Do you share a name with a Stephen King character? Do you live in the Twin Tiers? In Mosherville-native Aaron R. Tyler’s new book, you could be on a serial killer’s hit list.
“The Stephen King Killer” is Tyler’s first novel after a career that included 26 years in the U.S. navy and many years after as a physician’s assistant. It was also his first foray into creative, fictional writing. His only writing experience before came with his career with medicine.
Although “The Stephen King Killer” was published this year, Tyler first put pen to paper back in 2005 – prompted by “a weird idea” following a conversation about serial killers.
The focus on Stephen King is partially derived from King’s reluctance for his books to inspire real world violence. This was the case with “Rage,” a story based around a school shooting that was penned under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman. King let the book run out of print after the book was associated with real high school shooting incidents in the 80s and 90s.
“What if a serial killer actually got an idea from Stephen King and was looking for people with the same names as characters from his novels as his victims?” Tyler said. “That was the kernel of an idea that just grew.”
Tyler also looked to King for his writing process.
“I watched a YouTube interview with Stephen King and George R.R. Martin and George R.R. Martin was like, ‘How to you write a book in six months? It takes me six years.’ And what Stephen King said was, ‘When I’m writing, I write every day and I set a goal for myself to write at least six pages a day,’” Tyler remembered. “So, that’s what I did.”
Although his writing was delayed due to being treated for cancer, he was eventually able to sit down and build on that first chapter he had completed back in 2005. Around six months later, the book was complete with 22 chapters and 375 pages, and went up for sale through Amazon.
“What I think makes the book unique for readers in this area is that it all takes place in the Twin Tiers – Troy, Canton, Elmira, Corning, Coudersport, Laporte in Sullivan County – it’s all around this area,” he said. “Because he’s (the killer) operating in the rural areas here and it’s so easy to cross a line and being in another county or state’s jurisdiction, he gets away with it for awhile before they catch on to what is going on.”
He also wanted to focus on the Twin Tiers since he hasn’t seen much fiction based on the area.
“A lot of times when I would get into the zone, it wasn’t even like I was writing a story, it was like I was watching a movie in my head while I was typing,” Tyler explained. “And a lot of the feedback I get is that the imagery is like watching a movie.”
Tyler recently held a book signing at the Building No. 9 Grille in Troy. On Aug. 7, he will hold another signing at From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tyler is currently focused on marketing “The Stephen King Killer.” However, based on the numerous requests for a sequel that he’s received, he hopes to sit down and start writing again this fail.