Author Theolyn Brock

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Author Theolyn Brock

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Florida Author – Theolyn Brock

In the spotlight this week is author Theolyn Brock creator of ‘Lake City: Stories from a Country-Ass Town’ and ‘Island X’. A self-described recovering paralegal who has spent decades working in death and dirt (probate and real estate law) she is now an artist and writer of fiction. And is proud to say she has not worn a business suit or pantyhose since! Theolyn obtained a B.A. in Art from the University of Central Florida, Paralegal Certificate from Rollins College, and a B.S. in Paralegal Studies from the University of Central Florida. But more than her university degrees, she’s most proud of finally compiling all the family stories she’s heard over many supper tables and has published in ‘Lake City: Stories from a Country-Ass Town’. Just like the characters in Lake City, Theolyn has an opinion on everything!

Brock’s sassy, zest for life storytelling is folksy and tinged with the underbelly of everyday life. Theolyn told SWFL Online News, “When People ask, ‘What are your novels like?’ I have to say if I had to slap a label on them, it would be: black comedy character studies. They are in the vein of writers like Carl Hiaasen, Stephen King, and with classic French authors like Balzac and Flaubert mixed in. But with a Southern twist.”

Lake City: Stories from a Country-Ass Town

Her first novel, ‘Lake City: Stories from a Country-Ass Town,’ a collection of short stories, was evolved from the country-fried family tales that she’d heard recounted over and over through the years. Tales of all these folks doing activities now foreign to us like gunslinging or churning butter, or doing both at the same time: all done with a pipe hanging out of your mouth. Lake City is an actual town in East Tennessee from where her family hails.

In the stories, the Harrison family has become matriarchal, and they band together in equal amounts of love and bickering. Yet, they are fiercely loyal to each other against outsiders. Brock claims to have pilfered family tales and fictionalized them to protect the guilty, and the dead, and tells them in the timbre of the time.

Reading this book one wonders what motivated these folks? Why would a man, a senator at that, shoot a squirrel out of a tree, turn it into a pet, and later have his sister sew it a pair of pajamas in winter? Theolyn states that the more out of control the story, the truer it was, and she includes pictures to prove it!

Island-XIsland X is another character-driven novel in which she allows those characters to develop from their own heads and the story to flow organically without forcing it along. In this novel a select few federal death row inmates are given a sort of reprieve to a deserted island and cut off from the outside world. Among them are a terrorist bomber, a serial killer, and even a cannibal. Theolyn is focused on the questions of reactionary human nature. Why were they put there? How will they survive? How will they relate to each other? Indirectly, Island X addresses themes of what a sick society does to its people of all socio-economic strata. It is her statement on the disposability of everything and everyone.

In both novels, the setting is also a character. For example in ‘Island X,’ along comes karma and the island is going to win – damn the torpedoes. For the reader who enjoys conspiracy theories to uncover there are multiple meanings with deeper symbolism. But one can read it straight through, biting their fingernails, without even thinking of symbolic suggestion or themes.

Theolyn not only wrote the stories but created the artwork on both books. Another testament to her unique vision Island X’s cover is comprised of early drafts, ripped into pieces and dyed, and formed into the shape of an Island.

With candor, sincerity, and a sly smile, Brock said, “I don’t include author headshots. I always think of Magda’s quote in the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous: “It’s bad enough having to read the article without having to look at a picture of the asshole who wrote it.”

Both Lake City and Island X by Theolyn Brock are available on Amazon in either paperback or the Kindle format.

 

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