Today, Natter and Review would like to welcome my friend, author J. Troy Seate. Troy and I have worked on several projects for MuseItUp Publishing and I must say we have always had a great time. Here is a biography of Troy outlining some of his career.
J. T. has written everything from humour to the erotic to the macabre, and is especially keen on stories that transcend genre pigeonholing. “Although I enjoy writing in all genres, it’s the mysterious and the macabre that seem to influence the funny monkey in my brain the most. More recently, I’ve turned that monkey toward the paranormal and historical suspense/romance.” In addition to his novels and novellas, his short stories and memoirs appear in numerous magazines, newspapers, anthologies and webzines.
N&R: Hi Troy. Welcome to Natter and Review. Can you share a little about your early life with our readers. Where did you grow up and go to school? Did you have any other earlier careers?
JTS: I was born in Hollywood, California, but grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas where I began my fling in a number of artistic endeavors. I’ve been a guitarist in a band, sold artwork and freelanced for various photo publications. After graduating from TexasChristianUniversity, a lifetime love of travel began. Combining that desire with a passion for photography, I sold photos to travel companies and sports magazines. All of these endeavors were fun, but I made a living working for the State of Colorado as an investigator and a part-time tour guide. But writing is my current passion. I published my first piece in 2005 and haven’t looked back, except for story ideas, of course. I currently ply my trade at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado with the dream of enjoying the rest of my life traveling and writing.
N&R: Did you always want to be a writer?
JTS: No. Serious writing first occurred to me following three years of living in a small, out of the way town. After my position was abolished and I returned to the big city, people used to say, “You’re always talking about how strange that place was. You should write about it.” Many years later, The Swann Trilogy was born.
N&R: What kind of writing did you do early on?
JTS: As stated in my bio, it’s the mysterious and the macabre that seem to influence me the most although sweet memoirs and redemptive tales come along now and then to maintain a balance. I mimic some of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris in my style. I believe people who like to incorporate sex, violence, murder and mayhem in their reads, will like my stories, but there is always redemption in the end of one kind or another, has to be.
N&R: What led you to the world of the paranormal?
JTS: For me, it’s a natural extension of passionate storytelling. What’s more challenging and threatening than the unseen, the mystical if you will. I would guess that most of the over 200 pieces I’ve had published have at least a hint of the paranormal in them.
N&R: Have you had any personal ‘paranormal’ experiences?
JTS: Nothing concrete, but it doesn’t slow down my fascination with the accounts told to me by others, some of which have shown up in my fiction.
N&R: In Something About Sara—the paranormal novella on which I did the content edits for Muse—your lead character goes from pretty much a non-believer to a full-tilt one by the end of the story, plus there are many twists and turns within the plot that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Where did this story come from? Did anything specific catalyst this tale of suspense and murder?
JTS: I would be fibbing if I didn’t say this story is somewhat autobiographical. My stories usually tell themselves. That is, I don’t know where they are going to wind up when I begin. In longer pieces such as this, I never have a working plot, the characters lead me. Sometimes, it feels like they are channeling through me onto the computer resulting in all those twists and turns. I don’t know how else to explain the experience, but perhaps that is a paranormal event in and of itself.
N&R: You’re not alone in that. I know quite a few authors who say the same thing. What percentage of your stories, would you say, lean toward the supernatural?
JTS: 90% as you will see, should you read my next two novellas and short story from MuseItUp coming in 2013.
N&R: You have written many short stories, as well as novellas and novels, which would you say is your favorite genre?
JTS: You know the answer to that one by now.
N&R: Hah hah. Yes, and so…what is most appealing to you about the short story?
JTS: I often like to read something I can finish in one sitting. I began to write short stories between the novels and later the novellas. Now I predominately write them for the same reason I read them. Stephen King once suggested that in the literary world, his writing was the equivalent of a Big Mac and fries. If that is so, my efforts could be the equivalent of a Good Times drive-thru. But I like what I like, especially if the trip through the drive-thru is brief.
