What Keeps Peter Tieryas Awake at Night? An In-depth Interview With The Amazing Electric Literature


I took part in this epic interview at Electric Literature with Ryan Bradley that took place over six months. This is only half of what we talked about and we could have gone on even longer. I loved his questions, challenging, and yet pushing me to think about some of the deeper issues behind the book. It’s interesting because when he first asked me about the interview, I was so busy, I told him I’d need a little bit of time to get through that initial rush. Honestly, it turned out to be a much better interview because it happened over such a long period of time because I could reflect on the story a lot more after its release. We talked about both the origins, as well as regrets around the book. We also delved into the future of what’s next for USJ. (spoiler alert, it’ll be a standalone novel set in the same universe).

Probably one of the most sober moments was reflecting on the fate of most writers- how someone who was wildly popular and critically acclaimed during his life is mostly forgotten now, while Melville, whose books were out of print during his life, is now considered one of the great American novelists.

Also, you can find out what keeps me up at night. =)

Was so honored by this opening from Ryan:

“If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t expect to love USJ. I expected to enjoy it and to be entertained, but I did not expect to become obsessed. And obsessed is probably a light word. I have been consumed by the world Tieryas created. I have thought about it daily for months. It has been a source of artistic inspiration that I have found in few books the last couple of years. So, naturally I was honored and excited when Tieryas indulged me in an email exchange that spanned months and spawned numerous other exchanges aside from the interview.

Art, powerful art, is often described as transformative and that is exactly what the combined experience of reading the book and corresponding with Tieryas has been.”


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