Monday, July 18, 2016

A Conversation with Tyler Pike, author of 'Girl in the Air'

Tyler Pike is an up-and-coming voice in the thriller genre, earning many accolades for his newly launched thriller series. Before turning to novels, he was a sinologist, lived in China for many years, and eventually earned a PhD in Chinese poetry and lectured at the University of Sydney in Chinese. He and his wife also spent many years studying Hindu philosophy, traveling in India and running a yoga studio in Sydney, before it all came down on their heads.
When he is not writing, you’ll either find him down at the beach with his young family or out on the open road. He is an avid ocean swimmer and long distance runner.

Tyler Pike lives with his family in Australia and the US.

Tyler is different from most popular writers in that he endeavors to respond personally to every email and loves sharing his journey with his readers.

For updates on work in progress and free book offers, join Tyler’s “reading group” on his website:
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About the Book:

Title: Girl in the Air
Author: Tyler Pike
Publisher: Tyler Pike Books
Pages: 352
Genre:  Magical Realism Action Thriller / YA Paranormal Thriller


A teenaged loner who sees more than she should, Alice Brickstone’s mission in life is to find out who or what killed her twin brother a decade earlier. All her parents will divulge is that he died on a family trip to an ashram in India, a place impossibly far from her remote ski town in Colorado. When she begins to see faces from her childhood nightmares, Alice buries her fear and pounces on the opportunity to hunt for information…and revenge. She works alone and observes no caution. Her simple mission is complicated when a strange Himalayan hermit shows up in the woods near her house telling her that she has paranormal abilities. Skeptical but determined to use any advantage to end the threat against her, she is shocked to suddenly become the hunted. There is only one way out—Alice must master her newfound skills and fly before tragedy takes over again.

GIRL IN THE AIR is the first book in a series of page-turning, fast-paced magical realism thrillers set in the Rocky Mountains. Be transported into Alice’s low-tech world of ancient yogic supernatural abilities, modern teenaged angst and post-modern world problems. Readers interested in Asian mythology will love discovering subtle allusions to the Mahabharata, and yoga practitioners will twist and writhe in their seats. If you like your heroes big like Jack Reacher, weird like Carrie, or scarred like Harry Potter, you’ll love Tyler Pike’s character, Alice Brickstone.

Buy GIRL IN THE AIR today and join Alice on her harrowing ride.

“It’s good, and wackily funny, and mostly ridiculously believable…An unstoppable magic realism action thriller.” – Tom Flood, Award-winning Author

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Thanks for this interview, Tyler.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

We all love talking about ourselves, and somehow, along the way, we often accidentally turn ourselves into fantasy characters playing a key role in some grand adventure. I have done plenty of storytelling in my life, but now I just like to tell people that my main driving force is my family. I’m totally in love with my wife and 2yo daughter. Before realizing that this love is the meaning of my life, I did all kinds of things, searching in all the furthest corners of the world for “my calling.” The most interesting period of my life was when I lived and worked in China for six years and travelled extensively all over Asia. They were interesting times, full of stories that I want to write someday. I was somewhat lost until I met the love of my life, Tamsin, in Shanghai, at the “grape” restaurant, or Putao yuan, which is still there. The ceiling was/is covered in dusty plastic grapes, and the food was fatty and sweet. Perfect. Tamsin was an Australian diplomat at the time and we lived the lives of mad sinophile expats for a few years, making art, hosting gallery parties, getting lost in the countryside, and generally making nuisances of ourselves with our Chinese friends. When we finally decided we had to leave China for greener pastures, we moved to Australia, I did a PhD in Chinese, we both got into yoga and healthy living, did lots of surfing, got into India and Hindu philosophy, met a guru, joined a cult, discovered he was a fake, left the cult, and eventually kind of settled down and had our gorgeous daughter, Pippi.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I’m a surfer, but my wife and I prefer the remote beaches and reef breaks in southern New South Wales, along the East Coast of Australia, rather than the busy urban beaches where we live in Sydney.

