Sunday, 19 June 2011

Words with... Lee Taylor

Thanks to Lee Taylor for this interview

How long have you been writing?

I tried my hand at writing back in 1993, when I was at Secretarial College. A few lads got together to see who could come up with the best story within a month, but after one day of watching me come up with a story based on killer rats, they stopped their projects and wanted to see what I was writing. That was when I knew I had a gift for storytelling. However, I didn't follow through with it until buying my first computer in 1999. That's when the 'Morgue of the Dead' story came to life.

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living? 

I wish I could write for a living, but I have had many health problems in the past, which affect my work pattern. From the months of November to March I am pretty useless. Work is hard for me then, and the writing slows down also. The plan is to move to a warmer country; then I can write quicker, but unless I make a living from writing or work then I doubt that will happen.

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem? 

I wouldn't know what the ideal recipe would be because if I did then I would be making a living from it, but I personally have to see a movie version of what I want to write about before I write it. Basically, from chapter 1 to the end I have to imagine 'would this be able to work on the big screen?'. If I see it then I will write it. You could say my ideas are more aimed at movie novels, but the way I see it, if I can sell novels which can also be turned into movies/comics/videogames, then I've achieved 4 possibilites in 1 story idea. I also have to know the beginning and the end before I start a novel; then I just fill in the gaps.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you? 

This is a good question. I was brought up on the old horrors from the late 70s/early 80s, before the big ban in the UK, so I think it's been inside me to write stories that can be turned into sick, twisted movies like the ones back then. The great George Romero has to have an influence or I wouldn't have chosen to write a story about flesh-eating zombies. In general, I think horror movies have inspired me to write and my aim is to see one of my horror stories on the big screen.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre? 

I've written 2 novels, although 'Morgue of the Dead' is the only release to date. My second novel, BEDBUGS (Can you see them?),is based on the old saying 'Night, night, sleep tight & Don't let the bedbugs bite'. It's based in the year 2050, but the local chief of police has to link the recent murders to the ones that happened way back in 1977. The bedbugs are tiny, alien insects that eat people alive. I don't know if I will stick to one genre, as I like horror, comedy & even romance. In my zombie novel I added true horror, comedy with traces of romance to hopefully attract readers of other genres. The same goes for my second novel.

How long did it take you to write your book/s? 

The timescale for 'Morgue of the Dead' was a nightmare for me. I originally finished it in 2001, but I had a huge computer failure, meaning I had to rewrite it on my next computer. I couldn't format the floppy disc on my new system back then, but I had the novel in paper form, so I just retyped it. If you think that was bad, then this will make you cry. That computer got soaked after the fish tank broke and I found out that the discs were copyrighted for some reason, meaning I had to retype it again on my next computer. By 2006, I got an agent who said that my novel was 150 pages too big for a first-time novel, so it took me another 9 months to shorten it to roughly the version I have now. Since 2007, I have been trying to get it noticed, but I self-published it last year. Bedbugs only took me around a full year to get it to my first finished version. Like I said, I struggle for 4 months of the year, but I think if I was to write full time then I can finish a rough novel within 6 months.

Do you have any works in progress? 

Bedbugs is finished in draft version, so I need to edit it to make it more readable. My other started stories are Morgue of the Dead 2 & I've got about 6 ideas for stories that are waiting to be started.

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like? 

Many people tell me what characters they like from my zombie story, and it's nice that each like different characters. I personally like Mike (the chief of police) and Chris (the reporter) as they start off hating each other because of a past incident, but soon have to work together to help solve the mystery as to why people are eating other people. Eventually you see them repairing the rift between them. Chris is one of my comical characters whereas Mike is the serious policeman, so I like how they finally work out their differences.

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you? 

I write at home, but I have no set times. I prefer to write at night, when it's quiet, but it's not cool to write through the night when I have to see my son. I've learned my lesson on that one, so I write when the mood takes me now.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed? 

Most of my characters from my zombie novel are based on people I know. Like family members, friends. They all know, and most chose to be the character I used for them. My second novel is mostly made-up people, but I do have a habit of people watching in my town, just to get ideas for future characters.

How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?

I learn as I go on the marketing side. I hate all that as it slows my writing down, but I know that, without any help, I have to do more than just write. I use facebook, twitter, myspace, even place ads on facebook. Try blogging, mostly on zombie websites or on my website. It's all money though, and without a proper job it's hard to finance the marketing side to my novels.My advice to other writers is to seek help from anyone and everyone. Especially if you are not equipped with the finances. Word of mouth will never fade, and with the help of the internet it gets spread a lot quicker and to places where you normally wouldn't reach.

One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you...

I would recommend 5 books that I'd written, but, if not, then I will struggle. I've only completed 2 novels in my life. I get bored so quickly and my mind can't stay with a novel for too long, no matter if I like it or not. Sounds strange as to why I write stories, but i've found out that there's more people like me out there than I first thought.

Some of your fave things. Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out? 

I don't keep animals. I struggle to look after myself, so I don't want to look after a pet, but I do like fish. Very soothing. Food is food to me. I eat most things. Films can vary. I like most classics from the last 20 years, like Shawshank Redemption, Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, Rocky, True Lies, Avatar, all the way up to the zombie movies of Romero, Zombie Flesh-eaters, The Changeling (George C Scott), The Exorcist and, of course, my fave, the Chucky movies. Colour has to be red, blue or black. Song could be anything. I love songs with meaning, so I tend to sway towards American Country songs. Not the old style, but the new stuff - I like Carrie Underwood, and the fantastic Garth Brooks. Place to chill out is a strange one as I spend 80% of my time on my own, so i'm in a chilled place a lot.

Which book do you wish you had written? 

The Exorcist as it was a classic movie.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why? 

No faves, as i've only read 2 novels.

Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub? 

I've met David Moody & Wayne Simmons, so maybe those 2, but I grew up with the James Herbert, John Carpenter, Stephen King kind of writers, so they would be cool to have a drink with.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over? 

I sing, like sport, play tennis and football when it's warm weather, as I need to keep fit for when the weather hits me hard.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I've been speaking to a producer from America for the past 9 months as she's got ideas to turn my zombie story into a movie/TV series, so in the next 5 years I would like to be behind the scenes on a movie version of my stories.

If you won the Lotto, what would you do with it? 

I've never had much money in my life, so I think it will be hard for me to spend it quickly. I will definitely find a nice country to buy a house. Make it my haven for rest periods. As for the rest, I will treat my friends to a large holiday somewhere. I'm sure I will have many friends once I've won the

Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer? 

I think you asked some good questions, so I can't think of anything else to add. I hope I've answered them well enough for you.

Links - Amazon US has it in all forms again, but with an added blue cover version for only $11.99 - it's the same novel, but this was published by Createspace instead of my traditional publisher, - Barnes & Noble has it in all versions, with a nook download - The Seashell Books has it in a downloadable form for $3.00 - Smashwords has it for download for many devices for $1.99 - LULU is my main publisher and it's available in paperback / hardback with 25% off the original price - meaning it will be cheaper than Amazon. Also available in downloadable form

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