Friday, June 30, 2017

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.


What was your first introduction to literature?
Wow. That’s a tough one. The first things I REMEMBER reading were Heinlein’s “Red Planet” and “Farmer in the Sky.” I remember wagging them around with me in 1st grade, and reading them when I was supposed to be doing other stuff. About the same time, my classmates and I were required to memorize a poem. While most kids were soaking up . . . something you’d expect, I guess, I insisted on memorizing “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I can still recite it. Other than that, I was pretty much glued to dinosaur books and histories.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Well, after twelve books and untold jillions of words crammed in them . . . readers might be surprised to learn that I can’t type worth a damn. That said, I may be the world’s fastest two-fingered typist.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I “tinkered” with writing all my life—I loved it—but life always got in the way of me finishing anything fit to submit. I guess I was about 43 when I finally finished “Into the Storm”—the first book in the Destroyermen Series—and sent it in. I had no idea what I was getting into, and even less of a notion of how I was “supposed” to go about it, but I got incredibly lucky and found an agent who believed in the yarn—and me—and before I knew it, “Into the Storm” was published and the Destroyermen saga had begun.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Honestly? Probably HOW to learn what I wanted to know. That was certainly true in college. I wasn’t the least bit interested in most of what my professors had to say, but they taught me how to teach myself.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
I actually get asked this question a lot. Obviously, after what I said above, I don’t think you have to be a great typist to write, so I often pop off with something like “turn forty.” This is usually followed by disappointed gasps, but in reality, “forty” is just an arbitrary number that I apply to life experience. I’ve known lots of twenty year olds with more life experience under their belts than retirees, but I do think you need to have lots of life experience to draw on, particularly if you’re writing stuff that requires grownups (with life experience of their own) to suspend their disbelief.

Did you learn anything from writing DEVIL'S DUE and what was it?
Nothing specific, but I learn new things with every book I write and Devil’s Due was no exception. Granted, in “my” world, I get to make up lots of stuff, but the historical aspects are as true and real as I can make them. That means that I usually spend as much time on research as I do actually writing. Not a problem, since I absolutely love learning new things.

What was your inspiration for the series?
No question about it, I was inspired by the forlorn, Alamo-like situation that the US Asiatic Fleet found itself in during the early months of WWII. Cut off from all support, with no air cover or prospects for reinforcement, and fighting the Imperial Japanese Navy—arguably the most modern and powerful in the world at the time--with little more than WWI relics . . . The Asiatic Fleet’s true story of heroism and sacrifice reads like a novel, only it was true. Adding a couple more old four-stacker destroyers to the actual forces involved wouldn’t have made any difference—other than adding a couple more rusting hulks on the bottom of the Java Sea—but then putting them in an even weirder situation, (that they might’ve actually seen as a kind of deliverance from the real hell they faced), was an idea that I just couldn’t shake once it hit me.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing DESTROYERMEN?
Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva springs to mind first, of course. He is an incredible amount of fun to write. Starting as kind of a tertiary character, he has grown into the role of the Hercules of the ship—and series . . . simply because he had to. Somebody had to, and his growth into that role has been a profound journey. Other characters have grown as much or even more in various ways, but Silva’s evolution has been the most fun.

For those who are unfamiliar with Captain Matt Reddy, how would you introduce him?
Captain Reddy is the guy you would HOPE to have in charge when everything goes in the crapper. Not because he’s a military genius and never screws up, (he does screw up pretty dramatically on occasion), but because he acts—right or wrong—when the absolute worst thing to do is nothing. Just as important, his honor and integrity inspires others to keep hold of theirs in the worst of circumstances, and sometimes, in that kind of situation, trying to do the right thing is the only thing that keeps everything from falling apart.

What part of General Kurokawa did you enjoy writing the most?
The challenge of writing Kurokawa has always been fun because his thought processes are so alien to my own, but that also makes writing him . . . a little weird. The same goes for other “villains” such as Don Hernan, and more recently, Victor Gravois. Interestingly, the “bad” humans are a lot harder to write than the “evil” non-humans, such as the Grik, because humans ought to know better than to . . . be the way they are. As malevolent as the Grik are, they are just following their nature—for the most part. There are always exceptions.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Start with the first book, “Into the Storm,” and go from there. Each installment can stand alone, but if you start in the middle or at the end, you’ll miss a lot of the character evolution of Silva—and many others. Not to mention, you’ll miss a lot of fun!

Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me—and a lot of very knowledgeable fans of the series—on my website: I also do my best to respond quickly to all posts or questions on my author facebook page. The fan-driven wiki and Destroyermen Fan Association page are usually pretty busy as well.

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson continues the thrilling Destroyermen series of alternate history and military strategy, as the conflict is about to become terrifyingly personal....

Captain Matt Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker have been fighting for their lives ever since their ship was swept from the Pacific to another world and they became embroiled in a deadly conflict between their Lemurian allies and the ravening Grik.

But things are about to get worse. With Reddy's family and allies held prisoner by the mad General Kurokawa, the mysterious League and evil Dominion plotting schemes of their own, and the Grik trying to build their swarm and concentrate power, Reddy faces danger on all sides.

Although desperate to confront Kurokawa, Captain Reddy fears he's subordinating the war effort for personal reasons. But Kurokawa is too dangerous to be left alone. With the mighty League battleship Savoie at his command, he plots a terrible vengeance against Reddy and his tiny, battered destroyer.

The stage is set for a devastating cataclysm, and Reddy and his allies will have to risk everything to protect what they hold dear.


“A new, genuinely different ‘alternate Earth’ story.”—New York Times Bestselling Author David Weber

“Gripping and riveting.”—New York Times Bestselling Author S. M. Stirling

“Taylor Anderson…[has] steamed to the forefront of alternative history.”—National Bestselling Author E. E. Knight

“Intriguing what-ifs…combine with churning, bloodthirsty warfare.”—Kirkus Reviews

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

You can purchase Devil's Due at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you TAYLOR ANDERSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Devil's Due (Destroyermen #12) by Taylor Anderson.

1 comment:

  1. "Did/Do you enjoy highschool for the most part?" I still cry myself to sleep every night.