John Darnielle on finding the 'joy of discovery' in his novel Universal Harvester

John Darnielle's new novel takes you back to the weird and wonderful world of VHS rental shops.
Author John Darnielle's new novel takes you back to the VHS stores of the 90's (Courtesy of John Darnielle)

Writer John Darnielle says his new novel Universal Harvester was an exercise in "ad-libbing" and surprise. In his latest work Darnielle set out to capture the people and more importantly the conversations he remembers from his own past trips to the local VHS rental store in rural Iowa. "Any story I tell I trust to be in some way about myself at this point," he says.

(Courtesy of John Darnielle)

However, not to make life too easy for himself, Darnielle says he's a staunch believer in the "ad-lib" writing method: "For me, doing stuff that involves some element of surprise for myself, that's when my stories come alive." He sits down with Tom Power to discuss why he tries not to plan out his stories and his need to convey the "joy of discovery" in his work.

— Produced by Ben Edwards


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