My guest today is Taylin Clavelli, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time this year at the UK Meet. A lady of many talents, as you will see, she currently has 4 short stories published within anthologies fro Dreamspinner Press and Wayward Ink and a lovely old school Western novel, Dakota Skies, recently released by Wayward Ink Publishing.
Hi Taylin and welcome.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
No I don’t have a day job, but I do run a Martial Arts Club in Taekwon-do. I am pleased to say the parents of my students know what I write and many read my website and buy my books.
When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy?
I tried my hand at flower arranging once, but they ended up more like something that had fallen out of the back of a van. It is only my writing that I am creative with, but I do enjoy horse riding and my Taekwon-do.
Have you ever written about it?
Horse riding, yes, TKD no. I am an experienced rider, capable of cross-country and show jumping. I’ve even ridden western and tried my hand at barrel racing. I enjoy putting horses into my stories. Some of the horses are based on a combination of equines I have encountered over the years.
What are you reading?
Not currently reading anything as I am busy with my current projects. But when I do read, I generally read something with an historical background or something with a touch of sword and sorcery and a good dose of how’s your father in it. The last book I read was The Book of Chaos by Nick Drake. Before that it was Echoes of Mercy by Lily Velden.
Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?
Yes, it’s not an M/M book but I loved the Ramses books by Christian Jacq. I love Egyptian history and his books delve into the life and trials of Ramses the great. His attention to detail and his scene setting truly makes the reader believe they are in Egypt in the court of Ramses himself.
In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?
It varies, but for the most part a situation enters my head, followed by plot and then the characters. A scene can bug me for days and longer. That’s when I know I will have to write it down. Then I start thinking about what events could have led to that situation and so a plot develops. Last as the plot thickens the characters come to life, because an image builds in my head of the type of person who could end up in such a situation and the characteristics such a person would have.
Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them?
They develop as I work with them, and as the story progresses I sometimes go back and change something about the characters. Characteristics develop first, then size and shape, followed by wardrobe and finally specific features. When I’m writing a short story I often don’t delve into the fine details of a look as I prefer to let the reader fill in some of the blanks.
Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
Yes, they are more of a thought and feeling to begin with. Although, for example if I am writing about someone who is an experienced horse rider, I already know they won’t have spindly legs and their core will be strong. So depending on the background of a character certain physical images will be in place. Usually by the time I am three or four chapters in, the main character is established in my head, even if sub-characters are still developing.
Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake?
I would like to write a good corset story, as I love history. I would say a story involving Egyptian history, too, but I already have one of those planned. As far as avoiding a genre like a rattlesnake, one can never say never about any subject or genre, but I don’t think I’d ever write a BDSM book. It’s not that I haven’t read a few BDSM stories – I have. It’s just that I like to have good research to back up my writing and BDSM isn’t an area I would be able to read a book about – I think it’s something I’d have to physically experience to be able to understand.
Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?
My novel Dakota Skies is primarily a love story, but the there are plenty of action scenes where romance takes a back burner. When I write the romance elements I work purely from emotions, they dictate who does what, how and when. I write purely from the gut, letting logic take over later when I realize that a certain position isn’t even possible.
Writing action scenes is different again. It is more like plotting a war game. Heart comes into it later, if I kill off any characters, but primarily, it is a logic board of angles, trajectories, forces and reactions to what can be seen, or not. It is more of a game of chess than anything else. Who is going to be the pawn, or the knight and who will be left standing at the end.
Put together your ideal team of men/women ? drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional ? who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?
Thranduil from the Hobbit, purely because he’s a lethal good looking bastard with the experience of ages who I believe could get a person into or out of any situation. My husband, because he has nerves of steel and is one person who can stop me panicking, he’s like my own Spock. Tony Jaa and Jet Li – two totally awesome martial artists. Loki from Thor because he’s a cunning SOB and the one liners he comes out with are brilliant. The Avengers’ Black Widow because she is just awesome, and the Incredible Hulk, because – well, he’s the Hulk.
Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?
Mm, a difficult one. There are two villains which I think I’ve ever liked. Loki from Thor and The Wicked Witch from Snow White and the Huntsman. I like both for very differing reasons. Charlize Teron hasn’t made a movie yet that I don’t like and I’d prefer her character over any other, even if she played a stunted troll. Loki is evil with a sense of ironic humour that for me, makes the movie.
As far as prized villains go. I like them to be either downright evil with no redeeming features or incredibly intelligent. Worthy of making our hero a champion.
What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished. Could we please have an excerpt of something?
At the moment I am working on a story called Secret of the Manor. It a ghost story set in the UK, where a modern man has an encounter with life in the 1500’s. It is an m/m story, but how it is going to finish, I haven’t a clue yet. Here’s an extremely rough excerpt – please forgive the lack of grammar, it is the first draft.
Warren had never been out on his horse at night. Only the moon lit his trail as his black stallion gingerly put one hoof before the other.
“It’s okay boy.” Warren soothed, stroking the silken neck.
He had an idea of the direction he was going – basically up, through trees. Wind fluttered the leaves and branches creaked.
He heard a cheer in the distance and rode towards it.
A patch of mist marred his path, and a twig hit Warren’s face, but he kept going. Argo stopped fretting and suddenly seemed to know where he was going. He puffed in excitement and upped his pace. It was all Warren could do to hang on.
To save his skin Warren leaned against Argo’s neck and put his trust in his steed. All he could hear was the 1 2 3, 1 2 3 thunderous beat. Warren almost lost his seat when Argo took off over a fallen tree and burst out of the mist and wood.
With a whinny and a rear, Argo announced his presence. Warren clung to the saddle and prayed.
Born in the wrong time…
In 1875 Dakota, Sheriff Jamie Carter has to hide his interest in men, even from his gutsy twin sister, Anna. On a good day, the truth can mean a bullet between the eyes, and on a bad, one in the back.
A man on a mission…
Jamie leaves Anna in charge of Blackrock and he hits the bounty hunting trail, along with his faithful equine companion, Houston. Five territories, scores of ‘Wanted’ posters, and many bullets later, his path unexpectedly converges with that of enigmatic loner, Kit Brooks.
Two men with one soul…
Will the smoldering fire between them rage into an inferno and break down protective barriers, allowing them to find love? Or will it separate and kill them?
Beneath Dakota skies…
Jamie and Kit’s story is a sweeping saga of cowboys, Indians, persistent broads, and vengeful villains, where the cowboys aren’t always the good guys, and love can’t be taken for granted.
Buy the book:
About the author:
Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.
Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.
Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.
Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.
Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.
Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:
Laughter – especially that of her children.
The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.
The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.
Earlier this year Taylin had stories published in anthologies from Wayward Ink. Now they are being released for sale individually.
Sleepwalking will be available from 18th November 2014
Invisible will be available from 28th October 2014