S4 Ep 2 - Thrillville USA

Season 2 | Episode 4
23m | Nov 14, 2023

Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. This week we have Taylor Koekkoek on the show, who is the author of the short stories series, Thrillville USA. Taylor talks to us about the inspiration behind the short stories and how pieces of the stories are pulled from his life. He talks about how he included Oregon’s opioid crisis into the story and why he felt it was relevant. Then we learn what is next for Taylor as far as future projects he is working on. At the end of the episode, he reads us an excerpt from the first story of the Thrillville USA series, where we follow a character finishing his shift at the amusement park and the scandalous scene he stumbles upon behind the back side of the Scrambler. 


[3:18] What is Thrillville USA?

[4:40] Why did Taylor decide to name his book series after Thrillville?

[6:29] What was the inspiration behind Thrillville USA?

[7:51] How Taylor tackles the subject of Oregon’s opioid crisis and is it discussed in all the short stories?

[11:12] Taylor tells us about the excerpt he is going to read to us.

[13:28] What future works will we see from Taylor?

[15:55] An excerpt from the first book of the Thrillville USA series by Taylor Koekkoek 


[3:19] Thrillville used to be a little roadside amusement park outside of Oregon that felt like a little bit of a death trap with rides that bucked in ways that didn’t seem natural. Many rumors about fatalities and bodily harm were told about the amusement park, but they are believed to be false. 

[6:29] Thrillville USA was inspired by an amusement park that Taylor and his brothers visited from time to time when they were younger. The characters are not based on people he knew directly during his childhood, but instead pieced together from stories he heard from other people that he met. 

[10:03] There is an unintentional metaphor between the amusement park and drug use, being a dangerous activity that is also ominous, fun and exciting. 

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Fiction Credits:

Excerpt written by: Taylor Koekkoek 

Excerpt narrated by: Taylor Koekkoek 


Taylor Koekkoek received his MFA from Johns Hopkins University. His work has been supported by Oregon Literary Arts, the Breadloaf’s Writer’s Conference, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has appeared in Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, online at Tin House, and elsewhere. His short story collection, Thrillville, USA, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2023. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Joselyn Takacs, also a writer.

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Thrillville USA Series

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