Tim Taylor is in the house! (No, not the wacky sitcom fixer upper.) Tim C. Taylor is a fantasy Author.
He creates new worlds and is inviting us in!
So grab a ticket and enjoy the ride!
Hi Tim, I was looking at your newest project Last Man Through the Gate. I love the name Codrin. How do you choose a name for your characters?
Hi Lynn, thanks for having me. Where do the names come from, eh? Well, an old technique for creating fantasy worlds is to take one or more real historical societies, and then steal the bits you want for your story, such as names. The idea is that because they are based on real life, these stolen names and concepts will have a consistency that the reader picks up on, and so transfers a sense of believability to your fictional world. After all, one of the thrills for readers of fantasy and science fiction is to be immersed in another world. They must be able to convince themselves that world is real, or the book collapses.
I’m sure it’s the same for your readers, Lynn, who enjoy being transported to the Mississippi of the 1880s. Even the wackiest conspiracy nuts will believe that Mississippi in the 1880s really did exist (I think). I have to work harder to give the reader reasons to believe my world could exist. On the other hand, I get the advantage that I don’t have to check for historical accuracy, and I can change the world to suit my story.
JK Rowling used this technique of plundering the real historical world with her Harry Potter books. Many of her spell incantations borrow loosely from Latin: expecto patronus, and that sort of thing. I’m certain that a better Latin scholar than me would explain how Rowling’s Latin is grammatically wrong, but that’s not the point. Readers pick up on the consistency — and a sense that this is archaic language — and that adds another nugget of believability to the world of Harry Potter.
And so back to Codrin. His world is a rough analog of the Balkans in 1914. His people —the Shrebs — are a composite of Serbs, Jews, and the wider Slav peoples. For the Shreb characters, such as Codrin, I’ve picked real Balkan names, mostly Bulgarian and (as with Codrin) Romanian. I hope that gives a sense of consistency.
I might be out of the loop but what exactly is steampunk?
It’s one of those dreaded things: a sub-genre. Normally that term means books that no one actually wants to read other than a clique of rather strange people, the kind you wouldn’t want your son or daughter to bring home as their new best friend.
The publisher, Tor, has a three word definition: Victorian science fiction, though they take pains to point out that Victorian is to be taken very loosely. In other words, it’s a fictional setting that uses often wildly imagined inventions and anachronistic technology, and then revels in punkishly mixing them together. Steampunk is beginning to influence wider culture. At the moment, the bus I get into Bedford has an advert for a new film: The Three Musketeers. In the background of the advert are airships. That’s steampunk.
Codrin’s world in Last Man Through the Gate is set approximately in 1914, on the eve of the First World War. Politically it is similar but technologically very different. For example, there is no coal in Codrin’s world. The industrial revolution is taking a very different path, using as its power source a strange substance called ‘flek’. Flek is powerful enough to punch a hole between dimensions and we get to see an abandoned American space craft at one point. On the other hand, the soldiers carry muskets and underwater diving involves upturned, weighted barrels and holding your breath. Very dangerous!
With your novels not only do you create fantastic characters, but complete worlds! Tell us about Codrin’s home.
Codrin is a professor of linguistics at Sruno University, the principle place of learning in the Dual Kingdom. The book describes it as follows:
Sruno University was situated in the Vengrian half of the Dual Kingdom. That crazy, ramshackle kingdom was still staggering into modernity out of a much earlier age. The complexity of a country with fourteen official nationalities was addressed by a simple relationship: the Celips dominated the Vengrians who, in turn, bullied the Shrebs. The other nationalities defined themselves in relation to the three main peoples of the Dual Kingdom.
Codrin is a Shreb, and his position as a university professor means that his family is about as far up the social hierarchy as they can go.
Except he loses his post. Nothing that he has done, just political bickering and he is caught in the crossfire. Suddenly things don’t look so rosy for him. It’s a long way down to the bottom of the social order for his two young daughters who have never known hardship. So he uses the last of his money to pay for passage through the dimensional gateway to the colony on the other side. He goes first to establish a job and lodgings; his wife and daughters will follow.
How does it differ from Earth?
I’ll pick one aspect, though it has many consequences. The polar regions of Codrin’s planet are covered in poison clouds that grow in winter and recede each summer. Codrin’s people call these clouds the Stain. Every year, the extent of the Stain grows a little. In hundreds, maybe thousands of years, a day will come when the entire planet will be engulfed in poison. Already, some regions have been abandoned, and great seasonal migrations of people have begun.
The Stain is not all bad, though. It precipitates flek, a powder that combusts in clean air. This flek (which is Yiddish for stain) is fuelling an industrial revolution and boosts psychic powers in people.
As you know, I write Romance, does Codrin have a love interest?
His love is for his wife, Anita, and his two young daughters. Codrin is separated early on from his family. He is driven to extraordinary actions by a compulsion to find them, and is haunted by the question of whether he did the right thing by them to gamble everything on starting a new life in the colony across the Gate.
What is the most asked question you get from fans?
That’s easy! How do I come up with ideas?
The answer is that I like to write the kind of stories that I enjoy reading. I like fantasy and science fiction where there are some big ideas behind the story, and I get the sense that the world where the characters act out their story joins-up behind the scenes.The Lord of the Rings is a good example of this, though perhaps an extreme one.
So I enjoy coming up with world-building ideas, and that’s why I have far more ideas than I have years in which to write them.
Thanks Tim it was great talking to you again! I love Harry Potter and LOTR! 'Til next time!
