The Big Idea: J.A. Tyler

Sometimes, when you start writing a novel, the book is about one thing. As the writing and editing process goes on, however, the book will reveal itself as being about, if not something else entirely, at least, something more. What was that “more” for J.A. Tyler in his novel Only and Ever This? Come find out.


At the onset, Only and Ever This was built on a simple conceit: fit as many old-school type monsters as I could into a single novel, into one town, a town akin to the 1985 film The Goonies, where it was perpetually rainy and kids roamed on their bikes, getting into adventures. This was enough to set me off. The images exploded from that central idea. With it came ghosts and pirates and vampires and mummies.

More though, was at stake, only I didn’t know it yet.

I started this novel almost a decade ago, when my son was ten and my daughter was six. And while I whittled away at the scenes of bloody mummifications and the pirates in their rowdy ports, carving out the ghost of a girl up the street for twin sons to fall in love with, I was busy watching my own kids develop. It was tremendous and hard. It was amazing and scary. It was the terror and beauty Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of. What if I messed them up by shoddy parenting? What if I dented their natural, childhood armor with my adult cynicism? What if the world got there before I could help them make their mark? These questions were eating at me throughout the drafting process, because as much as I intended Only and Ever This to be about monsters and kids, it became more about parenting and growing up than I ever thought possible.

Continue reading at: The Big Idea: J.A. Tyler

Only and Ever This: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Bookshop|Powell’s

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