Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Taylor Anderson Author Interview


Photo Content from Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson
 is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the DESTROYERMEN Series. He has a Master's degree in History and taught that subject at Tarleton State University. As a gun maker and forensic ballistic archaeologist, he has advised numerous museums as well as the National Parks Service and the United States Army. He's also a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries involving18th, 19th and early 20th century combat. He's even done some acting.

He's a member of the National Historical Honor Society and the United States Field Artillery Association—from which he was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Barbara. He owns a collection of 18th and 19th century artillery pieces and fires them for movie sound, documentaries, competition, and fun.

His cannons (and sometimes himself) have appeared in many films including: The Alamo (2003), Palo Alto, American Outlaws, Two For Texas, Time Tracers, and Rough Riders. (He also consulted on The Patriot and Ride With The Devil.) He knows precisely what cannons are capable of and that's reflected in his writing.

As a sailor, he's knows the capricious vagaries of the weather and the sea and as a historian, he's trained to research what he's unable to experience first-hand. Careful research was essential to writing Destroyermen because one of the main characters is, after all, USS Walker. Over 270 “four-stacker” destroyers were built during and after WW I, but none remain today.

He loves old music, old trucks old guns, and old dogs—but would give everything he has to go into space. He says he was either born a century too late or too early. He lives in Granbury, Texas.

    
  

Greatest thing you learned at school.
Ha. I answered this the last time we spoke, but I believe it strongly enough to do it again. The most important thing I learned in school was how to learn—more specifically, how to teach myself the stuff I wanted to know.

Tell us your latest news.
Well, “WINDS OF WRATH,” the 15th and final book in the DESTROYERMEN series is out. It has been an amazing ride, “living” in that world and in the heads of so many characters I’ve come to think of as real people for so long, but the time has come to bring it to—if not an end, exactly, at least a satisfactory stopping-place. I never got tired of writing it and still love the world and the story as much as I ever did, but I promised my readers a long time ago that I’d never leave them hanging, either by moving on to other things while they were waiting for another D-Men installment, or just flat never giving them the satisfaction of knowing how the main arc of the story (up till now) turns out--for a variety of reasons. Those who’ve followed this series for so long deserve the catharsis of Winds of Wrath, and I just hope I did it, and them, justice.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
The surprisingly large numbers of contacts I receive from people who’ve been touched by the story in some way are the most rewarding, by far. Even being “alternate history” of a sort, I love how much DESTROYERMEN has inspired an interest in REAL history among many readers, but the most touching to me personally have been the notes from former service men and women telling me “I knew that guy!” (referring to some character), or more especially active service members in harm’s way thanking ME for pleasantly distracting them from their grim circumstances. I’m so incredibly humbled by that. How could anyone ask for a better “reward?” 

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m still writing in the Destroyermen universe and hope to do so for a long time, in addition to other projects. The possibilities for adventures on an entirely different Earth are endless. Just writing the backstories of some of the known factions—standing completely alone from later “known histories”—could keep me busy for years. And of course I hope to return to some of the characters that readers (and I) love so much once the dust of “WINDS OF WRATH” settles a bit, to explore their new and totally different circumstances. As for other things . . . A well-known author and very good friend recently suggested, offhand, “Why not do a Space Opera?” Why not indeed? Hmm. 

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?
All the characters changed a great deal, some more than others, as have some of the very cultures they’re part of. Chack-Sab-At went from being essentially a pacifist to become one of the most lethal commanders in the Grand Alliance. Courtney Bradford was a scatterbrained engineer and “naturalist,” who eventually focused himself entirely on winning the war and even led troops in battle. Halik was an old Grik “sport fighter” with little notion of the world beyond his own dawning comprehension that there was more to it than he knew, who was “elevated” to become a Grik general. Given better understanding even then, and greater support, he might’ve destroyed the Alliance. As it was, he became the next thing to a Grik “Alexander,” and statesman. Even the great and terrible Dennis Silva changed from his beginnings as a deliberately simple and mischievous gunner’s mate motivated (in his mind) by “happy, hungry, horny, and mad” but whose somewhat indifferent cruel streak even then was balanced by a sense of fairness and justice. Over time, the very small number of people he actually cared about slowly expanded to include all “his” people and their cause to the extent he was willing to die for them. On the surface, he seemed to change least of all, except for additional wounds and scars, but those wounds went beneath the surface and that’s where he might’ve changed more than anyone. There are too many other examples to list. I could go on for pages about Captain Reddy, Lord Koratin, The Mice, “Spanky” McFarlane, Tabby . . . It’s funny, but the young Fred Reynolds who participates in the action snippet I’m including below probably changed less than anyone in spite of some very terrible experiences—aside from growing from a boy to a man. 

