Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lisa Taylor: The IAN Interview

Well, I’m the youngest of three children, born on May 18, 1988. I spent my childhood moving all over the United States and have loved reading since I learned how. In May of 2010 I graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Physics. Unfortunately I was medically discharged from the military soon after. I spent a semester in graduate school studying physics while I sorted out what my back-up life plan was, and then left school to begin publishing my writing. I’ve published one novel and a series of short stories on Kindle, and I’m currently working on the first of a YA Fantasy trilogy.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.
LT. The Hour of Tiamat is YA paranormal fiction, and takes a very unique perspective on the apocalypse. It is based on Sumerian mythology mixed with magic and ancient aliens. It is the culmination of years of personal research on this fascinating subject. Here’s the blurb from the back:

“We've all heard of the Mayan predictions of a vast change coming in the year 2012; but it turns out the ancient Sumerian people had a very similar prophecy…

The dreaded Necronomicon, a book of fable said to contain all the ancient knowledge of the Sumerian civilization has surfaced and fallen into the hands of four teenagers in a small Texas town.  Tonight, after years of studying its dark teachings in secret, they gather to call back to Earth those Gods that tried to enslave humanity over ten thousand years ago, and in turn become rulers themselves. 

Under threat of his life, Tristan helps them complete the ritual; but does that mean it is too late to stop this apocalypse? With Evelyn, whose past and future seem inextricably linked to Tristan, their friend Hunter and a host of surprising paranormal helpers, Tristan will race against murderers, monsters, and time itself to shut the ancient gate before our evil creators are upon us again.”

IAN. How long did it take to write The Hour of Tiamat?
LT. I wrote it off and on for quite a few years. I wrote half of it over a period of six months or so during high school. I then took about five more months during graduate school to go back and edit everything I had written during high school and then finish the book.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
LT. My fascination with ancient Sumerian mythology, the idea of ancient aliens (long before the history channel show came on, mind you) and my love for H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.
LT. Well, it’s a long process. I tend to write at night and in spurts. When I’m in the thick of the action of a particular scene, it’s hard to stop writing. Then in between sections I have to step back for a few days and let what I wrote settle. Then I go back and re-read it to make sure I actually went in the direction I wanted. Then I start the whole process over for the next scene and section. Unfortunately lately, with a job to be at in the mornings, staying up all night writing is no longer practical, so I’ve been trying to re-adjust. Forcing oneself to write during a specific time, inspired or not, is harder, but in the end is what you must do if you want to be a professional writer.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
LT. I did not use an outline. I tend to be a write as I go type person. However, while that worked fine for a stand-alone novel, I have found that to be harder while writing the fantasy trilogy I’m working on. To make sure the books connect and interact with each other over the entire trilogy has required me to do some outlining and planning.

IAN. How is your The Hour of Tiamat different from others in your genre?
LT. It mixes a LOT of different things. The Sumerian mythology in the book is accurate, so one who considered the idea of ancient aliens being a possibility might find this book to actually be plausible, even though it is written in a more fantastic way. But it’s not all learning. There is romance, difficult ethical struggles, and personal demons that are fairly serious for a young adult novel.

IAN. Is The Hour of Tiamat published in print, e-book or both?
LT. It is published in both, hardcover, paperback and ebook.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
LT. Well, I hope they come away with a sense of hope, that prophecies and fate and predestination, if those things exist, still are not all powerful, and that maybe there is help out there in what seems to be a scary universe. I also hope that it helps those who might be struggling with personal demons similar to those in the book. I hope it helps them realize how much bigger the universe is than just their life. Sometimes not allowing the painful things in our lives to become the most important things in our lives can help.

IAN. Where can we go to buy The Hour of Tiamat?
LT. It is on amazon, barnes and noble, and most online avenues. You can also order it at Barnes and Noble stores.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
LT. My next book is not related to The Hour of Tiamat. It is the first of a YA Fantasy trilogy, entitled Crystallized (Book One of the Crystal Chronicles). It is set in a fantasy world fairly similar to 18th century England, though there are many other cultures mixed into it as well as some of my own inventions. In it, fifteen year old Rachael Elizabeth and her friend Annalise are drawn into the magic that permeates their world through a dream become real. Though their society is ruled by a strict religion that forbids such things, they find out about a demonic plot taking place in the haunted woods near their town, Tairna. Possession is becoming rampant and the only way they can stop it is all out magical battle, with the help of a poor workhouse girl.
This is only the beginning though, for when they are shunned from their town they’ll begin to uncover even more secrets and the history of how their entire civilization came to be will be shattered to reveal a much more magical past. But can their society survive the shock of it?

