First published at Tehani Wessely’s LiveJournal.
Born in Canberra, Katie J Taylor attended Radford College, where she wrote her first novel, THE LAND OF BAD FANTASY, which was published in 2006. She studied for a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Canberra, and graduated in 2007 before going on to do a Graduate Certificate in Editing in 2008. K.J.Taylor writes at midnight and likes to wear black. The second book in her dark fantasy Fallen Moon trilogy, The Griffin’s Flight, is released in February 2010.
1. You must have been excited to see your novel, The Dark Griffin, make the Best Fantasy Novel shortlist of the Aurealis Awards. Tell us about the experience of being a novelist with a major publisher.
I certainly was!
Well, honestly the experience of working with a publisher depends a lot on which publisher you’re dealing with. In my case I’ve worked with Scholastic, HarperVoyager, and the Penguin Group in the USA. Honestly, even if I’m not as experienced as most other authors out there, Voyager is the best publisher I’ve ever come across – not just in how they handle their books, but in how they treat their authors. With my first publisher, I felt like a client. With Voyager, I feel like “one of the gang”, with Voyager executives and other authors even turning up to post on my blog. Of course, with any sort of work related relationship there’s there fun stuff and then there’s the work itself, and every publisher does it a bit differently. For example, with my very first book there was just one editor to help me get the manuscript ready. Now there’s a whole team of them, and three different phases of editing to do. It takes time, of course, but really all you have to do is just knuckle down and get it done. Getting motivated is often the hardest part.
2. You have burst onto the Australian scene in a blaze of glory with your dark fantasy series – what were you up to before The Dark Griffin brought you to our attention? Any advice for aspiring authors?
As I hinted before, Dark Griffin was actually my second published novel. The first one was The Land of Bad Fantasy,published by Omnibus in 2006. I wrote and published it while I was in my final years of high school. After that I went to university, and while I was studying for my degree (Bachelor of Communications, in case you’re curious) I wrote Dark Griffin.
Yes, I do have advice, but I’m afraid it’s not going to be that different from what most other authors say. Don’t self-publish, don’t flaunt your vocabulary, and don’t rush into trying to get published. There’s no age limit, no time limit, no restrictions. To begin with, just work on the writing itself. Worry about finding a publisher later, when you’re good and ready. Don’t do what I did and send out your talking mice epic when you’re 16 and haven’t figured out how to not rip off Indiana Jones. Because trust me, you’ll never stop feeling silly.
3. What’s next for KJ Taylor? What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
Well, with the last book of the trilogy set to come out in August this year, my next goal will be to try and sell the next trilogy (Voyager stipulated they want all their books in threes. It’s just how they roll). Provided sales numbers don’t let me down (they’re looking good at the moment), I plan to keep on expanding my series with more books, including prequels, until I run out of ideas and have to move on to something else. But that doesn’t look like happening anytime soon, so I hope you like griffins!
4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year?
Anything from Voyager would be good – what can I say? I’m a regular Voyager groupie by now.
5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
I definitely will be! I bought my membership yonks ago. I’m really excited to meet all the other authors who will be there (I’ve got an autograph collection going too), especially my hero and role model, G.R.R.Martin.