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from WINDS OF WRATH
I can’t tell you my very favorites because they’ll spoil everything, but this is a little scene from a fight between Dominion lancers and a protective force of NUS infantry and artillery. Fan favorites Fred Reynolds and Kari Faask are present (without their “Nancy” floatplane).

Dukane’s battery unleased six loads of canister, consisting in this case of eighteen hundred half-inch balls. His gunners groaned when a gust of wind revealed only a score or so horses and riders going down. Almost all their fire had churned the ground a hundred yards short of the oncoming enemy.

“You’re an idiot, Donkey!” Meder roared. “We haven’t time for your foolishness now. Aim high!” Putting his hands on his hips he turned to the front and assumed a disdainful air. “C Battery! We shall not cast our seed upon the ground!” Even the nearby infantry exploded with laughter.

“Whaat does thaat mean?” Kari asked. Fred’s face reddened and he shook his head.

“Fire!” Meder roared.

On any battlefield—on any world—no matter what kind of charcoal is in the gunpowder, what wood provides the sabot or sawdust that buffers the shot, gunsmoke billowing around canister always has a yellowish tinge. One is tempted to blame the brimstone in the powder, for its hellish associations, but if that’s so, why doesn’t the color exhibit when any other type of shot is fired? Perhaps it’s because canister is so hellish, in and of itself.

Almost none of C Battery’s canister went to waste. Men dropped their lances and threw up their hands as they tumbled from the saddle. Horses screamed and rolled, smashing and grinding their riders. A great swathe was torn from the cantering horde—just as the third battery savaged it just as badly. Rifle-muskets came into their own, keeping up a continuous fire by ranks and even the most dubious marksmen found it difficult to miss in such a press. But regardless how many men and horses were shot or blown to the ground, there were more.

Writing: Behind the Scenes
It might surprise people to learn that no matter how “weird” some of the situations throughout the DESTROYERMEN series are, many are inspired by real history—or even my own experiences. To the first, whenever anyone says “that’s impossible,” or “nobody would ever do that,” (the most common example of this usually refers to the very first book when Walker and Mahan, already shredded and burning, charge right at the mighty Amagi), I simply say: “Taffy 3.” If they know what I’m talking about, they’ll usually mutter “oh yeah.” If they don’t know, they should look it up—or read about some other horrible, one-sided destroyer actions around Guadalcanal, where tiny DDs went right up against battleships. To the second . . . well, again the snippet provides an example. I have a 3” Ordnance Rifle and a M1841 6pdr, both of which my friends and I love to fire live. We used to compete in muzzle-loading artillery competitions at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, (I sure miss those), and were actually pretty good. On one occasion, (though there were no charging lancers, of course), some dear friends with another 6pdr were on the firing line beside us and kept churning the ground with canister about half-way to the target. One of our crew members with a singular dry wit, (who’s inspired another favorite character in the series), turned to the crowd of spectators behind us and derisively made the same pronouncement that Meder did in the snippet. I’ve always wanted to use it, and now it’s been immortalized. Ha! 

What is the first job you have had?
Hmm. That’s hard to remember. It was either cowboy, or working in a stone yard. I did both at the same time but don’t remember which came first. The next was roofer in the hot Texas sun. I remember that very well. 

What did you do for your last birthday?
That’s easy. I spent it in the woods by myself with a musket on my shoulder.

What was your favorite childhood television program?
Other than being glued to the grainy, black and white TV watching the space shots, I’d say it was a tossup between “Gunsmoke” and “I Dream of Jeannie.” Goes to show I had diverse interests even then, I guess. Of course, there wasn’t a lot to choose from, either. 

