A Moment with Author Mark Taylor

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As part of the Witches: Tea Party blog tour, I got a moment to sit down and chat with the author of this newly released novella. Check out our Q&A below.

  1. Every author has a story about how their work first came to them. Tell me a little about how you came up with Witches: Tea Party.

Women kicking ass? The Devil? Well, it’s all me, isn’t it. I was looking to write something featuring a witch, or some witches, and I started playing with the idea of them historically. I was thinking of having the whole story set hundreds of years ago. Then, when plotting The Devil’s Hand, I considered writing them contemporarily. The Clucky Bucket scene is what swung it for me. As I planned it, it had to be modern. I felt I would have struggled defining characters and themes without things of this period.

  1. Who is your favorite character in Witches and why?

Well that just has to be Excalibur. I mean, how can it not be? She’s the feisty, sulky, loud-mouth of the group who’s always got your back. Plus she likes fried chicken. How much fun is that?

  1. The major characters in your novella are female, but obviously, you aren’t. How difficult was it to write in-depth characters of the opposite gender?

It’s a cake walk. A lot of men say that writing developed female characters is tough, but I ask them why? They’re people. They are characters. Honestly it’s a bug bare of mine when writers say how hard it is.

  1. Your story begins with the Salem Witch Trials. How much research did you have to do regarding the accuracy of the descriptions?

While I don’t usually do a lot of research I do for historical events. A lot of people will know the truth of what happened, and sometimes even purchase a fiction book based within a time period because of that, so I think it’s really important.

  1. The majority of your stories are horror based – what is it about this genre that you prefer?

Gotta love the scares, right? I’ve always been into the genre, even from an early age. I used to read (still own, in fact) The Little Vampire books, by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. I watched Nightmare on Elm Street too young. I suppose I got the taste for it, and it stuck. It seemed only reasonable that I stick with it with my writing.

  1. What is your favorite work of literature?

I truly adore Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers. That, and the Star Wars screenplay. What? It’s a work of literature.

  1. If you could rewrite any story, with a slight twist, what would it be?

I always wanted Tiny Tim to go postal on old Eb Scrooge in an orgy of blood, beating the crazy hallucinating old man to death with his crutch. A retribution killing. So…that.

  1. Can we expect more from the Witches?

Of course! Although Tea Party is an enclosed story, it’s very much the beginning for the coven. I’ve already started planning two further books.

  1. What’s next for author Mark Taylor?

I have the third part of the Devil’s Hand coming out in March, and the fourth and final part sometime later in the year (and the paperback omnibus), although I have two further stand-alone books to add on next year. I have two more Witches books on the cards. I’m currently plowing my way through a dark science fiction novel that I’ve been contracted to write, and I have another dark science fiction novel in editing called Trinity, and a half finished detective noir horror/thriller novel, Vampire Blue.

So not much, really.

  1. Where can we find out more information about you?

You can always find me at my website, www.authormarktaylor.com, and I always love to see people on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarkTaylor/.

You can pick up a copy of Witches: Tea Party on Amazon now along with Mark’s other works. You can also try your hand at winning a free copy of Witches: Tea Party by entering the raffle here:

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Author Mark Taylor

Author Bio:

Mark Taylor’s debut novel crash landed on planet earth in 2013. Its dark brooding style benchmarked his writing and has led to further releases of novel and short story collection alike.

While most of Mark’s work is macabre, occasion has it that he will write about kittens and daisies. Just not very often.

Some say he is a product of his environment, others, a product of his own imagination.

kindlecovershotwitches

In Salem, 1692, Marie-Anne witnessed the death of her friend and confidant, Sarah Good. Charged with being a witch, Sarah goes to the gallows to protect Marie-Anne, a true witch.

Three hundred years later, Marie-Anne, under the name Mary Anson, vows to put things right.

With a new coven – Dina, Excalibur, and Lady – Mary puts in motion the steps to right what went wrong…and what followers is a chase across the country, a chase against time, pursued by monsters and darkness…

…will Mary put things right?

…or will she die trying?

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Might as Well Be Called “Marvel’s A New Hope”

Note: This article does not contain spoilers. I will do a more in depth analysis in a few weeks once more people have seen it. To be sure you never miss an article, I encourage you to like my Facebook page or follow me somewhere else. Also, my books make great Life Day presents.

