big, nice, good thing.

Tell

[00:09:19] Stephen: us about your latest book or book series that you’re working on.

[00:09:22] TW Piperbrook: I started out with zombie series back in the day, and then veered into some post APOC. Like horror and stuff like that. So I’m actually returning to do a zombie series. It’s called alive again.

And it was a short story that I published in. There was a Facebook group that I was in jeez, back in 2014, called all things zombie. And it’s like a really cool group that they did, like giveaways and different things. And they had an anthology at one time that they put out. I think they put out a couple of.

So I did a story for a short story called alive again for that anthology. And I’d also had given it away free to like my newsletter subscribers. I liked the story. It was cool. It has a twist on the end, basically it’s a a girl that just wakes up and she’s in like [00:10:00] a field and there’s two people over and they’ve just injected her with something.

And the world has just gone to shambles. She doesn’t remember, who she is, where she was or anything like. And again, there’s a twist to it. And I had some people emailing me and saying, this is cool, but what happens next? So I always wanted to get back to it. So I finally just, I actually started Amazon has that new Kendall Vela.

It’s like a serial program. So I started serializing it over the summer. And then I finished what amounts to basically a book one. So I’m going to put that out in October. So it’s yeah, it’s a zombie kind of story with a twist, hopefully that hopefully surprises people. Okay.

[00:10:35] Stephen: What are some of the, this is a new series.

What were some of the other series that you’ve done?

[00:10:40] TW Piperbrook: Yeah, so the first series that I released back in the day was called contamination. So that was another zombie story. So basically it was a food and water has been contaminated and is turning people into zombies and things like that.

So it was Kat and I said it in the Southwest. And this is the tone that series became. I actually I put it together as a full paperback, which was [00:11:00] maybe crazy because I’ve got the individual ones too, but I put this as one and it was a series of novellas. So they’re not huge, but it’s like maybe 11 or 1200 page book.

Wow, nice. Yeah. So that was the first series. And then I did at a wearable series called outage a sci-fi series called sandstorm. And then to post APOC series far in the future, almost like a game of Thrones meets the walking dead type of thing called the last survivors. And then a SQL series called the ruins.

[00:11:28] Stephen: They’re not all exactly the same genre. They’re all similar. So I know there’s a lot of talk between authors, and all the groups and stuff that, oh, you don’t keep writing the same thing over and over, but you spread out a little bit. Do you think that’s been good or bad? Or how do you think that’s affected not only your sales, but you as a writer.

[00:11:46] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. I think it’s been a mixture of good and bad. So I think it’s probably good advice to stick with the same.

[00:11:51] Stephen: Don’t do what I do.

[00:11:53] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. I think some of them were close enough that I got a lot of crossover, but there’s, I feel like there’s a big readership and it probably was [00:12:00] maybe bigger at the height of the walking dead, but there’s a big zombie readership, but that doesn’t always cross over into like just straight horror or like post.

Like zombie is his own thing, so I think overall it worked out except for, I did more of a straight Saifai series called sandstorm and that was a little out there. So I think, that one was maybe threw my readers for a loop or whatever. Cause it was pretty different in my mind.

I was like, oh, it’s like a post-apocalyptic story on another planet with some colonists that have been stranded there for generations. And it had a post APOC by, but it was definitely a scifi stories. Yeah, I think it’s probably good advice to stick, in the same genre, but then there’s also the artistic merit to following what you want to do.

And, you gotta write some for you sometimes to,

[00:12:41] Stephen: And you said you were looking into working on Vela a little bit lately. How’s that been going? What have you been finding with that?

[00:12:48] TW Piperbrook: Yeah, it’s interesting. So it it was really, motivational for me, like when I was working on one book.

When I got the email from Amazon about the launch, I think it was mid April. And then I saw that and, I was a little bit of a rut with the current project. And maybe just [00:13:00] life in general would just everything being crazy. And then I got that email and I was just like, wow. Zero life story.

It felt like the old wild west days of indie publishing again, where it was just this new thing, and I was like, man, I gotta just leap into this and try it. I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I want to give it a try. And the first story that came to mind was that zombie, when I told you about, because I heard speculation that, Vela was going to be, the serialized readership and that a lot of the sites that were doing well with that were like young adult content, like a lot of year towards that.

And a lot of first-person stuff. And I immediately thought of that old short story from that zombie anthology that I did, which was first person with a teenage protagonist. And I was like, man, this is perfect. And people used to ask me what happened next. Now I’ll just, that’ll be chapter one and I’ll just bring off and make a book of it.