N&R: Makes sense to me. I, too, like the short quick intensive few minutes highlighting specific events in life. In Connor House, which comes out from Muse in January of 2013, you step back in time to the post Civil War period in the United States, to recount a very tragic, yet equally ‘ghostly’ story. What kinds of challenges do writing historical pieces present?
JTS: Fortunately, I have a good editor to keep me on track with historical details. The Civil War era is especially interesting to me, so much so that my next novella titled A Resting Place goes back to the very end of the conflict with another cast of spooky characters.
N&R: Yes, you’re lucky you have such a good editor. LOL Have you written many other works against a historical background?
JTS: My Swann Saga trilogy of novels covers a family’s triumphs and tragedies over a 30-year span of history. I enjoy using the Victorian era and the pulp fiction ‘40’s and ‘50’s in many of my shorter works.
N&R: Should we look forward to more glimpses into the past from you?
JTS: Yes. In addition to the aforementioned A Resting Place, there will be a story called Secret Desires on MuseItUp this February. It is part of The Unlocked Door series. Also, a Victorian who-done-it can currently be found under Fiction on the Over My Dead Body website. It’s a freebee if you care to take a peek. More of my shorts will be coming out on that website as well.
N&R: Please share a little from the novella, Something About Sara.
JTS: Something About Sara, released in October of 2012, is an erotic romance/thriller about paranormal love and hate. In this haunting, yet intimate mystery, the protagonist relates his tale of a man trying desperately to hold onto something that could destroy his sanity, cost him his life and yes, even his soul. Passion, loss, the supernatural, murder and mayhem all form parts of the puzzle. It could be likened to a contemporary version of Robert Nathan’s 1939 bestselling novella, Portrait of Jennie. The bottom line: Something About Sara will appeal to those who like their imperfect romances mixed with the unknown.
N&R: Can we have a little excerpt from it please?
JTS: “In the beginning, I only saw little things from the corner of my eye—a glimpse of something here or there, slight movement in an adjoining room. Upon investigation, everything appeared untouched. Normal.
Later, my sanctuary lost its subtlety. Inanimate objects brazenly found new homes around the house. I would’ve bet my ass either progressing age or—God forbid—
Alzheimer’s, was the culprit. Could I be sliding into senility like a dinosaur into a tar pit? What a kick in the butt if my mind turned to cottage cheese so soon after my loss.
My name is Sam Collier. I have a grown son and a dead wife. Is there no sadder transfer than desire given over to pity? I watched Connie wither and die. I was at her bedside when her eyelids closed for the last time and remember how alone I felt as her casket was lowered into the ground.
My son, Tyler, was off at the state university, and I spent many nights touching Connie’s place in bed, wondering how people manage to watch those they care for fade from their lives.”
N&R: That’s a nice little piece from the very beginning of the book. Makes me want to read it again. OK, please tell our readers a little about the story Connor House.
JTS: Inhabited by both the living and the dead, Connor House, to be released in January of 2013, is a place where ghosts as well as humans stalk the night. This tale of the paranormal is set in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia ten years following the Civil War. Passion, loss, murder and mayhem all form parts of the puzzle that surround the Connors. In this historical setting, the Connors deal with their triumphs and tragedies while being influenced by powers beyond their understanding as the nation continues to recover and rebuild. Into Madeline Connor’s life befalls the tragedy of losing a daughter by suicide. The event proves to be the linchpin for many deaths to follow including the untimely demise of two husbands. As the heroine tries desperately to hold on to her sanity, while unraveling the house’s mysteries, she finds comfort in her two sons and her sister who help Madeline bear the burden of loss. There are many questions to be answered inside the walls of Connor House, and although the house outlives its residents, it is not until the wrecking ball takes it down that the final secret is revealed.
N&R: How about a tiny taste from Connor House to whet the appetites of our readers and leave them wanting more.
