Last week, I had the opportunity to promote the work of Patrick Taylor, who explores concepts of culture, faith, and self-value. His debut fantasy is a historical fiction that centers around a Northman and the Welsh woman he takes prisoner. The world he creates is rich and full, despite it being a twist on our own. But that richness takes on an even greater life as he sets out to write more in his series. Below, you’ll be able to see the next great opportunity we had with the author, as we learn more about how and why he brings his stories to life.
Tellest: Hello Patrick! Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me about your books. I know that you’re hard at work on the second one, and that you spend a considerable amount of time on your faith as well. It’s always a challenge to share the time that we have, so I wanted to let you know that I appreciate it, and I’m certain that the soon to be fans of your work appreciate it as well.
Patrick Taylor: Hello Mike! Thank you for having me. Time is valuable, but time well spent is not lost. Connecting with fellow readers is always a learning opportunity, but more importantly an opportunity to share some of the passions that drive my writing. So, thank you.
T: It’s a recurring theme in these interviews that I ask the authors I speak to who or what inspired them to begin their writing journey. Did you have any stories that you loved when you were younger, or any family members or members of your community that really encouraged you to begin developing tales of your own?
PT: Great question. I have always been an avid reader. I grew up a country boy without access to the internet, cable tv, or cell phones. Most of those things are still not in the area I grew up. So, reading was my way of learning about the great big world. In enjoyed reading articles about different places and times. But my favorite stories were fantasy and myth. As I grew older, I delved into some of the older weavers such as Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Then I found C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. I became hooked. I could not get enough of standing side-by-side the characters, whether they were Conan or Reepicheep. I wanted to create stories that would engross the reader like that.
As I grew, my passion for reading and helping others read led me into teaching. I found myself creating stories that would engage my students and kindle a passion for reading. It was during this time I discovered David Eddings by accident. I picked up a copy of the Diamond Throne.
One of my fellow teachers noted that my stories for the students were good and encouraged me to send out some of them. That began my writing quest. They had been rejected. And that discouraged me, but one of my students told me they believed in me. So, I tried again with a historical time that I love, tied in faith, some fantasy, and myth. Out came Divine Quest: The Lamb and the Bear.
T: You’ve got an inroad to fans in ways that most people might not. What is it like having students who know that you are creating stories that they can find online? Is it empowering, worrying, or something altogether different?
PT: Great question. It is really humbling to be honest. One of my first administrators told me when I began teaching, “I don’t need to come into your class to see you teach. I just need to listen to your students. They will take on your speech and manner. I will know you by your students. That makes me careful in what I create for them to read. This has carried over into writing for the public at large. I think that these books may be read by my students or some one’s students. What am I giving them to help foster their journey?
T: Have you learned about any of your students wanting to take the things they’ve learned from you and create their own stories? What kind of advice would you give to them?
PT: Actually, I have. I have some older students who have taken the idea of historical fiction and others that have pursued an interest in writing about the myths. We actually had a great project in 5th grade where the students would take a mythological figure that we read about and create a Facebook page (on PowerPoint) that the character would have. This led to some interesting stories on their mystories part. This led to a couple of the students expanding the short paragraphs into fleshed out stories.
The best advice is to not give up. Write what is on your heart. Refine and revise, but stay true to the story in your heart.
T: In a lot of ways, you have a fantastic power at your hands with your storytelling. Though your book focuses on historical fantasy, you’ve got your hands on the loom of fate with it—you’re creating an entire world around the events that you’re talking about. What have been some of the challenges of your writer’s journey, and what have been some of the blessings?
PT: Once again teaching gives you a great perspective of Peter Parker’s mantra. The first big hurdle was overcoming the rejection at the beginning. But that is something all writers must face. The biggest hurdle now is the time to balance family, work, and the writing process. I want my stories to have a good grounding to be relevant. That takes research and networking, which takes time. My wife and I have three wonderful children, 2 girls ages 10 and 9, and a boy 1 ½. Their time is non-negotiable, but I have found the happy medium. They try to help Daddy as much as they can.
The biggest blessing is being able to share this journey with my family and readers. One of my readers told me that they went out and bought three more books so they could journey through after reading mine. Instilling that love of reading makes my face glow.
T: When you’ve got more books in your catalog out, those readers will be buying up three of your books! What’s the best bit of news you’ve heard from one of your readers or students about your stories?
PT: For me, hearing how they could relate to the character or characters. Becoming emersed in the story to me equals a reader friendly book. I want my readers to journey alongside the characters. I have a couple of readers tell me this and I could not help but to spread into a wide grin. They felt they were beside Bjarke or Aeronwen as the action and events overtook them. Crafting a tale that draws the reader in is a goal of mine. And as I said before, if they begin or continue a love of reading from tasting my book, then that will brighten my day.
T: What is it like creating characters that resonate with people? Does it begin to feel more real at that point? When you’re dealing with historical fiction, is there a part of you that wonders if certain elements of your story, the magic notwithstanding, are probably along the lines of things that people back then may have experienced?
