An Interview with Terry Miles, Author of Rabbits

rabbits

Undoubtedly, if you are into podcasts as a long-form of storytelling you know of Terry Miles and by extension Tanis, and Minnow Beats Whale. Miles is a writer, producer, and director of multiple podcast mysteries. Terry’s shows are so real that sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction. He utilizes sound effects, and historical notes, and pictures to set the scene and tell you a mystery in bite-sized podcast chunks. It is an addicting thing to listen to.

Now, Terry has taken one of his stories and put it into a new medium that of a novel, Rabbits. The first question I asked when I started this book was, “What is Rabbits?” The response was, “You don’t talk about Rabbits.” With that, the book sucked me in. Terry was kind enough to interview with us on his life, reading, writing, and Rabbits.

GdM: Your bio quoted that you have lived in “Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, raised in the plains beneath the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and forged by rain in the deep emerald gloom of the Pacific Northwest.” How have these places affected you?

The plains and prairies of Alberta left me with a longing for flat horizons and huge skies, but it was the temperate rainforest along the West coast that eventually fashioned my love of the dusky kind of darkness that seems to continually inform my writing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to dark cinema and literature, and I feel like living in the Pacific Northwest (or because I’m from Canada, perhaps the Pacific Southwest?) was the first time I actually felt a physical embodiment of that type of darkness.

terry milesGdM: You are an individual of multiple talents. You write, direct, and produce. How is the creative process different from writing a book than producing a podcast, or directing a movie?

I actually started writing fiction. I went to school for Creative Writing (BFA, MFA from the University of British Columbia), and we were made to choose three genres. Mine were fiction, screen and stage. While I was there I made a movie that got into the Toronto International Film Festival, so that took me away from fiction for a while.

In my experience, when writing for different mediums, it’s important to lean into what each medium does best, dialogue, visuals, descriptive language, etc…although, to be honest, I never think about any of this stuff while I’m working. I feel like, if you want to write something, you really need to be a fan of that medium, and obsessively devour everything you can.

GdM: Tell me about The Public Radio Alliance and Minnow Beats Whale. How did they come about?

During Serial (Podcast)’s run, I came to the conclusion that it was unlikely a documentary podcast would be able to do that again. So, I decided I was going to make a “fake Serial.” I was tired of doing everything myself, so I talked a friend of mine I’d written a script with in the past into helping me co-write the series. I would take care of all the production stuff, mixing, music, etc…and recruit two friends of mine to play the narrator and the skeptic. This would become The Black Tapes Podcast, the first “fake Serial.” Six months to a year after we released The Black Tapes, the world of podcasting was flooded with things like Limetown, The Message and more. It’s been really exciting to watch the podcast space grow so quickly.

GdM: The reporting and stories coming out of Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale are meticulously well researched and thorough. Have you had any listeners take everything for truth, as the 1938 War of the Worlds scripted drama?

Every single day we receive questions about the veracity of Tanis or Rabbits.

GdM: Tell me about ARGs. Where did the inspiration for this kind of storytelling come about, and how has it influenced you? You mention The Magus, Choose Your Own Adventure Books, Mass Affect, and many more on the podcast.

I’ve always been interested in stories that blend into and merge with real life. All I’ve ever wanted was the chance to take part in a genuine treasure hunt kind of mystery, a journey through the wardrobe, so to speak.

rabbits by Terry Miles