JTS: “Madeline hadn’t believed life’s prospects could be more dismal than during the war with the constant parade of soldiers and equipment going south, and a fraction of that number returning on foot or in wagons like broken dolls, with the Angel of Death along for the ride. Some were wounded, some diseased, their once shiny buttons tarnished and dirty with little left of the rebellion, only hollow victories and inconsolable regrets.
The entire Connor family had survived—until now. Madeline’s eldest had chosen to take her own life. This was not how things were supposed to be, but there was no power on earth that could rewrite history. Would that she could close her eyes and spin the world back before the war, to undo the tapestry woven fifteen years earlier, and give mankind another chance to embrace the concept of the words President Lincoln spoke during his second presidential inauguration, “With malice towards none, with charity toward all…” In this new reality, Madeline would have talked to her daughter each day and night, and yes, each morning when she awoke, to chase away any demon that might be festering within Mary’s mind. Too late now. Oh God, too late.”
N&R: Wow. Very nice. Troy, are there any other works from your portfolio which you would like to tell us about?
JTS: I am most proud of my three novels which constitute The Swann Saga Trilogy.
Steve and Maria Swann are about to discover that real life is more frightening than their nightmares. Within the mountain peaks and woods that surround their new home, an evil lurks, and waits for the time to strike.
This non-stop mystery takes place in the idyllic setting of the AltinomaValley, where a bizarre and horrifying string of violent tragedies reveal a nightmarish plot. As people disappear, the Swanns not only must confront forces that would destroy them, but also their own consciences.
Enter this world of impenetrable danger where the truth carries a high price: slavery and death.
The Swann Saga, Book 2 Tears for the Departed by J. Troy Seate
Renee Swann’s innocence was shattered in the AltinomaValley, but she and her family survived. She believes she’s endured the most horrific circumstances imaginable, but she’s wrong. Now, nine years later, with a busy life and a good job in New York, Renee feels a growing uneasiness as the horrors of her past give way to a chilling new nightmare…and there’s nowhere to hide. Can she survive , once more, the horror that took root long ago, or will this ultimate exploitation and degradation destroy her?
The Swann Saga, Book 3, And The Heavens Wept by J. Troy Seate
The AltinomaValley has been the catalyst of the Swann family’s destruction for nearly twenty years. As new terrors face the family’s surviving members, someone must journey back to the place where the legacy of deceit and horror began—where the haunted dead have a way of seeking retribution from their graves and where those who want more blood wait to strike.
Follow the triumphs and tragedies of the Swann family in these three novels available at www.mélange-books.com.
N&R: Just to let the readers know, there are excerpts from the books posted on the Mélange site. What are your goals for your writing? And do you feel you are on the path to achieving those goals?
JTS: The ongoing goal is to share my thoughts—rambling as they may be—with others. When someone ‘reads you’, you are sharing part of your soul with them. As long as I enjoy the process and the outcome, I’ll keep on truckin’.
N&R: Do you have any advice for young or new writers?
JTS: I fought through a bout with cancer while I was writing and am living proof that it is never too late to start something new. If I can learn the skill of writing late in life and get published, I believe anyone can, if they have the dedication and determination to believe in their ideas and follow through. The best thing I did was to join a non-threatening local critique group. A number of opinions can be a great guide as long as you stay true to your vision.
N&R: What can we look forward to from you on the near and far horizon?
JTS: Perhaps a few more stories with a globe-hopping slant, since traveling is my second favorite thing.
N&R: Well, thank you so much for dropping by today, Troy. It’s been fun talking with you. Please keep us up to date on your work and we hope we can look forward to future visits.
JTS: There is nothing I’d rather talk about than writing, so anytime.
N&R: The work of J. Troy Seate can be found at the following links.
www.melange-books.com, and www.whispershome.com in addition to this website and my personal website, www.vlmurray.ca See more on www.troyseateauthor.webs.com or at amazon.com. And also online with MuseItUp Publishing at http://museituppublishing.com/
You can follow Troy on his author page above, on amazon under Troy Seate, Jay Seate, or J. Troy Seate. On Facebook at Jay Troy Seate, or contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.