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IR Approved Author Ty Tracey: “What you [indies] are doing is the great challenge of many people’s entire lives.”

The Corroding  received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Ty Tracey.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The Corroding – Published in November 2022.

What’s the book’s first line?

“Two hundred million years ago, as the supercontinent of Pangea split apart, heavily salinated ocean waters flooded into a vast area just north of what is now modern-day Ohio.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch.”

There’s darkness sweeping over all of us. Something sinister—undoubtedly there, but not quite prominent enough to put our collective finger on. The haunted and unusual have become commonplace, arriving within a newfound shadow that blankets the countryside in every direction. As time distorts, all that we are corrodes within its malevolent grasp. It’s escalating. It’s violent.

Lori Cruz is a gifted crime scene investigator for the FBI. She’s widely regarded as the most talented of her generation within the bureau. She’s called in to investigate a high-profile and ruthless murder. Like so much else in those ominous days, the scene, despite its horrifying characteristics, proves mystifying to Lori and her colleagues—devoid of any evidence. She is stumped, grasping to understand how a killer could be so depraved yet, at the same time, so careful. Until the same killer strikes again.

As the world around her descends further into chaos, Lori embarks on a quest that takes her across the country in search of someone responsible for the crimes. Her journey brings her and an eclectic group of characters together. A genius in applied mathematics, whose advanced methods toward investigating the paranormal uncover key evidence to Lori’s case. A couple of college kids whose machine learning AI has unexpectedly begun providing insights into the overall spirit of our societal deconstruction. Only together do they begin to unravel that which is responsible, not only for the murders, but the systematic corroding of our entire species. Lori had set out in search of a serial killer. Instead, all the while, she was on the trail of something unexplainable—a threat to our very human existence, born from an unrivaled and collective evil.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

My view of the world changed significantly over the past few years as we’ve all endured so many life-altering events. Many of us needed some outlet to get all those big feelings out from the recesses of our personal emotions. I decided to take all that was boiling inside of me and give it a name: The Corroding. Then proceeded to write a 700-page horror novel around it. Based on my perceptions, it was a perfect, albeit rare, opportunity to craft a summation of our civilization’s current place in history, all while leveraging my beloved horror genre. While the story is horrifying, the act of writing it was almost therapeutic to me as an author and a human. Never have the words flowed from me in such a fashion, and I credit that to how much this story needed to get out of my head and onto those pages. The story is an allegory for our recent reality that I had to write. As brutal as it is, as much of an indictment of our current state it may be, it’s also a way out for all of us. A celebration of what we’re truly capable of when we throw our prejudices aside and work together to defeat a common enemy.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

I think there are many reasons beyond something I hope will add a unique perspective to our place in our civilization’s history, as described above. For fans of the Lovecraftian: cosmic elements are at the core of the disturbances. For fans of the Orwellian: dystopian implications are part and parcel to the underlying thread. Perhaps piquing the interest of those more interested in the stylings of King, Koontz, or Rice: the face of the madness portrayed in the novel is easily the most demented entity I’ve ever created. For fans of the epic Crichton techno-thriller: I structured those elements into the book to the best of my ability. The most critical component in writing The Corroding was how I wanted to combat the antagonist and all it represents. I needed a diverse cast of characters who, in their own ways, represent the largely dismissed corners of society. They needed to represent humanity as a whole, not the humanity that any person or group envisions in some twisted, idyllic, nonsensical bubble. This book will appeal to anyone genuinely interested in what we’re capable of when we stop marginalizing each other.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Lori Cruz is, simply put, the best crime scene investigator in the entire FBI. Her most distinctive element is her backstory and how relevant it proves to be. The crises she’s endured have made her into precisely the person best suited to stand up to the face of evil incarnate. As to who she reminds me of, she’s a hard one to pin to anyone specific. If I had to compare her to anyone from the movies . . . a combination of Sherlock Holmes, Ripley from Aliens, and Clarice from Silence of the Lambs.

When did you first decide to become an author?

For some reason, I’ve loved to write since I learned how to. My mother is an avid fan of the same genres as me, and I can distinctly remember our bookshelf, which was generally filled with paperbacks but also a few hardcovers. Looking over those books by Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, etc., it struck me as a damn-near impossible achievement to write any of them (and I’m still fairly convinced of that notion to this day). From there, I was motivated and kept up with the craft informally over the years. I always loved the horror and sci/fi genres above all others. I’ve spent much more time reading in those spaces than writing in them over the decades. At the end of the day, I legitimately love doing it because of the enormity of the challenge it represents.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

It is not. I wrote a novel I never bothered to publish years ago called Iron Midnight before I had any idea what I was doing. It’s a good premise, and perhaps I’ll go back to it someday, but it’s nowhere near anything I want to put my name on in its present state. I took some hard lessons from that experience and applied those learnings while writing my first-published novel: Three Days in Ashford. It was self-published in 2018 and, I am delighted to say, won the IndieReader Discovery Award in 2019 for best horror novel. So, The Corroding is my third novel, but the second I’ve self-published. I’m incredibly excited about it and hope it can stand up to Three Days in Ashford’s success.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I manage a team of DevOps Engineers. I am a Site Reliability / DevOps Engineer by trade.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

As much as I can get. These days it’s tough with a new baby who I would much rather play with than much else. Now that The Corroding has been published, I need to figure out what to focus on. For the foreseeable future, I’m not likely to get as many 8-hour sessions as I used to before becoming a father. I think I’ll focus on something I’ve always wanted to attempt: short stories. I’d love to try assembling a volume of them.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

Indies like myself get to deliver their stories in their most genuine form. That can cut both ways, obviously, but you get to write what you want and deliver it how you want it. It’s all on you, sans any outside interests. The worst part is: it’s also all on your bank account to get the exposure you want for your work.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

What you’re doing is the great challenge of many people’s entire lives. It’s easy to forget the enormity of it and get lost in the industrial aspects of the craft.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?

I might think about it if any of them ever came calling. It would be an exciting inflection point in my writing career, and I would need to closely analyze the arrangement first. Why? They have the ability to do things for my books that I can’t unless I spend thousands of dollars.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

Say someone in Spain picks up one of my books and enjoys it enough to create a drawing of the creatures in it. Then, that person proceeds to mail their artwork to me. That’s something that’ll motivate me for years on end. This actually happened, by the way, for Three Days in Ashford. I now have a (since framed) spectacular drawing of a melonhead on the wall of my office. Getting any validation for your efforts as an Indie is immensely gratifying, but getting it at that level is incredible.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Cliche alert, but it’s Stephen King. His writing got me hooked on horror at probably a way-to-young age. How long he’s been going and the quality he’s managed to inject into our culture, when you really think about it, is pretty ridiculous. I admire many others, and they all have their place in my melting pot. While I love King, I don’t borrow much from his stylings, at least consciously. I’m generally (just kind of trying my best at) attempting to write for more of a Lovecraftian (cosmic) theme, in the structure of Crichton / McCarthy, with the exposition of Rice, and the character-building focus of Rowling.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I’m going with House of Leaves. I honestly believe it’s a transcendent work of fiction that’s absolutely terrifying and structured in such an imaginative fashion that it’s difficult for me to understand how the author conceived of it, let alone pulled it off. I finally read it a year or two ago. It’s the first book in a long time that gave me that feeling of staring at the books on my mother’s shelf before I was old enough to reach most of them and wondering how impossible it must’ve been to write something like it.

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