I also love travelling, though it has been harder to get out and see the further reaches of the world, now that I am a Dad.

I guess what I love the most is spending time with close and extended family. As I write this, I am right now hiding in the basement of my parents house in the mountains of Colorado, where we are staying for a short while, before taking off on a grand tour of the west in a rental car.  Our first stop:  The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, then on to Yellowstone. I love the open road!

Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Chapter 1

It was five in the morning and completely dark outside. In late spring the sun wouldn’t rise over the ski mountain for another two hours. For a few little creatures out there, the day had already begun. There was a rustle in the leaves below her window, probably a deer mouse making her way to a nest somewhere. She heard a tiny peep that could have been a downy woodpecker chick.
     She rolled over, lingering in the space between her nightmares and her morning zombie routine, and remembered it was Saturday. Her swim team only trained once today but it was usually a strong session. She would eventually have to stumble out of bed, gather her bag, eat something and cycle to the pool.
     Laying there a moment longer, she listened for any sounds in her parents’ huge, empty house, but heard none. Her mom would also be hearing the morning noises from her meditation cushion in her yoga room.
What drove Mom to wake up so early, she wondered. Did she hear things when she meditated? Dad, for his part, would be dead to the world. It would take an act of God to wake him from the stupor of his hangover.
     After finally motivating herself to roll out of bed, Alice stumbled downstairs with her swimming bag, grabbed four ice cream sandwiches and an energy bar for breakfast on the ride. She took down her bike off its hooks in the garage, clipped on her helmet and cycled down the driveway.
     Her bike tires hit the gravel road. There would be no other cars up here this early and no other man-made sound of any kind. Above the crunching of her fat tires, Alice heard a tentative whistle from a hawk. It could have come from the edge of the Knifespur Wilderness where the old growth forest began. Then she heard vast expanses of pine trees rustled by a tiny breeze as it meandered, pushed by the warming dawn.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I just published two books. In addition to Girl in the Air I also wrote and published a novella called The Feeling of Water. I intended both books to be easy and fun to read and easy/fun to write, but I soon realized that it is very hard to craft a good page-turning adventure. Both books turned out much better than I could have imagined, but were much harder to write than I imagined they would be. I had to dig deep to discover what really made the characters real and human, spent countless hours writing and deleting and writing and deleting and deleting, realized that I’m a perfectionist, tried not to be, wrote and deleted some more, had a lot of fun, then didn’t, then did again, and finally threw a huge party when the drafts were done and off to the editor. I was much gratified when he loved the manuscripts and even more so when they were finally proofed and published last month. And even more so now that the good reviews are coming in. 

I feel that writing is both a calling and a muscle. I have to exercise that muscle everyday in order to give exorcise the calling. That sounds glib, but it’s true. It’s cliché for an artist to say they “have to” create or they would perish. I think it’s true not only for those passionate artists, but also for all the rest of us. Those who don’t believe it is true are just too busy or too tired to scratch that natural creative itch within, and they will die a slow death by natural causes before living to a ripe old age, surrounded by family and friends. J

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

She thought she was an ordinary girl, just a little lonely, a little heartbroken, and a lot bigger than everyone else…she couldn’t have known that within her broken heart lay such great and fearsome potential.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

My character, Alice Brickstone, is very uniquely loveable. She can fly, but she has been drawn to be a down-to-earth, real girl with very real teenage problems. In the words of one reviewer, “rarely have I fallen so deeply in love with a character as I have with Alice Brickstone.”

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Girl in the Air is one of those quiet yoga retreats to a mountain paradise, but the holiday goes pear-shaped, and you will escape from the retreat and get into an exciting adventure you didn’t plan to have but will be glad you did. Much happier than if you stayed in the yoga retreat!

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Girl in the Air is book one, and The Feeling of Water is book two in the series. I did, however, design them to be read in any order (neither book contains spoilers for the other).

What’s next for you?

Alice book 3, of course. I’m currently in Colorado writing and researching.

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