Today we talk to Emily Taylor.
Q) Tell us something about yourself.
Well, I’ll start off by saying that I’m short for my age, a bit of a nerd, and call my writing/music room ‘The Dungeon’ because it lives under the house. Emily Taylor isn’t my real name, but Taylor was close to being it! Apparently there were too many Taylors being born in the hospital when I was close to due, so my parents changed it. But I love the name, so it was my first choice when I went to create a penname.
Other then that, I actually study music technology at university—not writing—except I do a screen/scriptwriting course elective on the side, which is a lot of fun.
Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?
A Soul to Take is set in a dark, urban world where demons have been integrated into society. Elixia, our snarky main character, works for the Agency to keep the order between demons and humans—except one of her missions goes sour and her sister is kidnapped.
To save her only living family she has to do the ultimate ‘taboo’ for an Agent: sell her soul!
I think readers will like that it’s a little different. It’s a new adult book, so a bit more mature and gritty, and I’m not one to hold back on the violence. Elixia gets into a fair bit of crap and I show it how it is. But it is a lot of fun.
Elixia has a peculiar view of the world, and the people she hangs out with are equally quirky. The main love interest also isn’t some cliché hero either. He has his own demons (no pun intended), and struggles to keep Elixia safe when she seems compelled to jump head first into every piece of danger that comes her way. But unlike the stereotypical ‘knight in shining armour’, he has own responsibilities and agenda, and understands Elixia can’t be his number one priority which leads to some difficult situations for her.
Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?
I can’t remember, but I know I had it early on, even before I started writing. It was, and is, one that I particularly love. I created it at a time when I was trying to be all fancy and poetic with my titles (one of my stories was called To Turn Left so go figure). I probably have a document somewhere with a list of ‘maybe’ titles as I worked it out. But it seems pretty forward.
I will say this though—I didn’t know about the novel and movie (different projects) My Soul to Take when I created it. I remember one of my friends bringing the book in during sports, all that time ago back in highschool, and shoving it in my face going: “Look at this!” And I was like “Noo!” I still haven’t read it. I guess I’m a little stubborn.
Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?
Heaps. Just heaps.
I’ve done research on all kinds of demons, ideas of immortality, homunculi, and the soul—and yes it has been proven that there is an ‘unknown’ percentage of your weight that leaves you after you die which scientists to suspect to be ‘the soul’, or so they say. That is kind of a fundamental of my trilogy.
I’ve done research on serial killers as well, and the one in A Soul to Take—which I can’t say much about without spoilers– was an actual guy. A French soldier from memory, he did unimaginable things to… Well, I can’t really say. But I was highly disturbed reading the article, so I thought it’d be a good idea to put it in my story because that’s the type of person I am.
Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?
Truthfully, the slimy, casino owner Mason has a special part of my heart. I can’t delve too much into my reasons without spoilers unfortunately, but he’s a bit of an underdog.
Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?
No. I actually think I got the idea of him from a Sherrilyn Kenyon book. I’m not too sure. I don’t like basing characters on people I know—it’s bit too funny and I always fear that the ‘real person’ would come across my book and just know which would be awkward. It’s the same with names. I try to avoid using names of people I know.
Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?
I wouldn’t know how to describe my style. I think Stephen King has had a big influence on me in addition to Kenyon and Illona Andrews, simply because they’re the type of books I read the most. It’s a very straight to the point type of writing: choppy in actions scenes, at times descriptive—but in a concise manor. I also like having a strong voice as the focal— though I’m learning Elixia can be a bit of an ass sometimes, but in her situation you can’t really blame her.
Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?
I think it’s been about five years in total since I started getting these ideas together, and then about three years at least, since I started writing.
I drew inspiration from all over the places—mainly anime actually. I remember watching Black Butler in grade ten, maybe nine, and I liked the idea of demonic ‘marks’ and contracts. Then I came across Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the idea of immortality, souls and homunculi. The little plot bunny from Black Butler grew bigger—and finally I watched Baccano and this idea of an elixir that ‘creates’ immortality and yeah. They’re not the only places, but I’d say they are the main ones on reflection.