 The moment we’ve all been waiting for since the Revenge of the Sith capped off a six year long butchery of one of the most treasured cinema franchises in history is finally here. The characters we grew to love: C-3PO, Chewbacca, Nien Nunb, and Admiral Ackbar are back to make us forget about tax negotiations, midichlorians, Hayden Christensen, and Jar Jar Binks. While the internet has done a good job of hiding the spoilers, unless you’ve been living in a Wampa cave on Hoth, you’ve heard that this is a good movie. I’m not going to dispute that.2979968-star-wars-bb-8-force-awakens

Is a great movie? No.

The bar for The Force Awakens was set pretty low. After bringing back the original trilogy’s three leading stars, it would have essentially been impossible to make a movie worse than any of the prequels. Disney and J.J. Abrams knew which mistakes not to make and wisely listened to the past decade’s worth of criticism levied against Darth Lucas.

Problem is, J.J. Abrams spent so much time trying not to be the prequels that he forgot to give the film a plot. Between the nostalgia factor and the ridiculously adorable BB-8, it can be a little hard to notice, but this isn’t really a film concerned with being a movie. Instead, it wants to give the fans what the last three entries failed to provide while it sets up the franchise for the next dozen entries or so.

Given that Disney is planning to release a Star Wars film every year from now on to presumably the end of time (alternating between the main timeline and standalone films), it’s not completely horrible that the film doesn’t really explain anything. We don’t know how the bad guys came into power or what’s happened since Return of the Jedi, but we do have explosions and Han Solo. The film doesn’t waste a minute of its two hours and fifteen minute runtime so the decision to exclude a plot might not be the end of the world. This just looks like a movie so preoccupied with not being terrible that comes at the cost of greatness.

The Force Awakens plays it safe in many ways. Without diving into any detail, there’s quite a bit of familiarity to the film that feels more derivative than nostalgic in many ways. I’d say that wasn’t a bad thing, but this isn’t a film that ever tried to make the Kessel run in under twelve parsecs. It settles for around eighteen.

The new cast do shine. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac seamlessly transition into a franchise that doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to new characters, having burned fans too many times before with the Ewoks, Binks, Watto, Nute Gunray, Jango Fett, and the fat diner owner from Attack of the Clones. The old cast fits in as well and their presence never feels obligatory. This movie works on many levels. Just not all levels.

There is one casting choice that was a clear mistake. I won’t say much for fear of spoilers, but Adam Driver is just terrible. Every fear I had from the decision to cast Girls’ leading man as the main villain came to fruition. Kylo Ren isn’t quite the next Jar Jar Binks, but he’s dangerously close.

Was the film going to satisfy everyone? Never. There will always be fans who mourn the death of the Expanded Universe (I wrote an article on that last year). You might want to lump me in that category and you’re certainly welcome to do so.

When Disney bought Star Wars, we knew the franchise wasn’t going to carry on as George Lucas intended. That’s a good thing for the most part, except Disney owns another huge, flawed franchise that mass produces blockbusters, which presents a question you’ll have to answer for yourself.

Would you rather have George Lucas’ Star Wars or Marvel’s Star Wars?

My main complaint with the Marvel movies is that they never fully live in the moment. They’re always thinking about the next installment. You’re watching a series; you’re never actually just watching a movie. First movies aren’t supposed to have all the answers, but A New Hope hardly withheld such obvious information from moviegoers.

The notion that I might just be one of those angry fans who will never be satisfied doesn’t really swirl around in my head. I’m not really annoyed. I grew up obsessed with Star Wars. I’ll always be grateful to Star Wars. Some of my closest friendships blossomed through a common infatuation with the world George Lucas created.

Now I see a franchise that aims for satisfaction instead of innovation. That’s what mainstream movies want and I’m okay with that. I just don’t see myself memorizing entire films or buying backpacks based off the new characters (and that’s not because I’m too old either. You’re never too old for Yoda). I’ll still go to see them. I’ll probably still write about them, but part of me longs for the days of Jar Jar Binks. I may have hated him, but at least he made me feel something. There used to be a time when Star Wars tried to convey emotion.2979968-star-wars-bb-8-force-awakens.jpg