PT: I love it. I want the stories to create vivid movies in the head of the reader. To compete with the visual world we live in, this mean I have to strive to make the characters vibrant. As far as the experiences being accurate, I do hope so. I try to research times, places, and cultures thoroughly. I want to try to open a door to that time and culture and how it might have been.
T: Is the grand plan still to try and traditionally publish one day, or are you happy with self-publishing? There’s certainly advantages to both.
PT: Being traditionally published would be a vindication of sorts- professionals viewed your work as worthy of taking a chance on. That would be why I would not turn down a good opportunity. But with self-publishing I found with my own creative nature is more satisfied. Growing up in a rural area, I knew many people who were self-sufficient in life. They fixed their own cars, they grew or hunted for their own food, and were kinda jacks-of-all trades. With the self-publishing, you are put in a similar mode. In the end, either way, it is the reader who will judge a book to be worthy or unworthy
T: Beyond the Divine Quest series, you’re also working on children’s books. How would you describe the process of bouncing from more adult fare to content that’s developed with a different target audience?
PT: There are some similarities, but the biggest difference is the relevancy to their life. Adults find kinship in certain situations, conflicts, or emotions; whereas the children’s books have completely different aspects to help the reader feel a part of the story. That is where my two girls have come in. Being creative, I enjoyed creating a fantasy world for their bedtime stories and to help learn lessons based on their day. Telling the story for them and watching as well as listening to their feedback has really helped me to hone the children’s story crafting.
T: In each case, you have a bit of a captive audience. Do you find it easier to write with your daughters in mind, or is it easier to try to write to market?
PT: I can’t say that I write to a market. It more the creative passions, but they are in molds of having accuracy. It more written as testament to my faith. But writing with my daughters in mind is easier.
T: Let’s shift gears again to the Divine Quest series again. It’s a humongous feat to write a single book, but you aren’t stopping there. Divine Quest: The Fire and the Ice is a follow-up to the first in the series, and it’s set to bring about even more depth to the world you’ve built, and it will enrich and bolster the first as well. Did you know while you were working on the first book that you had a sequel waiting in the wings? Is there a third, or possibly more, on the horizon?
PT: Actually, yes there was a series dangling in my head. Seeds of the complete arc blossomed early. I knew where the characters would start and where the series would end but getting them from start to finish would be the journey. It originally started as a trilogy, but as they journey, it has grown. This first book gives you and introduction to the characters and setting of this world. But as of us eventually learn, there is a great big world outside our house/village. The second book carries them into a semi-known area that is steeped in the primordial. The third and other books that follow will explore further from home and more alien environs that help our characters to grow into their destiny through their choices.
T: With the Divine Quest series, is the only way to go forward? Or are you perhaps interested in exploring flashbacks for your characters, or spinoffs where you learn more about the people you’ve created?
PT: You must have been peeking in my mind. There are a couple of the villains that have hints through the first two books. I have in mind spinoff series that would follow their growth and development. Book two has some flashbacks for these characters hinting at their origins and how they came to be in this place and time. The other books would flesh out their arc.
T: Outside of the Divine Quest series and your children’s books, are there any other stories you’ve got itching in the back of your mind, trying to find their way out?
PT: Other than the spinoffs of some Divine Quest supporting characters, I have some modern tales wanting to escape. Some will be set in the 20th/21st centuries, even to a sci-fi vein. But there are other stories that will explore other fantasy worlds with different laws and aspects.
When I was younger, one of my continuing stories involved a cataclysmic invasion by lizard men on a civilization that fled to a new world. In the new world they were able to establish three realms that faced new threats. The actual stories in my mind were set about 400 years after the escape. They are still floating in my mind.
T: Your stories aren’t the only thing that defines you. What is it you would want readers to know about you outside of Divine Quest?
PT: Faith and family are driving forces in my life. I want to be known as a loving father and husband who loves to fan the spark of creativity and ignite the passion for reading. Thank you again for this time to share.
T: If someone wanted to learn more about you, where could they go?
PT: They can visit my website patricktaylor.net, or they can visit our facebook page Shekinah Publishing | Facebook, or on youtube at Shekinah Publishing – YouTube. Please stop by and leave comments or insights. Thank you again.
T: And thank you as well, Patrick! Again, I know you’ve been exceptionally busy, so being able to spend some time with you and learn more about your work has been a great experience. I hope that more people can see the start to your Divine Quest series, and that you are able to continue to find the inspiration and the motivation you need to keep creating such entertaining content!
Once more, I’d like to thank Patrick Taylor for giving us some of his time during such a busy part of the year, and amid all his projects. The Divine Quest series is only just beginning, and it’s one that we don’t think you should miss. If a historical fantasy about the battles we face both on the battlefield and within interests you, you should check out Divine Quest: The Lamb and the Bear on Amazon today!
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