Post-Apocalyptic Brotherhood

J. Warren
J. Warren Author Interview

Tygers follows a young gay man in a dystopian society where he’s forced to fight for equality and survival against a conservative government. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Tygers started as a nightmare I had sometime in 2015. That whole first scene of a kid blowing themselves up in the middle of a wedding. So I started digging—why a wedding? What would push a suburban kid to suicide bomb a wedding? Right around that time, the media was talking a lot about the idea of “radicalization,” so I think that fed in to the book as I started excavating it.

I’ve always been a huge fan of William S. Burroughs, and especially his novel, The Wild Boys. I loved that idea of a kind-of post-apocalyptic brotherhood of young gay guys. I was re-reading the novel for the millionth time right around then and I thought, if the kid was radicalized into the bombing, then who was indoctrinating him? Duran Duran’s song, “Wild Boys” snuck in there a bit, too, as well as this idea of “extraordinary rendition.” An underground of gay abuse survivors looking out for one another and striking blows against the empire bubbled up through all those layers. Eventually all of that spilled over into Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” album and the whole thing started to gel. What if, instead of marching and fundraising for equality and understanding, a group decided to take much more direct action?

It was the Blake quote that gave it the tone I wanted—revenge being more crafty and cruel than instruction and patience.

Aaron is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Well, the book starts with the main action, the kid exploding. So what I decided to do was to make the whole book about WHY all of this happened rather than WHAT happened. I wanted the reader to see Aaron’s full journey from innocent suburban kid to suicide bomber—how he’d been manipulated and why it was so easy to manipulate him. The driving word was “radicalized”—what kind of kid would be…could be…convinced to do such a horrifying thing? It was important to me that the reader start off believing one thing about the kid and something completely different in the end.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to see some characters have a very real discussion about some of the things that we as LGBTQ+ people face every day. I also wanted to address some of the far Right conspiracy theories that were floating around at the time—mass incarceration camps for LGBTQ+ people being manufactured out in the middle of Montana, etc. That kind of thing. I also really wanted to explore that idea of direct action versus peace and understanding…what would that look like? What might Burroughs/Duran Duran’s group of young men look like if taken out of the mythical language-driven narratives they were in and placed in a more realist-based world, instead?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book is at least a year away. It’s kind of like what would happen if I ever got a chance to write a Gundam limited series. Gay men and mecha. It’s also about the ways a person can recontextualize themselves given the right circumstances. It’s only just starting the rounds with beta readers for edits, though, so it’s a way off. The title isn’t even final at this point.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

In a parallel 2015, Conservative forces are in control of national policy.

As a result, young gay men, pushed to the margins, must fight for equality and safety.

A bomb. A wedding.

A young man’s first love, lost.

A book that explores consequences, radicalization, and how a terrorist
might be the kid next door.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on August 29, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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