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#Author #Inteview Lucy Taylor

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PART ONE
1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from about the age of six; my life was very lonely and I used to
make up stories in my head to amuse myself. Also, my grandfather was a writer, and I admired
him. Then a couple of years later, when my mother gave me an expensive (for those days) little
ring, I summoned all my courage and asked her if I could take the ring back to the store and use
the money to buy a typewriter. To her credit, she went along with it. So I had my first typewriter,
which was a huge milestone in my childhood. I’ve been writing pretty much ever since.

2) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I live in a coastal town so I like to walk on the beach and go kayaking. I’ve recently gotten back
into dancing and I enjoy salsa and west coast swing. And I love to travel, even short trips. I just
got back from a weekend stay at the New Camaldoli Hermitage, a Benedictine monastery in Big
Sur that is serene and silent and beautiful.
And cats – for better or worse, my life is full of felines, my own wonderful guys and then all the
cats I trap/feed/foster for The Feline Network, a local organization of a very few volunteers who
work incredibly hard to get feral cats spayed and neutered.

3) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Of the books I’ve published, seven are novels (including NAILED, SAVING SOULS, LEFT TO
DIE and SPREE) and six are short story collections (including THE SILENCE BETWEEN THE
SCREAMS, THE FLESH ARTIST, and UNSPEAKABLE AND OTHER STORIES).
I suppose my ‘favorite’ would be my novel THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES, not just
because it won a Bram Stoker, but because it’s an erotic fantasy, very different from what I
generally write. It’s the most ‘out there’ of anything I’ve written. The title is very personal to me,
because I am a loner by nature and the safest and freest I ever feel is walking the streets of an
‘unknown city,’ where I know no one. The first time I experienced this, I think I was about
twenty-two in Lucerne Switzerland. I suddenly realized that not one person on earth who knew me
had any idea where I was at that moment. It was a great feeling! I try to recapture it whenever I
can.

4) What do you think makes a good story?
For me, the best stories are the ones where, not only is there suspense and revelation, but where
the character or characters evolve in some way, even if their insight comes too late to save them
from a dreadful fate.

PART TWO
1) Where are you from?
I grew up in Richmond, VA, a conservative, provincial Southern city with rigid ideas about class,
religion, sexual orientation, and female liberty. I could write a book (and maybe I will), but for
now I will simply share my favorite joke, because it expresses the decorum-above-all-else
mentality that I was raised with and which led to at least a couple of decades of outrageous acting
out.
Q: Why don’t Southern girls like orgies?
A. Because they hate writing all those thank you notes.

2) Tell us your latest news.
Well, recently my story “The Plague Lovers” was chosen for Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology
THE BEST OF BEST NEW EROTICA and another story “The Family Underwater” was included
by John Pelan as the 1993 story in Cemetery Dance’s THE CENTURY’S BEST HORROR
FICTION.
I have a story “Nikishi ” that will appear in Danel Olson’s anthology EXOTIC GOTHIC 4 (due
out in April or May) and another story “La Senora Blanca” that will appear in Nancy Kilpatrick’s
DANSE MACABRE anthology around October of this year. And I just signed the contract for a
mini-anthology of my work that has appeared in the “BEST OF... anthology series over the years
to be published in the UK by Constable and Robinson.

3) Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes, certainly. People I know, events, places, something I read about or overheard or dreamed of.
I once based an entire character (the minister Butterworth in SAVING SOULS) on a conversation
I had with a preacher who sat next to me on a flight from Detroit to Denver and several characters
in THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES are based on ex-lovers. Anything I encounter as I go
through life is grist for the mill; the hard part is being mindful enough to select what will actually
enhance the story or character.
One story that does come to mind is “Girl Under Glass” which originally appeared in BAD
NEWS published by Cemetery Dance and which I reprinted in UNSPEAKABLE AND OTHER
STORIES. The idea for that story came in part from the events surrounding Susan Smith and the
deaths of her two little boys, but on a more personal level, it’s also a portrait of my mother and of
what it was like being her child.

4) What was/is the hardest part of writing your book?
For any book or short story I’ve ever written, the answer is the same: the hardest part is finishing
the damn thing. Because I guarantee you, with anything I’ve ever written, there comes a point
either in the middle or when I’m editing it that my mind screams, “This is rubbish! It’s no good! It
doesn’t even make sense! What in God’s name was I thinking?!” However, usually I do finish it
and send it out and, amazingly enough, more often than not, an editor likes it and it gets
published. So as Eckhart Tolle says, I have to learn “not to take my thoughts too seriously.”

SECTION THREE
1) Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from a story I just finished called “Summerland.” The protagonist, Sonya Olendski, is in
the Bahamas for her mother’s wedding and “everything in her life” is about to change.
“The tropical sun beat down on her, delicious and stinging as a keen little switch. The cradle-rock
of the dinghy lulled her. She felt like a turkey basting. Rousing herself, she leaned over the side
and splashed water on her face, looking down as she did so to where the reef sloped away, the
water darkening from pale, translucent turquoise to a rich royal blue hemmed in with gorgeous
coral. A school of orange and white clown fish darted above the clustered antlers of some
staghorn coral. It was as she was watching the fish weave in and out among the skinny branches of
the coral that she saw the dead girl.”

2) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book is a collection of horror fiction entitled UNSPEAKABLE AND OTHER
STORIES. About a year ago, I had the thought that I’d like to publish a collection of the stories
I’ve written over the years that are my favorites and the result was this book. If I had to do it over
again, I might include a couple more stories–“Making the Woman” from PAINTED IN BLOOD
comes to mind - I didn’t include it because the language is pretty raw and I guess I thought people
would focus on that aspect of it rather than the message of the story, which is about the
psychology of gender and how women are taught to embrace misogyny.

3) What are your current projects?
I’m working on a story for EXOTIC GOTHIC 5 and on a couple of projects for the Overlook
Connection Press and I’m writing a horror novel set in Richmond, Virginia called PRAYING
FOR THE DEAD.

4) Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t really like to give advice, because everyone’s path is different, but having said that, I
recommend taking up a meditation practice. It clears the mind and helps creativity flow without
becoming tangled up in the dead, flat concepts of the incessantly chattering mind. Great clarity
can come from a mind that doesn’t ruminate obsessively.

5) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love feedback. Find me on FB or visit me at www.lucytaylor.us.

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