I had the pleasure of coordinating a book review and an interview with psychological thriller author Jay Sigler. Take a gander below:
Synopsis for Train Thoughts
A wife brutally slain. A life plunged into isolation. Struggling to regain any sort of human connection, he seeks comfort in the strangers that share his train ride to work. But when they too begin to vanish, he comes to the horrific realization that a sadistic mania is determined to kill him and everyone he cares about.
Desperate to understand why, he descends into a twisted pit of madness and despair. The closer he gets, the higher the body count rises. How far will one man go to uncover the truth?
When I first read Jay’s book Train Thoughts, I have to admit, I had to read it a couple of times to understand the ending. And because it is a psychological thriller, it can make your head spin a few times. I know mine did lol.
I had the pleasure to ask Mr. Sigler some questions regarding Train Thoughts, and this is what he had to say:
Tell the readers a little about yourself
I’m your everyday, introverted, anxious, weird, insane human – just like everyone else!
I love all things horror (movies, books, video games, art, etc.). I like to read Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, and Bret Easton Ellis. I love a wide variety of music, from the 80s, 90s, heavy metal, electronic, even classical. I’ve played guitar for over 25 years and have been in numerous bands (not currently doing anything now though).
Tell me why you like the thriller genre? Who inspires you?
Thrillers excite me and hold my interest, specifically the psychological ones. I love trying to get inside characters’ heads to see if I can figure out where the story is going before the story gets there.
My inspiration comes from people. Everyone has their own story to tell, has experienced a life unique only to them that has resulted int hem being the person they are today. So when I see someone taking who they have become and putting themselves back into the world, whether it be through writing, art, music, teaching, coaching, anything really, it really inspires me.
Is there any subgenres from the thriller aspect that you would to see grow? Maybe . . . Disappear???
For obvious reasons, I would love for horror thriller story to continue to grow! There are none I would like to see disappear, if people are reading, then these subgenres exist to help them find the stories they like. If anything, I would encourage more subgenres. In my experience, “psychological” thriller seems almost too broad of a subgenre at this point, acting like a safety net for certain books because it’s a really popular subgenre (I could not agree more!)
Why write a psychological thriller?
I like the feeling of anxiety and anticipation of thrillers, waiting to see what happens, waiting to see if what you think is going to happen is actually going to happen. And the most frightening type of thriller to me is one that gets into your head. That’s the kind of story that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading a book.
Why a train?
On the surface, the answer is – I began writing Train Thoughts while physically on a train for a two hour commute each way to work, so a lot of the story stems from that. But digging in a little deeper, I’ve personally always thought of trains as a metaphor for a person’s way of thinking or processing life, specifically their conscious and subconscious. We often say things like, “losing your train of thought” or “my thoughts were derailed” so again, having a train as the vehicle to move this story forward just worked for what I was trying to achieve.
How were you able to come up with the dreams in the book? When reading, I can see in my head EXACTLY what you are stating, and they feel like the same dreams I have on a nightly basis.
Some of the dreams in the books stemmed from personal experience, but for the most part, I put myself into the characters’ shoes and tried to imagine how their fates would be represented by dreams. It was a way to accentuate their story in a psychological way should the reader want to peel back that layer of the onion.
Dreams have fascinated me from an early age. It’s remarkable to me how everyone’s life is filled with different experiences, yet they all seems to resolve to certain representations in our dreams. The psychology behind it is amazing, and you can learn a lot about yourself and how you are consciously and subconsciously dealing with the world.
What is hard to come up with the ending? I admit, I had to read it a couple of times to understand what had happened. I don’t want to give too much away to the reader lol.
I had an idea from the beginning how I wanted it to end, it was always just a matter of how I would get there. One of the things I strived for was to make the reader feel emotionally invested in the story (mission accomplished). I wanted the reader to empathize with the main character, feeling just as lost, alone, and confused as he did at times. The reader was supposed to have these jarring moments.
Because of the story, if someone has never read a thriller book, but decided to pick up Train Thoughts, what advice would you give the reader?
I would tell them that I tried to create a story that exists on many levels. The suspense, thrills, and horror are all there, but there is also an entire psychological apse to just under the surface of the main story. What you get out of reading Train Thoughts depends on how deep you want to dig in. I wanted my story to linger int he reader’s mind long after they finished the book. I wanted the reader to wake up in the dead of the night with an “oh shit” moment, having made a connection they hadn’t originally made. I wanted the reader to read the book multiple times and get something new out of it each time.
Do you have any WIPs that you are working on?
I do! I am close to finishing what will probably end up as a novella. There’s a loose tie in to Train Thoughts but it is definitely not required reading (it’s not a series or sequel or anything). Other than that, I have quite a few ideas for short stories and novels that are working their way through my brain – I just need to find the time to get them all out!
What would you like to say to the thriller community? The reader community? The writing community?
To the thriller community – I hope that Train Thoughts is well received in the community. There are so many great thrillers to emulate and I hope that I can one day be one of them.
The the reader community – If you haven’t read Train Thoughts, Please do! If you have, please let me know your thoughts about it. If you liked it, a review is the best for of encouragement for an indie author to keep owing with their writing. If you didn’t like it, please be nice :). Also feel free to reach out to me on social media with any thoughts you might have!
To the writing community – THANK YOU so much for all of your inspiration, advice and invaluable feedback. I would not be where I am today without it. The writing community is a constant support system and I love interacting with it. I’ve learned so much about what to do and what not to do. It is truly amazing to be a part of it.
To new writers – KEEP WRITING! Writing is a process, an art, a lifelong passion to continually improve. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, not every person is going to love your work, but not every person is going to hate your work. Take what you have inside of you and get it out there. If you are honest and put the effort in to do your best, people will see that and you will connect with others. And that is why I write.
There you have it folks, thank you Jay for letting me read your book and taking the time to answer my questions 🙂
If you would like to follow Jay on his journey of writing you can follow him on the following sites