Candlesticks and Daggers Interview Series

Candlesticks and Daggers Interview Series: D.J. Tyrer

This post is part of the Candlesticks and Daggers Interview Series run by contributor Sati Benes Chock. For more about the book, please follow the link here.


Excerpt from D.J. Tyrer’s Short Story “The Lying Dagger”

Gog recoiled in horror: the bloodied body of a man lay on the floor of the library. Perhaps most shocking: books lay scattered about him, blood splashed across their wooden covers. Gog let out a strangled cry and retreated out of sight of the scene.

He should, he knew, call out to the gods for protection, but his voice was silenced.

The Mistress of the Library came running. “What is it?”

He couldn’t speak, just pointed.


Hi DJ!

Can you tell us a little about how you became a writer?  Did you always know that you wanted to be one?

I’ve always loved books and stories and have written stories for as long as I could remember and would be doing so even if I wasn’t being published. I just can’t help myself.

Who are your favorite authors? What is it about their writing that you admire most?

Tolkien, because he had the same love for mythology and language that has driven a lot of my work. Lovecraft, for his breadth of vision. RW Chambers, for the enigmatic brilliance of The King In Yellow. Emily Bronte, for the dark beauty of her writing. Jasper Fforde, for his wit and wordplay. I could keep going – there are a lot of excellent writers!

“The Lying Dagger” begins with a murder in a library that could lead to war between two kingdoms if the protagonist, Gog, doesn’t act fast. Although this story is a fantasy, was it inspired by any actual event? If not, where did you get your idea?

Although it isn’t inspired by a specific event, history is littered with these sorts of situations, both ill-timed events and deliberate attempts at inciting conflict, and there are doubtless many more we never hear about. I find the behind-the-scenes machinations of nations fascinating.

You are a publisher as well as a writer and editor. If you could tell beginning writers one thing about the publishing process, what would it be?

Transforming a project into a finished product is just as difficult as turning an idea into a finished story. A good publisher makes it look easy, but there is a lot of effort going on behind the scenes. Understanding that can help the process of publication go more smoothly.

Do you find that you often return to the same themes in your work? And if so, what are they?

Identity, alienation and fear of the other are frequent themes in my work, being ones that resonate deeply with me, and these appear in “The Lying Dagger”: we have the mistrust between the nations of Kirim and Thrax, and Gog offering Braxis acceptance. Given that a lot of my work is dark, these themes tend to be dealt with negatively, but I do occasionally approach them with more positivity; “The Lying Dagger” lies somewhere in between with Gog, a little naively, attempting to bring about a happy ending.

Some writers have rituals that they feel helps them with the creative process. Do you employ any rituals, or do anything regularly that helps keep you on track with your writing?

I try to write every day, usually at night when it’s quiet and there aren’t distractions, and normally do so longhand. Otherwise, I don’t necessarily do anything the same thing each time. Some stories require a lot of planning or research, others flow freely from my imagination.

Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?

There are several booklets on my editing agenda for 2017. With regards to my own writing, I’m currently working on another ‘fictional non-fiction’ booklet for my Buxton University Press imprint, and a long-delayed fiction collection, The Nomads of the Time Streams. I have several novel and novella ideas on my ‘to do’ list, it’s only a question of locating some time in which to write them.


About D.J. Tyrer

D.J. Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines around the world, such asDisturbance (Laurel Highlands), Tales of the Black Arts (Hazardous Press), History and Mystery, Oh My! (Mystery & Horror LLC), Chilling Horror Short Stories (Flame Tree), State of Horror: Illinois (Charon Coin Press), Steampunk Cthulhu (Chaosium), and Sorcery & Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen (Hieroglyphics Press), and in addition, has a novella available in paperback and on the Kindle, The Yellow House (Dunhams Manor).

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