Holiday Guest Author: John Pyka

This holiday season, I’ve decided to promote some of my writer friends and ask some of the questions that folks ask me. Today’s guest/victim is:

John Pyka


First, a little something about John.

John Pyka is best known for his work onstage as a new vintage variety artist, fusing music and magic with comedy and dance in a 1920s – 1940s style in what is described as “Dieselpunk.” He can be seen performing in theaters, at festivals and conventions around the country.

He is also the author of 4 books on magic, including the best-seller Theatrical Magic. His first novel, Tales From the Flip-Side is published by Pro Se Press and available wherever books are sold – also available as an audiobook!

John is also the producer and host of the Diesel Powered Podcast, THE Voice of Dieselpunk on iTunes and Stitcher, which consistently is ranked in the top 10 performing arts podcasts. He is also the producer and host of the weekly live stream web-show Comixstravaganza Live, hosted
and boasting over 25,000 viewers per week!



At what age did you start writing or know that you wanted to write?

I never knew that I wanted to be a writer. But looking back I was writing stories for my original comic book characters as early as age 8. I still have those old plot outlines and synopsis. I’m finding a lot of good stuff there. It wasn’t until around 2000 when I started writing for stage, that I realized I might have some aptitude for it.


Where do your ideas come from?

Mostly my inspiration comes from what other creators DON’T do. I see missed opportunities and those missed opportunities spark my imagination and creativity. One of the major plot points on my new novel Tales From The Flip-Side becaue I didn’t see anyone writing about Nazi Vampires and that seemed like a natural theme to me.


Do you base your characters on people you know or know of? Family or celebrities?

Yes and all of the above. I grew up the son of a former con man turned Teamster. I was around people with names like Mickey the Mechanic, and No Neck Minelli. And those colorful characters made it into my stage and prose work.


Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?

I have a pretty good idea of the direction and outline it, but I allow for organic inspiration. I find that sometime character’s write themselves and their story even surprises me. The revelation of Harker Van Helsing’s origin in Tales From The Flip-Side took me completely by surprise!


Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what do you listen too?

I prefer it to be quiet.


Which of your characters would you most like to meet in person? Which character of another author would you want to meet?

Of my characters, Professor Maxwell Marvel. Of another author? Mara Jade, of Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novels.

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Which of your stories/books/works do you consider the best?

The script “The Vizier’s Love” from my book Theatrical Magic (performance scripts for magicians) is the story I really am the most proud of. It should be the standard for the Origami Box, in my opinion.


How much do you write each day/week?

I don’t set time aside. I write as inspiration hits.


Can you tell about your experiences working with publishers? Any juicy or painful experiences?

I’ve never had anything but good experience with the publishers I’ve worked with. Most recently Pro Se Press has been incredible to work with!


Do you have a routine when you write?



What is your latest project/release?

Tales From the Flip-Side from Pro Se Press


Do you have any signings or appearances coming up?

Nashville Comic & Horror Fest


Murfreesboro Anime and Comic Kon

MisSouth Con


Who were your inspirations?

Orson Welles, Michael Jackson, Jon Anderson of Yes.


Favorite authors?

Timothy Zahn and Jim Butcher


What book do you read over and over the most?

Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl


Is there a book or book series that you recommend to people?

Yes, my own Tales From The Flip-Side. I also love Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Trilogy” and recommend it to all Star Wars and sci-fi adventure fans.


Do you have a dream project that you want to write in the future?

I would love to write an Avengers comic series with a team led by Hank Pym. I’ve plotted the whole series and would love to submit it to marvel.


Do you have a special way of generating story ideas?

Believe it or not, when I swim ideas start flowing like the water I am moving through.


How much of you is in your characters?

Well, the lead character of “Big Daddy Cool” Johnny Dellarocca in Tales From The Flip-Side IS me. He is a magical character I created as my alter ego for shows onstage. I wrote a show around the character and the show became foundation of the book.


If you could live the life of one of your characters, who would it be?

The character of “Big Daddy Cool” is a reflection of the kind of life I would love to live, so I guess he would be the one.


What genre do you prefer to write?  To read?

I really prefer short stories, action and high adventure.


Do you prefer writing short stories or novels?  And why?

I don’t have a preference. I write to tell the story, whether that is two pages or two hundred.


What are you working on now?

A short story for the next installment of the Tales From The Flip-Side anthology series from Pro Se Press. I’m really exploring the time travel abilities of “Big Daddy Cool.”


Is Writer’s Block ever a problem for you?  If so, how do you deal with it.

It is. I work on other projects until new inspiration hits.


How do you use social media in regards to your writing?

Social Media is primarily a marketing tool.


Do you read reviews of your books?  If so, have you ever engaged a reviewer over comments they’ve made?

I do read them. I’ve never engaged a reviewer other than to say thank you for the review.


Thanks John.  To find his books, click below: