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There are stories we tell ourselves. There are stories we tell our friends. There are the stories we tell strangers. There are stories we never tell.
Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, is the Third Story. The intersection between the art and the craft, making a living and doing the living, the personal and the professional…The place where all of these meet is the Third Story.

The Third story features long-form interviews with creative people of all types, hosted by me, Leo Sidran. Their stories of discovery, loss, ambition, identity, improvisation, risk, and reward are deeply moving and compelling for all of us as we embark on our own creative journeys.

In addition to my passion for discovering and sharing the stories of others, I have built a career in New York as a musician and producer. Learn more at

May 23, 2017

Author Peter Straub started out with dreams of writing poetry and literary fiction. After publishing his first two novels and two books of poetry, he asked himself the question that so many artists find themselves asking: how do I make a living at this? An agent suggested he try writing a “gothic novel”, advice that reoriented him for much of the rest of his career. His natural ability to write novels that as he says, would be appealing to people who love Philip Roth and those who love Stephen King, connected with a huge audience that picked up what he was putting down over the course of many years.

But before he became a writer in earnest, he was a jazz lover. He discovered jazz as a boy growing up in Milwaukee in the late 1950s. He gravitated toward Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond, Clifford Brown, Bill Evans and Miles.

While the swinging sounds of his favorite soloists followed him from stage to stage and page to page, there was something else that stayed with him as well: the darker moments of his childhood. A car accident that shaped his first years in school and left him alone and isolated in a body cast and a wheelchair, just as he was learning to read. He recovered, but it turned out to be a kind of catalyst for his career as a writer. And there was an even darker secret that he somehow managed to hide from even himself well into adulthood.

In our conversation we explore all of this. The through line of jazz and fiction, improvisation and writing, how the past stays with us into the present, and how watching his Norwegian farmer relatives taught him how to write diligently.