So, Sean Taylor is one of the amazing writers I got the chance to meet at ConNooga and he was awesome enough to grant me an interview. He is also an amazingly nice, friendly and helpful guy and I am thrilled to have gotten the chance to meet him! His collection of short stories about superheroes, Show Me A Hero, is fantastic and I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it.
This interview and a book review of Taylor’s latest work, Show Me A Hero, should be appearing in full in the summer issue of the D20 Girls magazine.
1. How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Well, I’m definitely drawn to a sort of Southern type in my characters. I know that and have to fight it sometimes, but at other times I just run with it and try to make it work for me. I’m very partial to Southern fiction and in college I devoured the works of Flannery O’Conner, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner. There was something almost but not quite magical realism about their writing and I like to think I take a bit of that into everything I create, whether comics or prose.
2. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first paycheck. It was only 20 bucks, but it had my name on it and it cleared the bank. I was hooked after that.
3. What inspired you to write your first book?
Honestly, the desire to live up to my wife’s faith in me as a writer. She was the one who inspired me and had the confidence in my writing so I could take my first fledgling steps, so it was only natural that it was she who encouraged my first book that my work appeared in. It was the O’Georgia collection, and I had two stories appear in the second volume.
4. Would you say you have a specific writing style? What is it?
I don’t think I have a style per se. I think I have several styles that I can adapt as needed for a client or for a book. Of course, in a perfect world, I’d write as well as Hemingway, and I did cut my teeth on his and Raymond Carver’s style, so I tend to focus on straightforward sentences, lots of dialogue and characterization.
Now that I think about it, I guess that’s my style, but I tend to enjoy writing that style in almost any genre, from horror to pulp to more literary, artsy-fartsy or even experimental stuff.
5. What books have most influenced you most?
Wow. There are a few books that have influenced me as a person and a few that have influenced me as a writer, so I guess I’ll have to delineate those. As a person, I think C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce and Till We Have Faces, along with Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz have had the most profound impact on my philosophy of life (a very zen-like approach to Christianity, a sort of existentialist form of fundamentalism, if any of those make any practical sense for people other than me). As for my writing, as I mentioned before, Hemmingway and Carver’s work influenced my way of telling stories, and Flannery O’Conner’s work, particularly Wise Blood and the short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” really helped me understand how a person of faith can tell stories without coming off as a mouthpiece of religious propaganda.
6. Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?
Actually, for me H. Rider Haggard is a new author. I’d never read his stuff before I picked up She for my new ebook reader, and I’ve been doing more rediscovering than new discovering right now. Probably the newest living writing I’ve discovered was Kim Richardson a few years ago when an opportunity to pitch stories ideas for a proposed Rachel Morgan comic arose. Loved the books, but unfortunately, the gig fell through.
7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Network, network, network. Get to know people in the business from fellow writers to editors to publishers to fans. Hiding in your room, writing in obscurity can make you vain, but it won’t get you published.
Also, write. Write a lot. Write often. Write like you mean business. As my buddy Frank Fradella says, reading about writing isn’t writing. Research isn’t writing.
Only writing is writing.
Sean Taylor writes prose, graphic novels and comic books when he’s not distracted by horror movies and cartoons, that is.
He’s the writer of Gene Simmons Dominatrix by Simmons Comics Group published by IDW Publishing and has also written for Gene Simmons House of Horrors, also published by IDW.
His most recent work includes both the IDW Classics Mutilated anthology with Joe Lansdale and Penquin/DAW Books’ Zombiesque anthology with Nancy Collins (both currently available at your favorite bookstore or online retailer).
He’s also currently working on an original graphic novel sequel, A Stitch in Time, to the works of H.G. Wells for IDW and a gender-twisted crime drama for Markosia (called Quinn: The Reckoning). He’s also currently writing upcoming miniseries Jesse James in the Mayan Underworld and Last Chance School for Girls for Arcana Comics.
You can find out more about Sean Taylor on his website: here