Interview with Ryan Nolte, Author of Short Stories with a Twist
Tell us about your new book:
Short Stories with a Twist combines psychological horror and the paranormal to create thought-provoking, paradoxical tales about desire, innocence, and human frailty. The eleven tales are intended to keep the reader guessing about what may happen at the end and provide a strange alternative to ordinary reality.
Characters from a wide variety of backgrounds find themselves confronting the same thing—the strangeness at the edge of reality. Here, the lines between fact and fantasy blur, and people pay terrible prices for their mistakes. Some stories show what happens when the ordinary meets the extraordinary, when the world stops conforming to the rules and laws we know to be true. Other stories show you that the real horror lurks inside your own mind.
Ryan P. Nolte presents eleven startling stories that take you to unexpected and frightening places.
“Chance…or Bad Luck…or Something Else” opens the collection with an eerie story about one very strange customer. It explores the limits of destiny and the simple choices that change our lives. “Where It Starts” takes you on a journey back to childhood but warns you that the answers don’t always lie in the past. “The Graveyard” gives a doctor a glimpse into something beyond our own world. “Lost” recounts the karmic comeuppance of two thieves. “Clowns” draws from the odd spate of clown sightings across America in 2016. “The Fall” assures you that no matter what horrible images your imagination conjures, there is nothing more terrifying than reality. “Broken Phone” uses a simple cracked phone screen as the foundation for a strange fable. “The Birthday Wish” warns you to be careful what you wish for. “The Bucket List” follows the dreams and desires of one man. “Dreaming” will take you deep into another person’s nightmare.
Nolte’s eleventh story, “Time after Time,” is told in snippets entwined throughout the book. Each story in the collection lures you in and leaves you wanting more.
What inspired you to write Short Stories with a Twist?
I have always loved reading short stories, particularly those by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. After I finished my doctorate, I found myself with spare time and decided to put some of my thoughts on paper. The more I wrote, the more I found myself immersed in the stories and the characters. I sent my mom one story each week in the Fall of 2016 and she encouraged me to publish.
What types of readers will enjoy this book?
Readers who enjoy short stories dealing with psychological horror and the paranormal.
Where can we buy it?
Short Stories with a Twist is available for sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.
Please share an excerpt from the book with us:
From Time After Time (Part 1)
Julie stood outside the antique shop, next to the mini grandfather clock on the ground. She thought about the first time she went into the shop. That was a Monday. It seemed like ten years ago. She looked very different now. She no longer had the peaceful smile that so many people complimented her on, and her eyes were no longer bright but had dark circles surrounding them now. She stared at the shop. The sign on the door read CLOSED. She didn’t care. She grabbed the handle, and it turned.
Before everything that happened to take Julie back to the antique shop, she was taking a walk near the small town square. It was early October, and she had only been here since June. She loved to take the walks in the afternoons—it helped her keep her mind off things. Sometimes she would stop at a few of the little shops and peek around. There was an old hardware store, the kind where the proprietor sits behind a huge counter and still uses catalogs to telephone order parts that he doesn’t have in stock, and of course he has memorized everything in his stock. There was a greeting-card store, with little to offer but an endless supply of cards, paper, gift bags, and a few small trinkets. There was Julie’s favorite, the general store. You could buy almost anything in there, from candy to furniture, and it had the feel of a hundred years ago.
Julie took her usual walk around the square on that cloudy, cool October Monday. She passed by the general store and then stopped to peek through the glass to enjoy the Halloween and fall decor prominently displayed. She smiled, loving everything about the scene: scarecrows, pumpkins, and a skeleton sitting on a hay bale. She moved away from the seasonal display, feeling like she needed more to distract her from what had happened in May. She turned back toward Main Street, and a sign caught her eye. It was not very large, but it was attractive. ANTIQUES FOR THE MELANCHOLY, it read. “Intriguing,” she thought. Julie looked at her phone: it was 11:35 a.m. She still had twenty-five minutes before she had to be back at work. She crossed the street to see what this store she had never noticed had to offer.
About the Author:
Short Stories with a Twist is Ryan Nolte’s fictional debut. He has spent the past twenty-one years in the field of environmental health and safety. He also teach classes at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received his doctorate in organizational leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University and lives in Fort Wayne with his wife and two children.