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Coffee. Always.

What's your most missed memory?
My daughter when she was little, sitting on my lap, watching the Sci-Fy channel and betting each other “who’s gonna get ate next.”

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Sure, and the incident that springs to mind involved a guy I didn’t even like--what little I knew of him. Somebody blamed him for something I knew he didn’t do and my “Wait just a damn minute” mode kicked it. It’s happened a lot and I don’t really have any control over it.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Honestly, I don’t believe I’ve looked in a mirror in days. I get up. Drink coffee, (lots of coffee), and start writing. My wife is a teacher and I try to quit writing for the day when she gets home, but that doesn’t always work. I do try to meet her at the car. Of course, she often looks at me very strangely. Perhaps I should check the mirror more often? 

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
If I don’t read something utterly different from what I’m writing, I’ll wallow there thinking about what I want to write NEXT. Half the time, I have to just get up and do it. Best to read something. 

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I thought at first that this might be the weirdest question I’ve ever considered—but I do write a kind of alternate history, don’t I? Looking back and considering all the aches and pains that haunt me from time to time, maybe I wouldn’t have played football. But I really liked playing football, even though I’ve never been passionate about watching it. Hmm. No, chances are, I’d probably still do it. On the other hand, given a “do-over,” I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have bought this damn 2006 Jeep I’ve been fixing up. It’s always down with something that’s so . . . different from all the other old vehicles I’ve restored, even other 4X4s. Definitely not worth the aggravation. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Fly a very small plane, go on a trek in the wilderness with the bare essentials, canoe down a roaring river, sail in a storm . . . I guess all these things and others could be described as testing yourself in nature—not against it because you won’t have fun and you’ll never win anyway—but in tune with it, in it, with it. A benefit to this, of course—besides the obvious—is that if you ever do find nature against you, you might at least hold your own. Does that make sense?


Matt Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker are positioned to push the line of battle to the breaking point on an alternate Earth, in the thrilling return to the New York Times bestselling Destroyermen series.

Matt Reddy and his sailors have fought, bled, and died for their Lemurian friends and other allies from across time, but their enemies are still operational. In Africa, the Grik General Esshk has escaped defeat to build a new army and new weapons, and is desperate enough to use them to destroy the world if he can't have it.

In South America, the NUS, General Shinya, and the Army of the Sisters have the evil Dominion on the ropes and are closing in on the seat of its blood-drenched power, but the twisted Don Hernan has struck a deal with the fascist League, and Victor Gravois is finally assembling the awesome fleet of modern ships he's always craved. If he's successful, the war will be lost.

Undermined by treachery on a stunning scale, Matt Reddy must still steam his battered old ship halfway around the world, scraping up what forces he can along the way, and confront the mightiest armada the world has ever seen in a fiery duel to the death.

Praise for WINDS OF WRATH

“Anderson’s world-spanning Destroyermen saga comes to a tense and well-crafted climax in the thoroughly satisfying 15th and final entry. . . . Anderson sends the series out with a bang.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for Taylor Anderson and the Destroyermen Series

“I cannot recommend [these books] too highly.” 
New York Times bestselling author David Weber

“Taylor Anderson…[has] steamed to the forefront of alternative history.” 
National bestselling author E. E. Knight

“The fact that Anderson has a gift for complex plot and dialogue and a fabulous sense of humor makes reading his work a fun and guilt-free pleasure.” 
North County Times (CA)

“If you like a fun tale set in a well-developed world, pick up the Destroyermen series and kick back and enjoy.” 
SFRevu

“Action sci-fi doesn’t get significantly better than this.” 
Booklist

You can purchase Winds of Wrath at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you TAYLOR ANDERSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Winds of Wrath by Taylor Anderson.
jbnpastinterviews

5 comments:

  1. The most important object I own is my dog, Henry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "What is the most important object you own?" My ancestral jewelled tiara.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a scrapbook I made and filled when I was about 14/15. It has movie tickets with friends, etc. I love it. I'd made a great bunch of friends. My innocence is embedded in it's pages forever! :)

    ReplyDelete