Hell there travelers,
Here we are again with another author interview. My favorite thing about Saturday’s. Sci-fi author H.W. Taylor will be joining us today. I love getting to know new authors and sharing that with you readers. Let’s get this show on the road.
What inspired you to start writing? *
Reading was a common event in my home growing up, so it seemed natural to move into writing. The stories of Ray Bradbury, the Star Wars novels, Tolkien, these were my breakfast foods.
When did you decide that you wanted to publish your first story? *
I wrote two novels over the course of about four summers. As a teacher that “afforded” me large chunks of time in which to write, but I wanted to get faster. I wanted to be able to sit down at my computer for an hour or so and produce a chunk of words. It was then that I decided to work on a series for publishing. That was 2017. Five books and two novellas later, I’m pleased with my progress.
Describe your writing space. *
I have an office at the school I teach at, which is where I do the bulk of my writing. It’s very unadorned aside from the books. My desk is swallowed in books and papers, but I have a photograph of one of my creative gurus next to my laptop, the poet E. E. Cummings.
How do you do research for your books? *
As a teacher, research fits naturally into the day job. I teach history and literature and I get to teach an astronomy elective. As a science fiction writer, those are prime subjects to mine for ideas.
What motivates you to keep writing? *
I have so many stories I want to tell. It was frustrating to have these stories building up in my when I recognized my skills as a storyteller were lacking. I wrote for myself, I wrote for friends, I got feedback and critique, and I kept honing until I felt ready to publish. The excitement I feel when I finish one story and begin the next is what feeds me, even when the royalties aren’t anything to write home about.
Writing can be emotionally draining and sometimes stressful- particularly when stepping into the publishing realm of things. Any tips to share for the aspiring writers out there? *
I’ve realized that it’s important to finish things, even if you aren’t happy with them. For many years, I was a much better critic than writer, so all the flaws in my own work were discouraging and I would abandon my work. I feel like I stunted myself for a time because of that. It’s important to keep writing because that’s how you improve. I wish I had finished all those crummy novels and stories that I abandoned, not because they would be worth publishing, but because they would’ve helped me improve much faster than I did.
Tell me about the books you write. *
I write science fiction. It’s my first love. I love adventure, weirdness and uncanny metaphysics. I watched Empire Strikes Back from my mother’s lap and grew up reading Ray Bradbury so that mix of action and tension is what has shaped my writing. But Douglas Adams ruined me for years with his humor, so once I finally stopped trying to copy him and focused on incorporating that sense of fun, it worked out better for me.
How many books have you written so far? Are you in any anthologies? Which book has been your favorite to write? If you have a one that is. 🙂 *
I’ve written one book of short stories (with another on the way), a space opera trilogy (with a novella side story), and a sci-fi military book (plus prequel novella) because I was inspired after rewatching Band of Brothers with my sons (and reading some military fiction on the side). The military book is titled We Did Not Reason Why and it came out in a blitz during our recent lockdown. It had been bubbling in my for a few weeks and when things fell apart, I plopped down and spit it out. It had a real simple shape and allowed for a touch of literary musing that kept it loose. The cast of characters is wide, since what I loved about Band of Brothers was the huge cast that you dipped into for an episode or two and then wandered over to someone else. I have a core of characters in mine and there’s a bit of a mystery as to who is narrating that’s fun, and there’s this growing sense of dread that carries moves the story forward. It was the fastest I’ve written, which I guess means it was the most fun. There’s always a point in the later third of the book where I fall into depression and have doubts and run into some kind of wall. That happened with We Did Not Reason Why, but it was a smaller barrier. Of course, my short story collections are easy because those usually come about with a bolt of inspiration and I take two or three days to jam those out and then edit them later down the road. Once I get enough to fill a manuscript, I collect it. So those are the easiest I suppose. This year I’m trying to write one short story a month, so I’ll have another book of stories coming out next year.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? Why are they your favorite? Are they the main character? Tell us about them. *
My sci-fi trilogy is called the Unique Miranda Trilogy, staring Unique Miranda. She was a character leaped out of my daydreams and demanded I put aside my other project(s) and write about her. It was going to be a solo novel, but she was so inspiring and fun that more stories poured out and I had to keep tracing them. She’s a little bit like Wall-E, the Pixar film. Everyone that meets Wall-E is transformed. He breaks them out of their lethargy and normal, usually dreary, life. Unique was the same. She was a medical refugee from a previous era that wakes in the future, cured of her disease, but indentured to a huge corporation because of her medical debt. So her story begins where she’s trapped on this little moon where she has to work off her debt. She’s depressed and her life looks grim. She’s on the moon with three other rejuvies (as they’re called) and steadily she learns to hope and then to dream and dare to escape. I found her a very satisfying character to follow.