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

The Hour of Tiamat by Lisa M. Taylor
193 pages
Paranormal Fiction, Horror, Apocalypse

Tristan kept his breathing shallow as he trailed behind Malaki and Tara, keeping in the trees and watching where he stepped. The animals, it seemed, were just as restless as the day before, and he had to fight not to jump every time some creature brushed him.
The more his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the more animals he saw on either side of him. They seemed to be following Malaki and Tara too, but he shook his head at the thought. They couldn’t be. The wolves and deer, rodents and birds, reptiles and bobcats, they had no reason to follow. What could they possibly know? Yet he saw all of those and more as he walked slowly and quietly, and he had to fight harder and harder to keep his breathing quiet.
“We’re here,” he heard Tara breathe quietly ahead of him. Sure enough, just up the path was the tell-tale clump of bushes that hid their cave of stashed goods. Well, it was now or never. The pistol was in the bags inside the cave, but he still had his knife on him. Why did it always have to be by knife?
He hesitated for a moment at the thought of killing again, a familiar churning in his stomach, but the rage coursing through him erased any hesitation. They would give anything to kill the only two people in the world he loved. He realized that this time, it was probably kill or be killed, and he found it didn’t matter.
“Branches in this bush are broken, they’ve been here,” Malaki said as he jogged ahead of Tara, starting to make his way through the brush. Okay, Tristan thought. Then Tara is first. And without a sound, he cocked back his arm, cold metal held between his fingertips, and flung the shining blade from the darkness, running after it even as the point sunk into Tara’s side, sending her sprawling sideways.
“What the…” Malaki started, turning at Tara’s muffled gasp of surprise, but by the time Malaki was free of the bushes again, Tristan was pulling his knife from Tara’s side, cold eyes trained on Malaki.  Tara wasn’t dead, but didn’t seem to be able to move, and she grasped her side, breathing heavily, trying to hold in the steady stream of warm blood. Her dark eyes focused on the two momentarily before her head fell to the ground.
          “This isn’t worth this crap,” she muttered to herself as she scooped up dirt from the ground placing it on the wound. Sure, it might get infected, she thought, but if the blood turned the dirt to mud, maybe it would help clot the wound and stop the bleeding.
          Malaki paid no attention to Tara, but cocked his head in surprise at Tristan. He glanced back to the cave opening, then to Tristan.
          “Well, clearly you’re still bent on saving the world, so what happened? Your little girly in there get mad at you and stop putting out?” He sneered. Tristan didn’t respond, but his blood boiled and eyes grew angrier. “Ah,” Malaki continued as if he’d just had a revelation. “I see. So she is the bitch’s daughter after-all.” He laughed at Tristan, who stood stone still. “Well that had to be awkward.” Tristan struggled to control his breathing. Don’t let him get to you, he repeated to himself. You have to stay focused. Don’t rush. As long as he’s out here, he’s not hurting them.
          Unfortunately the same thought seemed to have occurred to Malaki.
          “Look, I don’t have time for this,” Malaki said, stepping away from the bushes and slowly starting to circle Tristan. “So if we’re going to do this, let’s get it over with, huh?” Tristan smiled, a slightly crazier gleam in his eye than he’d probably ever displayed before.
          “My pleasure,” he snarled, and for once in his life, he attacked first. Malaki jumped back in surprise, narrowly avoiding Tristan’s feint to the right, and sparks flew as their daggers collided again and again. They moved in a large circle, with Malaki continuously dodging and moving backwards and Tristan continually pressing for what seemed like forever but was probably less than a minute. Finally, Malaki got in a shot and a well placed boot to the gut threw Tristan back far enough to give him a break.
          “Give it up, man,” Malaki taunted Tristan as he recovered from the blow. “If I don’t kill her, the Ancient Ones will. What’s the point? Consider it a favor when I kill you, after what you’ve done. Nothing I can do will be as painful as what the Ancient Ones will do to you.”
          Tristan shook his head, breathing hard, but keeping his eyes on Malaki. “And nothing they can do will be as painful as what I’ve already done to myself.” He glared into Malaki’s cocky eyes. “Dying isn’t as scary when you’ve got nothing to lose,” he growled as he lunged forward again.

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