Newark author discusses her punk rock fandom

Newark-based author Kate Tyler Wall will celebrate the release of her debut novel, “Arboria Park,” at the Hockessin Book Shelf on Saturday, July 15.

After Tyler Wall spent most of her life working in scholastic publishing, her foray into fiction writing coincided with her passion for punk rock – a move that earned her the moniker “famed punk rock attendee” in a 2014 article.

Having previously lived in a 50s-era tract house in Dover, Tyler Walls now calls a 50s-era tract house in Newark home – both details from her life that play into the story of Stacy Halloran and her efforts to save her childhood home in “Arboria Park.”

We sat down with Tyler Wall to get the details of her work, and talk about her love of punk.

Q Knowing what we do of your childhood in Dover, how much of "Arboria Park" is real and how much is fiction?
A The story is fiction, as the family is very different from mine. But the setting is based on Rodney Village near Dover, where I lived until I was 12. The house on the book cover is where I lived, and most of my childhood memories are there. My brother and I took it hard when they tore down a street there to build a road. I thought the area’s history and the politics of that situation deserved to be explored and would make a good story. I also brought in elements derived from living in Newark and Brookside as an adult.

Q What makes you a "famed punk rock attendee?" Details, please. And what are some of your favorite bands?
A I was called that a few years ago by a writer from Punk News. I see around 150 to 180 bands a year on the East Coast and am usually the oldest woman there. Short version, punk rock saved my life. My favorite Delaware bands are Victory Boy, Shutter, Disaster Committee, and the Headies. Dave Hause, the Menzingers, and Cayetana from Philly. Frank Turner, Against Me!, Social Distortion, Titus Andronicus, Plow United, the Bouncing Souls, the Smithereens, Living Colour. And most old-school punk bands like Stiff Little Fingers, the Dead Kennedys, and the remains of Black Flag.

Q With a background in political science and journalism, was there any particular reason you started writing fiction later in life?
A I spent my adult life working in scholarly publishing: literacy education for many years and now American history. Punk rock grew on me but I didn’t start seeing shows until I was 50. I started writing fiction the same year, then stopped and started again for many years. I don’t know why it started. I wanted to study history and be a writer of some kind or other when I was a kid but was told firmly that was not possible. Punk is about DIY and creating possibilities.

Q Advice for young writers starting out?
A Don’t wait until you’re 50.