Monday, May 4, 2009
Taylor Anderson Interview
Taylor Anderson, author of the Destroyermen series, is kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions. As usual, some are series, some are not.
LibraryDad - Your last book in the Destroyermen series is out in the wilds now and two months ago you were given the green light for more Destroyermen books. While I'm sure getting published is a momentous occasion for any writer, did it make you feel even better knowing that your work was popular enough that readers wanted more?
Taylor Anderson - Getting published was great. It was an exciting vindication of a vision, an ambition, and an awful lot of speculative labor. That the books were popular enough to warrant more along the same lines was truly humbling. I was amazed by the sheer volume of nice e-mails and letters I began to receive after "Into the Storm" and "Crusade" came out. When my website address appeared in "Maelstrom," the contacts really started flooding in. I can't tell you how much I appreciate those contacts, and how honored I have felt to receive so many from former and current service men and women. Somehow, the Destroyermen series seems to have struck a chord and I consider it a privilege to continue it. (LD - You can check out his blog and see some of those comments from service men and women that are full of praise. To me, that speaks volumes alone about the respect he has garnered.)
LD - I know you can't give away too many details about the upcoming series, but can you tell us how many books? When they'll be published? Will they include the same characters? Will it follow the events right after Maelstrom or will it be much earlier/later?
TA - The main things that will be in the upcoming books are words. Lots and lots of words. Other than that, I can tell you that many of the same characters will appear, along with a few new ones. The storylines will pick up soon after the events described in "Maelstrom," but the direction they take may be unexpected. I would rather not say how many books there will be, or when they will be released until ROC makes an official announcement.
LD - What is it like writing in the same alternate-history genre as S. M. Stirling and Harry Turtledove? Is it hard to compete with them?
TA - I am a big fan of Mr. Stirling's and it has been my pleasure to correspond with him on occasion. I deeply appreciate his gracious reviews and blurbs. I have read a lot of Mr. Turtledove's work, and I enjoy it as well. As I have said on my website, I have been in the business of getting history "right" virtually all my life. To openly engage in such blatantly whimsical "what if?" has astounded my friends, shocked my former colleagues, and generally been a glorious ride. That's how it feels to be "In the genre."
As to "competition," I don't consider myself to be competing with them at all. I view competition in a different way. It is much like a battle in the sense that it ends in victory or defeat for opponents. I have a fairly wide competitive streak, but I don't consider any other author in the world to be my opponent. My opponents are people on other cannon crews when my friends and I engage in artillery competitions. They are the guys I shoot against in rifle and pistol matches. They used to be the guys on the other football or track team. When I was a kid, my primary opponent was my brother when we beat each other half to death.
An opponent is someone you want to defeat in competition. I certainly don't want to defeat Mr. Stirling or Mr. Turtledove--I want them to keep writing! Does this make sense? I'm a little new at this, so maybe I'm naive, but I enjoy a lot of different authors in a wide variety of genres. If I like them, I will read them. I suppose other folks will as well. Until I started spending all my time writing, there weren't enough authors in my favorite genres to keep me reading every night! (LD - Based on your definition of competition, it makes perfect sense. Maybe I was the naive one in asking the question.)
LD - Do you visit your local library? If so, how often and what section do you enjoy most?
TA - Alas, I don't have a local library.
LD - Do you have any opinions on e-books in today's publishing market and tough economy? Do you think printed books will be replaced by e-books or will printed books just become a thing for collectors?
TA - I honestly don't know enough about e-books to have a fully formed opinion. I have never used one before. From what little I know, I'm not morally against them and I suppose they could be convenient, but I prefer solid objects. My office library is stacked to the ceiling, mostly with reference material, and it is comforting to be able to glance about and know there is so much information at my fingertips, in a readily recognizable form. I can say "hmm, I wonder . . ." and as my eyes scan my shelves, they fall upon the book that I know will have the information I seek. The Internet is great, but it can be a crap shoot when looking for something obscure. Sometimes it's there, sometimes not. Sometimes there's something there, but can you trust it? One holdover from my purely historical pursuits is that I like multiple, corroborating sources.Are e-books the wave of the future? Possibly. Will printed books become relics and no longer be produced? I don't think so. I hope not.
LD - After you take your shower, do you dry off before you get out or after you get out?
TA - I don't know. Maybe one or the other. Maybe both or neither. It probably depends on how crowded my thoughts are at the time and whether I actually remembered to get a towel in the first place.
LD - Does your toilet paper come off the top of the roll or the bottom of the roll?
TA - Neither. It comes off the side of the roll on the top of the tank. Sometimes, in a pinch, it comes diagonally off the roll in the toolbox of my truck.
Thanks again Taylor for taking the time to answer our questions. We are all eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Destroyermen series!
You can read more from Taylor Anderson in these interviews:
- Peter Hodges Interview (Part One, Part Two)
- Reading and Writing Podcast (streaming or download)