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K J Taylor

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Katie Taylor, courtesy the author; 220x311

Katie Taylor

K J Taylor holds a Master of Information Studies, which, she says, is "a fancy way of saying that I studied to be a librarian/archivist. I now hold down a day job as an archivist, which I love - not least because I have a wonderful employer!"

K.J.Taylor's real first name is Katie, but not many people know what the J stands for. She collects movie soundtracks and keeps pet rats, and isn't quite as angst-ridden as her books might suggest. She enjoys making (often weird) cuddly toys as a hobby, and sells them privately at conventions.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

From time to time a reader has asked a question - or sometimes made a complaint! - which has made me think and prompted me to write certain things. For instance, one reviewer remarked on the fact that the origins of a certain aspect of the world were never expanded upon. I read that and went "oh - she's right". So I wrote an entire blog post on the topic. Most of all, though, people who come up to me at conventions and signings help to inspire me to keep on writing. When someone tells me they love my series and that they're dying to read the next installment, that not only makes me want to write some more, but also motivates me to get onto my agent about selling the rest of the series!

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

There is, but it's not a pleasant one. Years ago when I was first starting out with The Dark Griffin, I gave a free copy to someone I knew over the Internet. He liked it, but he didn't like the sequels, mostly because the plot didn't go the way he wanted it to. Not being very mature, he threw a massive hissy fit about it on his blog. I was foolish enough to read said hissy fit, and of course I was very upset - not to mention angry, since I felt betrayed by someone I'd thought was a friendly acquaintance. I brooded about the things he'd said over the next several days, and as a result I ultimately changed the way the series was going to end. The entire storyline ended up going in a completely different direction, and on reflection I think it's better that way. Of course, I have no intention of thanking that guy - he's still an ungrateful jerk!

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I have several! Rather unusually for a fantasy author, I don't actually read a lot of fantasy - at least, not "high fantasy". I couldn't stand LoTR (though I liked the movies), and couldn't get interested in many of the major series out there. I did read and love Game of Thrones, well before it became as well-known as it is now, but it's pretty much the only high fantasy I read. I read a lot of non-fiction (right now I'm reading a book about the Jungian theory of the "shadow self", which is utterly fascinating). Some of my favourite fiction authors are William Horwood, Clive Barker, and China Miéville.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

That's a tough question, especially since I'm a solitary person by nature. I also love meeting new people, which is one reason why I enjoy going to conventions. Being stuck with any one person in the middle of space would probably get tedious after a while! Anyway... I don't really have a definite answer other than that I wouldn't want it to be another author. Don't get me wrong; I love chatting with fellow authors, but when I go to cons I tend not to sit with them at lunchtime - we're together at the signing table all day, and I like to take that opportunity to have some alone time or to talk to someone else. With other authors you always end up talking about the same things, ie. your latest book, your most recent contract, or the state of the industry today. It gets a bit repetitive after a while.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Anyone boring! Also, anyone likely to murder me and eat my liver.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

In order: My laptop (failing that, a notepad), my rats, and a flask of Southern Comfort.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Basically, personal satisfaction and fulfilment - which I'm already getting! Money and fame are secondary concerns at best.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

In all honesty, the part I enjoy most is the sense of being in control. Everyone likes to have control over something in their lives - it's soothing and empowering. In fact, I've noticed that just sitting down at my computer - even if I'm not about to write something - makes me feel calmer. It makes sense if you think about it; I create entire worlds, characters and events which I'm in charge of. When I was younger I bought into the common author's whimsy of "channelling" the story and being subject to my characters' whims, but by now I know that's fanciful. I'm the boss, and I like it!

submitted by Katie Taylor

22 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: 1986, in the Canberra hospital - the one that blew up! (I was there to witness the explosion, in fact. Luckily I didn't get hit by any of the shrapnel).
Resides: Canberra, though I spent a year in the UK as a small child, which might explain my psuedo-British accent.

So far I've won a Critic's Award (2011), was a runner up for an Aurealis Award, and was named the University of Canberra's Young Distinguished Alumni for 2011.

Web site: is my main website, but these days I post news and so forth on my Facebook page


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