Welcome — or welcome back — to another Author Spotlight! If you’re new and want to know more about how the series got started, go check out the introduction post.
Today the spotlight is on Australian archivist, K. J. Taylor.
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Let’s start with the most important. What’s your most recent/next book, and where can we go to learn more about it and you?
I’ve got two upcoming trilogies, one of which will start coming out this year, and the other of which will come out at the tail end of 2018. My closest new release is a novel called The Last Guard, which was originally published in 2015, but the publisher closed its doors and I’ve now found a new publisher who will be re-releasing it. You can read more about it on kjtaylor.com. Once it’s available again in December 2017, I’ll add links to places you can buy it!
Has anyone ever made a suggestion for one of your stories that you liked so much, you altered said story to include it?
Yes! In fact it’s happened twice now. The first time around I was talking to a friend/fan about a character of mine. I told her how I was going to have him form a touching bond with a troubled teenage girl. The friend immediately insisted that the two of them should fall in love despite the 20 year age difference, and I eventually did just that… except I wrote it as extremely messed up and unhealthy, complete with substance abuse, a spot of domestic violence and an accidental pregnancy. My friend was not at all pleased! The second time it happened was with a fan who had been reading ahead in a series of mine – I shared the manuscripts with him as I was writing. He told me he wanted a certain thing to happen. At first I was reluctant, but I ultimately realised that he had spotted something I hadn’t: that I’d been unconsciously foreshadowing this thing right from the beginning. So I went ahead with it, and was very glad I did.
What is the quickest you’ve ever written a book? Longest?
I once wrote an entire 100,000 word novel in four days. No, I’m not joking. Four days. I was a complete wreck afterwards, mind you. I could barely remember my own name. The longest would probably be… maybe a year? When it takes me that long it’s generally because I’ve abandoned the manuscript and not come back to it until a while later. With some of them I never went back, and those books are likely to remain unfinished. Oh well. It happens.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
“The World Is Made Of Stories, And Mine Has Been Told”
Do you know how all of your characters look and sound?
Definitely! It helps that I draw pictures of them, and have recorded myself reading a lot of my books aloud. When I read, I’m always careful to give each character their own voice. And by that I don’t mean a goofy accent or something; I alter the tone, pitch and speed of my voice depending on who’s speaking. It’s a lot of fun!
Can you read other things when you’re working on a book, or do you have to stick with writing?
Honestly, these days I read very little fiction and mostly stick with non-fiction.When you spend three days a week writing novels and short stories and the rest of the week thinking about writing them, after a while fictional stories become something you need to take a break from during Me Time. It’s like working in a chocolate factory; after a while you’d really prefer to just have a salad.
Do you have a favorite book/story among the one’s you’ve written? Why is it so special to you?
Tough question! (That’s why I picked it, actually. I wanted a challenge). There are a few books and stories of mine I’m particularly proud of, but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be the final book of my Cymrian Saga series (given that the series is 18 books long and covers about 500 years, I decided it had earned the right to be caleld a Saga). The Last Guard is book 7 in that series, so we’ve got a way to go yet! The final book is called The Touch of Light, and I’m proud of it for a few reasons. One is that it’s the book where everything (well, most things) is finally resolved, and my favourite characters get the closure they deserve. It’s also the book where I finally said goodbye to that world after over a decade of writing in it, so there was a bittersweet feeling as I wrote the last few pages. A major theme of the story is homecoming – finally forgetting your troubles and returning to the place where you belong, able to rest now since there’s nothing more that needs to be done, and peace has come. That was how writing it felt.
What is one question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview?
Honestly, I love being asked specific questions about the actual content of my books rather than generic stuff like “where do you get your ideas?” and “what advice do you have for aspiring authors?”. You can only answer questions like that so many times before you run out of interesting answers. I much prefer to be interviewed by someone who’s read my books and has questions like “what was the name of [character’s] mother?” or “What did [character] mean when he said [dialogue quote]?”. That’s when I really get engaged and am answering questions for reasons other than to be polite!
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Thank you, Ms. Taylor for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. If you’d like to know more about K. J. Taylor, you can check out her website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Her books are on Amazon.