Kelowna author Tyrell Johnson on the art of the thriller and writing one of 2022’s best crime novels
In December of last year, the New York Times’ Sarah Weinman selected Tyrell Johnson’s The Lost Kings as a Best Crime Novel of 2022. The book, about twins Jeannie and Jamie King, their abusive alcoholic father, and the past catching up to the family, is Johnson’s second novel. We talked to the Bellingham-born-and-raised author, who now lives in Kelowna with his wife and three young children, about the book.
Q: You recently published an essay about how, with The Lost Kings, you wrote a thriller “accidentally.” For your first book, Wolves of Winter, did you accidentally write a dystopian novel?
A: Well, for that one, I knew I was writing a post-apocalyptic novel. I didn’t know that it was going to come out in a thriller format, which is how the publisher categorized it, as a post-apocalyptic thriller. I knew the setting. I knew the basic idea and knew that it was going to be post-apocalyptic, but for some reason, however I write, it just sort of works that I like the bones and the movements of thrillers with a little bit of mystery and some action as well.
Q: In that essay you make the point that “thriller” can be a general term, that it can apply to just about any book that’s a page-turner.
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