It really is, yeah. Vela launched maybe a couple months ago at this point. And it was a marketing choice, in one sense, because it was so new and so different that I didn’t know. Any readers that, had checked out any of my regular works would [00:14:00] want like a serialized model where they paid by tokens and stuff.

So I really wasn’t sure how that was going to go. So I didn’t put a lot of marketing focus in note. Cause I knew that you could also publish it as a regular book, 30 days after the last episode of whatever arc you were creating. So I’m going to launch it as a regular book, but I did a a little bit of marketing for Vela, but not much.

Yeah it’s weird. So I didn’t see too much traction in the. But then I, I hadn’t really looked at the dashboard in a while and then I’ve been checking the last couple of weeks and then randomly I’ve noticed there’s just more reads coming up and like likes and faves or whatever.

I’m like, oh cool. Somebody is finding this thing. So now it’s yeah, it’s picking up a little, which is really neat,

[00:14:38] Stephen: okay. So on Vela, but also on your regular series, what kind of feedback are you getting from writer or from readers? What are they saying?

[00:14:47] TW Piperbrook: I guess, eight and a half years in you’re going.

Everything from your great to your awful or don’t give up your day job or go back to your day job or whatever. So I’ve seen it, I guess I’ve seen it all. So I don’t really, because I have a good amount of [00:15:00] books out. I don’t really track all that stuff as closely, but I think my favorite thing is any reader who takes the time to write an email or send a Facebook message.

It’s just like to this day, it makes my day, like when. I had a reader this week, I think that emailed and said her Facebook message me and wanted to order a copy of one of my books. And he wanted to frame it on his wall, just the cover or something. So I’m going to sign it and send it house.

It’s I was like, man, that’s really cool. That just, it makes my day, like even just hearing that stuff and yeah, I people have been really nice overall. Again, you’ll get reviews. I think in the beginning, there’s reviews, that’ll knock you down. There was some that I was like, oh man, what am I doing?

Why I put this out? I suck, it happens. And I think I’ve developed thicker skin, and, you’re always like learning and growing. Like you never going to be perfect. Like you’re going to have mistakes, there’s just no way to, to avoid that. I just try to hold on to the positive stuff more in and go from there.

[00:15:52] Stephen: That’s good. It’s good to hear that people are mostly enjoying it and you’ve kept doing it for eight years. So there must be some good stuff. [00:16:00] Your latest that you, your Vela series that you’re turning into a book, would you rather have that as a movie or a TV show?

[00:16:07] TW Piperbrook: I think probably TV show.

Yeah. Cause that’d be great. Yeah. Probably because it’s going to be like seasons and arcs, serialized. So it almost mirrors like a TV show in a way, like just the way the cereal platform works. But yeah, I there’s just some great TV shows nowadays. They tell some amazing stories that span over a bunch of seasons, so

[00:16:26] Stephen: that’d be cool. And you yourself, your writing style, your style of books, who would you say out there is similar?

[00:16:35] TW Piperbrook: Yeah, that’s a tough one because yeah, I think my favorite authors, I don’t necessarily know that I write like them, but then I’m sure I just inherently took some influence from them.

Just reading them all my life. So I mean like some people have said, oh, it’s kinda like a Stephen King vibe. He definitely has his own style. Like he’s the king. So you can’t really say that. Or I used to read a lot of Dean Koontz. I still check out his stuff to this day, in my, formative years or whatever.

So maybe a little Dean Koontz. [00:17:00] And then, like I said, that guy, Christopher pike was like a young adult author, but he was almost like RL Stein on steroids. It was like really dark, like young adult stuff back then that you look back and you’re like, how did he get away with this in the eighties and nineties?

Like some of this stuff now is just, like he really pushed the boundary. For for young adult stuff. So probably a mishmash of all that found its way in there. But, and then as far as yeah, favorite authors today that I read, like I love Blake crouch is amazing. I read some Brian keen, Jeff strand Grady Hendricks is great.

I’ve been on a greedy Hendrix.

[00:17:33] Stephen: I just got introduced to Grady from one of Jay’s podcasts. So what’s your favorite gesture and Grady Hendricks books.

[00:17:42] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. My best friend’s exorcism, but by Grady Hendricks so far is I loved it. Absolutely. Have you checked that one out yet or no? I have not.

Okay. Yeah. It’s it’s. I forgot what he did for the tagline. It was like beaches meets extras, the extra cyst or something like that. [00:18:00] But it’s so it’s about best friends growing up, whatever, and obviously like an extra vibe, but it’s very mired in eighties, like culture and stuff, pop culture.

