Interviews – A few weeks ago I read and then wrote a review of the Alternate History Thriller “River of Bones”. After I published my review, I was able to contact the author, Taylor Anderson, for an interview.
Myself: Your first novel “Into the Storm” was published in 2008. When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
Anderson: I’ve always loved to write. I don’t even know what got me interested in it, but I’ve dabbled at it ever since I was a kid. I like to tell stories and describe experiences and I guess it just started as an extension of that. Life got in the way, alas, and writing of any sort went on the back burner for many years until I suddenly found myself with a “gap” I could fill, and I spent it writing the first Destroyermen yarn–INTO the STORM. Much to my surprise and wonder, it took off.
Myself: What part of the world do you live in?
Anderson: I’m a Texan to the bone and I live out in the country near a relatively small Texas town called Granbury. It’s too hot in the summer, (used to it, but never liked it), but the winters are usually mild and make up for the summers rather nicely.
Myself: I have lived in Texas most of my life and have spent the last 45+ years in Central Texas so I can relate to the heat. How do you relax? What are your hobbies?
Anderson: Wow. How much room do we have here? I like to do all sorts of things–some of which are not particularly relaxing, but they do reduce stress. I love to go sailing, hunting, and fishing, and I like to build everything from model ships to houses. Oh, and I like to shoot real, full-scale cannons. I have an 1841 6pdr and a 3″ Ordnance Rifle, both of which have been in a few movies, but I really enjoy shooting them live in long-range competitions.
Myself: That is quite the unusual hobby. What’s the first book you remember reading for yourself?
Anderson: Racking my brain, I have to say it was one of three; Heinlein’s “Farmer in the Sky,” “Red Planet,” or Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” All were read at about the same time when I was in the first grade. (My family has always been obsessed with reading, and I started very early). Likewise, my daughter read “Treasure Island” and Patrick O’Brian’s “Unknown Shores” when she was in the first or second grade as well.
Myself: Those, particularly The Hobbit”, are awesome reads for the First Grade. I am impressed to hear that your daughter is following in those footsteps. What have you read recently?
Anderson: I just finished David Weber’s “At the Sign of Triumph,” and Simon Scarrow’s “Centurion.” Currently, I’m going back over Ballentine’s “A British Soldier in the American Army,” and “Rebels under Sail.” I’ll read a toothpaste tube if I can’t find anything else.
Myself: What is your favorite genre? book? character? author?
Anderson: I don’t have a “favorite” genre, probably one of the main reasons D-Men touches so many. I like almost everything. I’ll avidly read dusty old manuals and blueprints, horror, history of all sorts, historical fiction, space opera, “action/adventure,” even a little paranormal stuff. I think that’s why I love writing D-Men so much because I’m able to incorporate almost everything I’m interested in into one big story, from hard history to Sci-Fi, and speculative natural philosophy to military action. Most people categorize D-Men as “alternate history,” and there are aspects of that in the plot, but I think “Historical Military Science Fiction–with some other stuff” is probably more accurate. Ha!
Myself: I have to agree that the Destroyermen series is more than simply another alternative History tale. Do you prefer paper or eBooks? Do you listen to audiobooks?
Anderson: I had a Nook–till I accidentally killed it–and I have a Kindle. Both are very convenient and I use the (still living) Kindle a lot. All the same, I probably still prefer a “real” book in my hands. Just old-fashioned, I guess. I’ve listened to most of the performances Bill Dufris has done of my books–he’s amazing–but don’t have a chance to listen to anything very often.
Myself: What makes you sit down and want to share your stories?
Anderson: That goes back to why I started writing in the first place; I simply love to tell stories and relate adventures, and the D-men Series tells a yarn I love to write at least as much as anyone likes to read it.
Myself: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Anderson: I’m hooked now. Writing is what I do, and I expect to keep at it till I fall off the twig.
Myself: Is there anyone who has influenced your writing? Of course!
Anderson: Everything and everyone I’ve read! Beyond that, I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by real heroes and to meet many more in my life. Their lives and experiences have influenced me more than I can say.
Myself: What are the hardest and easiest things about writing?
Anderson: Ahh, that’s tough to answer. Sometimes the “hardest” things just flow, and parts I expect to be “easy” can be excruciating to write. As far as my process is concerned, probably the most difficult thing for me to do is to keep everything straight!
Myself: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Anderson: It sounds trite, I know, but basically, “keep plugging.” Don’t get discouraged, and above all, finish it and send it off! Don’t get mired down in self doubt and fear of rejection. Also, though I think you have to love the story you’re telling, don’t fall in love with your words. They’re just tools to TELL your story, no matter how pretty or literary they might seem. I kill words with bloody abandon when I’m editing.
Myself: You have 13 books published in your Destroyermen series so far. What are you currently working on?
Anderson: The NEXT installment in the Destroyermen Series, of course!
Myself: How should your fans follow you or get in touch?
Anderson: I love hearing from fans on my facebook page and website, and I will almost ALWAYS respond–if someone else doesn’t beat me to it!