I did a lot of research to see where the authors of those animes and books got their inspiration from and started bringing it all together.
Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?
I’ve been writing since early primary school on and off, but it wasn’t until I was about in grade five or six (10-11 years old) that I started seriously writing and joining sites such as Goodreads. I remember being in grade four and lying on the ground with one of those giant, old white computers and typing away cause I couldn’t use dad’s new black brick of a laptop. Sad, but simple times.
Becoming an Author just seemed like a logical step. I’ve always been a big reader, but I’ve done so many things in my life and I’ve come to realise storytelling is my passion in all kind of forms and media. I love telling stories and this is just one of many outlets that I can share these tales with people.
Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?
Again, Stephen King. It used to be I just liked the ‘idea’ of him. I knew all his stories—had seen a bit of his films— but I didn’t start reading his books until highschool. And there are so many novels I love from the Kate Daniel to Let the Right One In, And Then there were None to Les Miserables, Digital Fortress, Wizards First Rule, The Seventh Scroll, and The Seer and the Sword—I could go on. And that’s without even touching anime and manga—movies and tv shows!
They all inspire me– a good story inspires me. Like only recently I read this manga called Orange Marmalade, which was amazing. I read it in a four hour sitting and there were moments when I was grinning ear to ear, then others when I was close to tears, and by the end, it was midnight and I just sat there going, wow. And that’s what I want to give my readers. I want them to sit at the end of my books in wonder at the experience they have had and the overwhelming love they feel for my characters. It’s a big ask, but I won’t stop working at my craft until I get to that stage.
Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?
Not giving up.
I will always write. But once you get that first draft done, it’s keeping the motivation to rewrite, restructure, go line by line editing—and still love it. That’s the hard part. They say you hate your novel by the end of the publishing journey, and for me, not really. I love A Soul to Take. There are times I don’t think it’s good enough and more like an old friend—or even ex-boyfriend– and I have to ask myself why aren’t I moving on? But you need to sucker punch that doubt in its face. Push past it, and then you get excited again.
Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?
Write. Write. Write.
But don’t just spew out words– work at your craft. You never stop improving. Read the help books and articles, go to the workshops and electives, but most of all, ask people who are better writers—or at least great critics—to help you.
With this so-called age of technology, if you are serious, there is no reason for you not to put yourself out there. Get on the sites. Start a fan base.
In the end, it’s about you loving your stories and loving your fans, and them returning the love.
If you love your work, it may take time (plenty of it) , but you’ll get there in the end if you’re stubborn enough.
Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.
I’ve nearly finished my Partially Angel trilogy! I’m about half way through the last book now. ‘Blood of Angels’ was my first book back in 2008/9, and by first book, I mean past the 50k mark. Then I rewrote it in 2012/3 and didn’t stop. Being my first book and trilogy, it has a special place with me. So hopefully, that will hit the shelves in a few years if I work hard enough and have a little luck.
I’m also on the third book of my fantasy series, ‘Cinretta’, and looking to rewrite my stand-alone novel ‘To Turn Left’ this coming Christmas and hopefully ‘UNMASK ME’ next year.
Instead of finding a new world, I want to polish and do justice to the ones I have created already, before moving on again. So, heaps to do!
Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?
If I could write any novel? I have no idea!
Les Miserable is ringing in my head for some reason—but I think that’s just because it is a classic, is a story I love, has a musical(!!) and is so successful.
Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?
Ah, geez! So much pressure!
Please read my story about Elixia, a kickass but kinda-dead heroine, who sold her soul to save her sister. Elixia means well, despite having a serial killer to take down and a trafficking operation to get to the bottom of. Oh, and did I mention there’s a door between her bedroom and the Demon Kings? I promise, it’s not like that… And Elixia’s changing too. She hopes it’s the contract mark, because if not, her parents may have forgotten something important before they kicked the bucket…
Buy The Book From: REUTS Publications and Amazon starting 8/26
Facebook : Taylor.Ink
Twitter : @EmTaylorInkie
Goodreads : A Soul To Take