Honestly, it still surprises me. It’s something I always dreamed of as a child.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My family has strong Irish roots, and my grandmother often told tales that involved elves. I also took a lot of inspiration from my teen daughter and her friends.
Tell me about your book series.
Coexist is a tale of elves and destiny, the struggle between light and dark, and the consequences of war.The sequel, Conflicted, is Keegan's battle to recover her lost identity after the events of the first book, while Rourk struggles to survive without her.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on Consumed the third book in Keegan’s Chronicles. I’m also working on a short story for a Christmas anthology. I have many projects in mind it’s just finding the time to get to them.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I’m lucky living in Dubai it’s pretty cheap to travel. We have visited many countries and I love to incorporate the locations into my books.
Who designed the covers?
I got extremely lucky with the covers. I found Kadri Umbleja on deviantart.com. I can't speak highly enough about her skills. I told her about the book and in minutes she came up with the idea for the design. I had as much say as I wanted, but I didn't need it because what she came up with was perfect. Christine DeMaio-Rice found the perfect font to pull it all together.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I really enjoyed the scenes in Conflicted between Thaddeus and Anna. It was fun to see their personalities come out more.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank You!! I know there are countless books out there. I am honored that you would take your time to read mine.
I would like to welcome, Mike Cooley and his new book
"The Crystal Warrior" to my Blog. Have a seat anywhere.
Halloween is here which means CANDY, CANDY, CANDY and tales of evil. Well, I am keeping my candy but I'll share with you a wonderful story in which the characters are quilted together to form an Odyssey.
The Triad Of Evil
In my dark fantasy novel, The Crystal
Warrior, the primary villains are known as the Triad. They are all very
different from each other, and start out widely scattered on the world of
Adan is a boy, white-haired and
blue-eyed. He's looks like he's twelve, but controls great magic which he
forces from the myrric worm, Ishak, that he has imprisoned.
The shirtless boy walked along the
sand, occasionally stopping to draw glyphs and intricate diagrams below the
high water line on the beach. The ocean of Yrt rolled in from the north,
emerald waves breaking on the white sand. He was short and tan, with piercing
blue eyes and white hair. From time to time he would stop, face the ocean
spray, and observe the breakers with great interest.
Roate is a beggar, deceptive in his
guise as a drunkard.
The drunk leaned against the wall in
the far corner of the Scabbard Bar, then slid to the floor. His dirty lips
moved silently beneath his mop of greasy, black hair. In his left hand was a
bottle of cheap ale. The back of his hand was tattooed with intertwined snakes
in the shape of a triangle. Roate drooled, his dark eyes sparkling.
And Ulon is a farmer, until Larissya
gets the first crystal from her dying Grandmother.
The tall, gaunt farmer finished feeding
the Siltogs and closed the barn door. He slid a rough-hewn branch through the
door handles to keep the animals from jostling free. He walked along a dirt
path, around the corral, past the water trough, and toward his house. It was a
quiet night on the outskirts of Tyali, near the Sathos River. The moons were
both visible, although Selav was brighter than Athas—as usual.
He opened the wooden door, and walked
into the large, dim room. Taking his flint from his belt, he lit the single
candle in the middle of the table and sat heavily in the only chair. As the
candle flickered to life, his dull eyes focused and steadied; as he watched,
things began to clear, and shadows danced deep in the flames, telling him
things he needed to hear.
All three of them have been around for
a very long time. They have been waiting for something.Waiting and watching for
the signs that the Warrior has been awakened.
Adan, the boy, gazed deep into the surf
at dusk that night, and spoke. “The danger—”
Ulon, the farmer, continued: “—as
foretold four hundred years ago—”
Roate, the beggar, finished, “—has
All three of them have a past shrouded
in mystery. All three of them are deadly.
Ulon woke up on the morning after Adan
had forced Ishak to augment his powers, and went into the kitchen to get a
knife. He sat at the heavy wooden table in the middle of the room, and placed
his right hand, palm down and fingers spread, on the table. With his left hand,
he sparked a flint and lit the tawny candle in the center of the table. He
watched the flame burst to life with great interest, and sat staring into it
for several minutes, motionless.
Abruptly, he picked up the blade with
his left hand and--
Adan stood at the edge of the
precipice, gazing down serenely at the creature. An intricate web of wire kept
the beast from escaping its prison. “You will tell me more,” the boy said
quietly. “I want the possession power when they meet. I must be there to
retrieve the power.”
Ishak made a keening sound with most of
its mouths, and tested the guard wires with five gnarled legs; the wires held,
and he let go quickly, as they burned him. The fluid of its body raced around
and around inside the translucent shell, like fireflies in amber.
Roate had been walking south toward the
Sathos River for several hours when the old man made his last mistake. He
appeared over the horizon from the south, riding a dirty polgna along the dirt
road, with saddlebags tied behind him. The old merchant urged the shaggy beast
to the side of the road to skirt the dirty beggar, and averted his eyes.
“Three are one,” said Roate
cryptically, as he shook his left sleeve, releasing a triangular coin into his
palm. He waited until the old man had passed by, and then turned to face him.
He grinned, revealing rotten teeth, and said, “If only I were sorry about
this.” As the merchant turned his head to look back, Roate flicked his wrist,
and the triangular shard shot down the road, stopping with a sickening thunk in
the old man’s head.
The Triad work together to try to stop
Larissya from gathering the crystals she needs to save her life, the lives of
her friends, and the world itself. It's a complex world and a dangerous one.
Read all about it, here: