Interview with Author Mark Taylor

Bec: Welcome to my blog, please start out by sharing a little bit about yourself –

Thanks for having me, Rebecca.

Everyone’s heard the ‘I’m an author’ spiel so I’ll keep it brief. I’ve been writing for a few years and have had a lot of good fortune – luck? – with my short stories and novellas. I want to keep doing it. It makes me happy.

Bec: What first got you interested in writing?

I’ve got an overactive imagination. Sometimes, at night, when I’m staring at the ceiling I see faces and people, things happening… and one day I realized that I had to write them down. Clichéd, I know.

When I was a twee lad I dabbled – when I was at school most people experimented with drugs, or sexuality. Me? It was prose. But I branched off into music (don’t tell, but I was lead guitar for a metal band for quite some time).

Now, years later, the music is behind me. I’ve grown up and got a real job, and eventually come back to writing.

You see, it never went away. Prose is as prose does.

Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing and marketing?

‘Writing for sale’ is a minefield. In my experience actually submitting work is the worst thing of all. Yeah, we all think we’ve written the best story ever told. At the end of the day, writers do their best. Sometimes (and I cringe at some of my early, un-published work) we are all guilty of thinking that our work is publishable when in fact it’s not. It’s flawed. But that is a decision that is taken out of the writers hand the instant it’s submitted. However, as a new writer in particular, when it comes to ‘submission guidelines’ you can end up tripping over your own feet. Especially in the short story market. I learned standard submission guidelines (Shunn) quickly, but then found that wasn’t applicable to everyone. Most of the small houses and presses have their own guidelines. Which makes it a massive headache and will kill your story – your hard work – dead before it’s been read. And most of the time you won’t know why.

Bec: Tell us about your book/s –

The Human Condition is something that I fell upon. It’s a collection of shorts that I’ve written specifically as a themed collection. I’ve worked in the short fiction market for years and tried most horror archetypes. It’s just that vampires, monsters, zombies, were-things, etc., have been done so many times, even when I was writing them, it felt… well, I didn’t feel that I was bringing anything new to the table at the time, which has now changed. I’ve grown. But I wanted something that I could write about. Then I got the idea for The Human Condition. People are bastards to people. The biggest horror that any of us see is on the news, in the papers… on the internet. Hell. Hell on earth. So, I decided to write about people. No supernatural, nothing I couldn’t lay my hands on. It’s just plain murder.

Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?

Already? Yes: Human Behaviour.

Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?

I’ve just finished my first novel, it’s in the cooler at the moment awaiting editing. I’m finishing up the edits I’ve got on a collaborative novel that I’ve been working on with my good friend Charles Day that is reaching its final stages, and I’ve just started working with another author – but I’ve got to be hush-hush at the moment. Nothing’s ‘in writing’ (lol). I’ve also got the characters, plan and plot three quarters done for a new novel. It’s different (for me anyway), and I think that I’m ready to bring something new to ‘that table’. I’m bringing a new bent on ‘traditional’.

And, of course, I love to keep working on shorts and flash. It’s a release.

Bec: Weasels or snakes?

Snakes. It’s in the grass.

Bec: What’s your favorite color?

Black, of course.

Bec: What is your nightmare fantasy?

I had a dream. A lucid dream. It was the most frightening and disturbing ‘thing’ that ever happened to me. I couldn’t wake up. I thought I was dead. I’ll never forget the experience, it still haunts me. Does that count?

Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?

A bit of both. Most of the time I write in silence but when not, I sort of settled on Mozart and Metallica. I know them both, love them, and cannot do without them. Maybe Iron Maiden. Or Beethoven.

Bec: Two zombies walk into a bar… What do they order to drink?

A Bloody Mary.

Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?

Well obviously I read horror. But I love – no, adore – comedy sci-fi. And bizarro. And hard sci-fi. And… oh, who am I kidding. I can’t answer that question. The next book I have in my pile is, ‘Shakespeare on Toast’ by Ben Crystal, I’m currently doing ‘The Mad Mannequins from Hell’ by August V. Fahren, and I’ve just finished ‘Once’ by James Herbert.
As for writing, horror. I’ve experimented with science fiction and fantasy, but much as I enjoy writing them, sadly most have ended up in the ‘not published’ box. I just don’t seem to be able to complete the sale with them.
Bec: An elephant is following you around town… Do you decide to keep it as a pet? What would you name it?

It depends. Did it reach my apartment? If it did, well, always ignore the elephant in the room. If not? I’ll call it Stampy.

Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?

Writing is, by definition, lonely. To write, one must sit and… well, write. But the community is often fantastic. I’ve met firmer and stronger friends though writing (some of whom I have never actually met) than I have through ‘traditional’ means. I spend more time with writers now than I do with ‘normal people’.

So, no. If it weren’t for writing I would never have met the fabulous friends that I have today. And the weirdo’s. They know who they are.

Bec: Roaches or spiders?

Hm. I hate spiders. Like, really hate spiders. So roaches. Maybe.

Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?

Read, write, and leave a good looking corpse. Read the submission guidelines. Write what you want to write. Don’t drink too much. Tomorrow’s another day – you can always find a home for a story, it’s not the end of the world. Have a drink. No. Don’t. Speak to someone. Find a counsellor.

Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?

Read ‘Eats, Shoots, and Leaves’. Then ignore it. Then pay attention to it. Grow. If it works for you, then it works. There is no right or wrong, not when you are writing fiction. But pay attention to proper grammar. Sometimes.

Bec: Do you think having other writers as friends is a good thing for your growth as a writer?

Most of the time. I love bouncing things off my writer friends. Sometimes I wish I could bounce off my writer friends. You know. Phwoar. But seriously? Of course. I have people that understand where I am, and what I’m doing, and can actually help. Be a part. Make a difference. It’s only my hope that I can return the favour.

Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?

‘Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers’ by Grant Naylor. It makes me smile.

Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?

Too tough to answer. I can name King, Herbert, Naylor, Laymon, Koontz, Stoker… I mean, the list goes on.

Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

Pie. Would you like some pie? And of course, I can be found, come rain or shine, at my little corner of the internet, Or on Facebook. Sometimes Facebook.

Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! Best of luck with your book and future project!

Thanks for having me and listening to me ramble.


©Rebecca Besser & Mark Taylor, 2012. All rights reserved.


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