So he’ll just reference all this stuff. You’re like, oh my God. Yeah. I remember that. I remember that. And it’s like very accurate to the era, which he tends to do a lot with this stuff, which I think is just awesome.

[00:18:20] Stephen: That’s cool. What about Jess stran? You got a favorite from him.

[00:18:22] TW Piperbrook: Every time he comes out with something I just, the best thing I like about him is you can just devour those books.

They’re just so readable. You know what I mean? There’s so much dialogue and you just churn through them. But I remember liking dweller. I think it was called.

[00:18:35] Stephen: I’ve got that one, but I haven’t read it.

[00:18:37] TW Piperbrook: All his stuff is great but that one was really good. I

[00:18:39] Stephen: tell people just trans kinda like an adult goosebumps is how I crack them to just, I had him on the podcast about 10, 20 episodes ago.

Oh, no kidding. Wow. Yeah,

[00:18:54] TW Piperbrook: man. I will. Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. I was on a PA. I was on a panel with. Last summer for [00:19:00] something. I can’t remember what it was. It was like he, I don’t remember what exactly what the panel was, but it was a podcast about maybe it was writing zombie fiction or something during the pandemic or something like that.

I don’t remember.

[00:19:10] Stephen: So what about king and Coons? Who, what’s your favorite books by them?

[00:19:13] TW Piperbrook: So many, but. If I had to choose I’ll say, let me just say, let’s say misery for Stephen King and Twilight eyes for Dean Coons, because that was the first Dean Coons book I read. And it just hooked me back in the day.

must’ve been like, 10, 12, whatever. And I remember my best friend he told me. Yeah, I remember. And it was above my head. It’s I remember cause Koontz is very wordy, I was coming across words. I was like, I don’t know what this means, but this is cool. When I was like, back then I was looking it up in the dictionary.

Okay. What does this mean? And it’s but but my, I had a buddy who had red Twilight eyes and he said, yeah, it’s basically about this. I think it was, it’s been a while, but it was a kid that he could see monsters, but nobody else could at a car, he was like a Carney or something. And he was like fighting.

And I was like, man, you got me. I got to read this thing. And I just, I loved it. So I’ve got to revisit it. [00:20:00]

[00:20:00] Stephen: Nice. I haven’t read that one. Yeah. All those authors are some of my favorites too. Maybe I’m writing the wrong Shaundra out there where you live. Do you have any favorite bookstores you like to go to when you’re able?

[00:20:14] TW Piperbrook: Yeah. So let me see. I guess the closest to me is just the Barnes and noble. I’ll go there, but as far as a favorite, that’s a little bit of a hike for me. There’s a place called the book barn and there’s actually four locations all in one. It’s crazy. And I’m like, one of them has one of them was like outdoors, so they’ve got these little booths set up with all the books on display and they’ve got like a playground for kids and they have goats there and stuff outside and like port-a-potties and so you can just go and just hang out and look at books.

And then there’s like a book barn downtown that has, they’re like, like specialized. So what I was like scifi and horror, that’s one of the locations and another one’s like children’s and then the outdoor one has a mix of everything. And then there’s maybe like more of a textbook type of one.

So yeah. Like we’ll go down there, the family and we’ll just make a day of it and hit all the book Barnes and then get [00:21:00] something to eat. It’s by the shore sorta. So it’s that’s cool.

[00:21:04] Stephen: Yeah. Me and the kids going on vacation through the years would always look for a bookstore wherever we went.

So Tyler would, before we go out with this first half of the podcast, tell everybody listening why they should buy your book or go read it on.

[00:21:17] TW Piperbrook: Sure. Yeah. I I think if nothing else, it’s just like a cool new platform, so just, yeah, I guess you, you get some, I guess you get like 200 free tokens and the first three chapters are episodes of free.

So it’s, I guess that’s one reason, if it’s free is for me. So check it out. It’s cool. To just be able to, get a little taste of something and see if you like it. But yeah, it’s as if you like zombie stories with a twist, there’s a fairly big twist that at the end of the first episode so if you like it, then there’s funny to read there.

[00:21:43] Stephen: Hey, it’s been great talking to you about your books and your writing career. I can’t wait to see some things. I’m going to go check you out on Vela. We’re in the tandem and I’ve been trying to check out all the authors that have Vela, give them a little bit of a following, like

[00:21:57] TW Piperbrook: yeah, that’d be awesome.

Yeah. Cool. Yeah. Thanks [00:22:00] for having me

[00:22:00] Stephen: on. Yeah. Tyler, thanks for taking some time and everybody don’t go away. There’s a second half coming up. Thanks again.

[00:22:08] TW Piperbrook: Thanks.

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