Now, a little about Scott Austin Tirrell.
Scott was born and raised in Monson, Massachusetts, a place rarely heard of even by people living in the state. He had a simple childhood of making mischief, exploring nature, and dreaming of the world’s many mysteries.
Monson’s population has fluctuated around 8,000 for the last 40 years. Scott’s graduating class was one hundred, and the town is famous for the granite quarry that closed in 1935 and the tornado that virtually demolished its center in 2011. Everyone knows everyone in Monson, and the pace of life hasn’t changed much. Monson doesn’t even have a traffic light, but what it does have is a 256-acre abandoned state hospital. Say what you will about Monson, but it is certainly a breeding ground for an active imagination.
At 18, Scott went to a small liberal arts college. He was originally interested in music and was accepted into Berklee School of Music in Boston, one of the top music schools in the country, but Scott wasn’t blind to the very real prospect of becoming a starving jazz drummer. So, he chose elsewhere and enrolled as a Psychology major instead. We will never know why he thought that would be a better choice.
At twenty-two, Scott had just graduated with honors with a shiny new undergraduate degree. He now faced the prospects of the real world. Like many of his generation, things didn’t go well. A bachelor’s in psychology is not worth much more than school loan debt, and finding a job in the field was difficult. Scott planned to continue earning his doctorate in developmental psychology, but as math is Scott’s kryptonite, he had to brush up on the subject before taking the GREs. Easier said than done.
Six months later, Scott looked around, and things seemed hopeless. He was still living with his parents and working nights in a terrible job at the US Postal Service. The prospect of going to graduate school seemed to move further and further away. After a failed relationship, Scott became worn out and depressed. Finally, he decided this was it! He wasn’t going to get trapped in Monson like so many others. It was time for an adventure!
Scott had always been fascinated by the history and culture of China. Although he was a Psychology major, this hunger for all things Chinese led to a minor in Asian history. He had taken a travel course to China in 2003, and the prospect of returning always tickled the back of his mind.
So, on a cold December day in 2004, he decided that his life’s journey should continue in the great Middle Kingdom. It was perhaps the most impulsive decision of his young life, but ultimately, the best decision he ever made.
Scott contacted a third-tier university in Baoding City, Hebei Province, and signed a teaching contract. The small industrial city of Baoding (small by Chinese standards, with a population of 2 million) is about two hours outside of Beijing. It had the grim distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in China at the time. Why Baoding then? It was close enough to the staples of the western world found in the capital (like coffee and cheese), but still undoubtedly the “real” China. Scott also had a connection at the university through one of his college professors (connections or guanxi are very important in China).
The experience would change Scott’s entire life. He would spend two years living and working in Baoding, teaching English to a full swath of society (from CEOs to kindergartners), and, most importantly, for this venue, he began writing fiction. Scott also got married, something he wasn’t planning to do, but few have the resolve to stop the steamroller of love. It hit hard and has stayed strong until this day.
Scott enjoys writing various stories, but speculative fiction seems to resonate with him the most. A central theme of Scott’s work is placing people in isolating situations and letting them find themselves. In this vein, he’s inspired by nature, ancient mysteries, and the paranormal. Scott’s favorite author would have to be Clive Barker, but he also enjoys Frank Herbert. Combine the two, and you get a sense of Scott’s work.
Along with writing, Scott finds solace in other creative pursuits such as painting, drawing, playing drums, and carpentry. He loves to create and shares some of these other endeavors on his blog. Scott’s adventure in China also created a love for traveling, seeing new places, and meeting new people. He feels it is the perfect fuel for good books.
Scott’s writing story is not necessarily unique for a writer. He has an active imagination and feels compelled to put it down on paper. He’s been writing full-length novels for more than 15 years with no end in sight. Although the Island of Stone was his first published novel, it was his sixth complete book at the time. Scott has published three more since- The Slaying of the Bull (Historical Fiction), Dawn of the Lightbearer, and The Mourning Son (both Epic Dark Fantasies). Currently, Scott is working on Noonday in the North, book three of his Absolution of the Morning Star series.
Scott currently lives in the Boston area, where he writes when he can- on the weekends and before and after full-time work as a higher-education administrator at MIT. Writing is still very much a hobby for Scott, but he dreams of accolades, fame, and fortune. Join him on his journey, as fantastical as it may seem!