When S. Boyd Taylor was 11, a prediction was made about him that he would be a writer. Taylor says that he hated the idea.
“My mother had this 20-page computer-calculated horoscope made for me at Six Flags,” Taylor said. “Probably because I demanded it –I was always wondering who I was and who I would be, and I am still wondering. I read it end-to-end, and the one thing everything in it pointed to was that I would be a writer. That by the time I had graduated from High School, I would be "an accomplished writer".
“Nothing sounded worse or more boring than being a writer. I fought so hard against it that eventually I wrote a story about a car chase just to prove I couldn’t do it. But my best friend loved the story. Within two years, I had placed a poem and two short stories in fanzines. By the age of fourteen, while my mother and I were expatriates in Turkey, a small Turkish newspaper translated a story of mine and published it. None of these were paid sales, of course, but pretty accomplished for a young teen.”
Today, Taylor described the unifying theme of his work as “Weird.”
“I’ve dabbled in them all. Weird westerns, weird post-apocalyptic universes where teddy bears eat children, weird sci fi stories, weird semi-lit pieces that blend Shiva and Herman Melville — the only unifying principle is WEIRD. I mean, if it’s been said before, why should I bother to say it again?”
One of most recent credits is "A Distant Sound of Hammers," which appeared in Spectra Magazine #1 (http://spectramagazine.com/buy/issue-1/ ). The story will also come out in February in the DAW Zombiesque Anthology.
Taylor said that he is proud of the story because it explores the idea of a zombie society.
“I set a very difficult goal: tearing down Zombie fiction as I knew it, and reinventing it. That’s the rebel in me, always refusing to write inside the pre-existing genres. I focused on what would happen AFTER the Zombies conquered everything. Could they, perhaps, overcome their mindlessness? What would they do to make sure they had humans for food? What sort of society might they develop? Might they even develop their own religion?”
He said that the story was particularly challenging because he had less than a month to develop the concept, write and finish the piece.
“Obviously, with only a month, I relied heavily on first (and second and third) readers to help me work out the logic flaws and come up with something cohesive. The result is pretty awesome, at least in my opinion.”
Taylor said that when he writes, he will use music as a kind of film score to help to set the mood.
“Art is emotion. So conveying emotion to the reader must come first. I do write to music, and of course the playlist is composed of songs that create a specific mood or time period in my head. When I write Heroic Fantasy, I listen to Basil Poledouris’s amazing score for Conan the Barbarian. When I write something set in the Great Depression, I tend to listen to old blues from the 20′s and 30′s — rough, wild voices with a lonely guitar. And so on, for other types of stories. If the music moves me, the story will move too.”
Taylor said that if he regrets anything about his writing career, it’s that he took a break from it.
“I went to college, got a BA in Creative Writing, and by then I was burned out. Nothing makes you sick of writing like a degree in it. I couldn’t stomach writing anything, and it had all come so easy up until then that I got cocky and thought, "I can always come back to this." So I disappeared into the work-a-day world. That was over a decade ago.I have been try to get back on a roll ever since.
If there’s someone out there that has everything going for them in writing and you’re thinking about walking away because you can always come back, listen to me — don’t do it. Ride the momentum. Don’t give up, don’t walk away. Luck doesn’t last forever, and if you walk away it will most likely NOT be there when you come back.”
Taylor has a regular column that he runs on his livejournal entitled “On Writing” where readers and authors can find advice on writing style. You can find him on the internet at his livejournal: http://sboydtaylor.livejournal.com/
Readers can also find him through facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/sboydtaylor/
As well as on twitter at: sboydtaylor
A list of his short stories may be found at: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=115308729451
Many of these short stories are available free through online webzines.