Tell us about your latest writing project *
My next series is a spin off from the Unique Miranda Trilogy. There was a character, that was supposed to be minor, but who steadily thrust herself into all the action. Her name is Juno Pax and she is a soulbot (my term for advanced A.I.), intended to be a comfort toy, but who was maxed out on the available intellect and emotion complexity upgrades. I found her story as compelling as Unique’s. At the end of my trilogy, Juno still had a story to tell so I decided to keep going with a Juno Pax Trilogy. It’s great because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Unique and the gang. I left Unique in a much better place, but that isn’t to say everything she fought against was resolved (she’s going after a huge corporation and an intractable societal problem), so I plan on peeking in on Unique, while I focus on Juno’s story. Both trilogies are focused on Freedom, Unique on freedom of labor and Juno on freedom of emotion. It turned into a very fruitful world to explore. It’s been quite thrilling.
Let’s get to know a bit more about you. What do you like to do when you are not writing? *
Going on walks with my wife, reading books with my boys (I have five sons), drinking coffee in the morning and some sort of adult beverage in the evening.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? *
Imperfectionist, silly lover.
If it were possible to have your favorite season all year long what season would it be? *Fall
Why did you choose that particular season? *
Either of the transitional months would be fine. I live in the South and the heat gets way out of hand, so to have the cooling influences is a major plus for the outdoors.
What songs/ music are on your playlist? *
When I’m writing I like to match my genre, so since I write sci-fi it’s the Tron Legacy Soundtrack or the Stranger Things Volumes. For my other listening pleasure it’s Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi with some other pop/rock thrown in. I’m currently digging the new Haim album and Fiona Apple just released an amazing record. I’m looking forward to when my sons start bringing music for me to listen to. I enjoy being all over the map.
What is your favorite food? *I love a good burger. All kinds, maybe even every kind of burger.
Who is your favorite author and why? *This is impossible to answer. I refuse to play by the rules. I teach literature so I get to say Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Melville, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Gene Wolfe, Neal Stephenson, Emily Dickinson, the Robert Poets (Frost, Lowell, Lax, Creeley), Ursula LeGuin…
What are you reading right now?
*It’s Teacher Privilege to mention more than one because I read in stacks: Asimov’s Foundation Series, Stephen Ambrose on trains, P. D. James on detective fiction, and Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin.
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you? *
Hm. I wrote four sonnets in the last three days. I’m outlining my trilogy, and I want to keep writing so I gotta flex somewhere.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
*I’ll mentioned one book, The Unique Miranda Trilogy (also available in print): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0876D2XW5
But here’s my author page to check out my other books: https://www.amazon.com/H-W-Taylor/e/B07H4QV3C9
You can keep up with me on my facebook page: Facebook.com/mythrillite And sign up for my newsletter here: altarwise.com/newsletter
Thank you for joining me on my blog today. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we head on out? *
Thank you for having me on your site. It’s great to connect with readers and lovers of the genre.
Thank you for being here H.W I look forward to checking out your books 🙂