anhonestlie

Please say Hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 10:52 am

Please say hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR. She is a widely-published author who brings us one of her latest stories, “Gingerbread House,” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables.

ET: Gail, can you tell us a little about your other works, and where we might find them?

GT: I have four other short stories pending publication at the moment. “Rinse and Spin” is short listed for the 2012 Random House Creative Writing award at University of Toronto, to be announced in the fall. Another story, “Green Sheep,” has just come out in the literary review, “The Linnet’s Wings,” published in the Republic of Ireland Two other stories are shortlisted for publication. I find out soon.

My first book of short stories, “Tornado and Other Seasons,” came out in 2011 and is available as an e-book at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon.com, and in hard copy from the publisher: CLICK

Also appearing right now is a poem called “Toronto” in the ezine “Tuck Magazine.”

I have done non-fiction, notably for the ezine Canadian Actor Online. An example is found HERE.

All told, I’ve placed stories in 19 literary journals in the USA, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Turkey and the UK. I’m delighted to have “Gingerbread House” appear in Volume Four of “An Honest Lie.”

I built a website (ugh, I dislike HTML codes and Cascading whatevers) to promote my book and to post reviews of the book and to list signing events. The site is found at: GailTaylor.com.

ET: Wow! That’s a lot of publications. We are honored to have you join us for An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables. How did you find Open Heart Publishing?

GT: I found “An Honest Lie” in 2010 through Duotrope and submitted a story at that time that made it as far as the “Accepted Consideration Folder.” Although in the end, AHL did not take the piece, Debrin Case sent me a very positive comment. I remembered that and decided to submit again this year. I am glad I did.

ET: We are, too. I’ve been rejected by Debrin and our editor, ME Johnson, so you’re not alone there. Rejection is simply part of the process. With all your successes, have you ever held a book signing?

GT: I would LOVE to sign anywhere in Manhattan –a street corner, back steps of the Public Library, a subway stop. I just came off about a year of signings and launches in Canada and the USA. Without a distributor, you do what you have to do. I LOVE interacting with people who like to read, but organizing these events is a big deal.

ET: The Great Book Tour. How exciting. You obviously take writing seriously, and put a lot of effort into the craft. How does your family support your habit, and where do you create your stories?

GT: We have a deal: my family members only read my work once it is published. That way, I do not foist raw material on them and they are not forced to appraise it. It’s a good deal. “Gingerbread House” is a rare exception: I had to consult my construction-savvy son. Any errors are mine, however.

My writing area is Utopian perfection: an outlet for my laptop; a big table for spreading out material; lots of fresh drinking water; nice distracting magazines to read if I want to; and people who come in at night to clean the place. It can be as loud as it wants to get because I wear ear plugs and go to the heavenly land of oblivion and imagination. My writing area is the public library, just five minutes walk from my home.

ET: Perfection. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

GT: There are three periods to writing for me: pre-, during and post-. Pre-story, the boiling pot of ideas is a creative torture; during is the process of getting it down on a roll and that can be wonderful but also awful; and post- is really fun because I usually do not find out until afterwards what the dominant symbols and metaphors are. Teasing them out is the joy of solving a puzzle.

In the pre- and peri-periods of the process of writing, tackling the task without constraint is definitely the best policy for me because those periods are like roiling in a maelstrom and the story can float and bob along sloppily. In the post-period—the analytical, critical, judgmental editing period—the publisher’s guidelines become the imperative, because at some point you have to climb out and ground the story.

ET: Words of wisdom from a seasoned professional. How about something fun. Can you give us a haiku?

GT: My first offering is deflective:
Hives, bouts of ague:
Agonize we who strive to
Compose a haiku.

My second offering is reflective. Both define me:
Each day a flavor
To taste, to sip, to savor
My life’s true labor.

ET: Nice. What about serious issues in your stories? Do you ever wax philosophical, or religious?

GT: I don’t discuss these things but my characters do. A notable example is Dr. Ivy Feine and her son in the story, “A Good Belief is Hard to Find,” in which the good doctor and her son live within the existential struggle of faith versus reason. I think this question is one of the largest one bedeviling us as human beings.

I had a wonderful teacher who said we read to find our “me”: we want the writer to give us our “best me.” Reading a story is most satisfying when we identify with the characters and their conflicts and conquests. In my own reading, when an author guides me to a viewpoint that lends me wisdom, I am deeply grateful. Alice Munro does that for me. I think the ability to do that is a gift of genius.

ET: Again, wise words. One final question, again for fun: If you lost your dominant arm, how would you write?

GT: This can happen, with injury or surgery, rather like the dilemma of Hazen Forster in my story, “The Turning.” Luckily, a lot of the time, writing is really just thinking and dreaming in a hammock or a sofa or a subway car, but hands are necessary to go from the dream to words to screen and paper.

A couple of years ago, I found I was using the computer mouse so fast that my rotator cuff was becoming sore, so I taught myself to use the left hand. Since then, I have learned to do much more with my left hand and since my left hand is less dexterous, I have had to slow down. Slowing down, though frustrating, gives a better result, I think. In sum, if I lost my dominant arm or any other crucial part of me, I’d figure out how to create stories—and my life— with what I had left. Two people in my life have taught me that: my brother Jim and my husband Pat.

ET: Well, I’ll finish there, and say THANK YOU, GAIL, for suffering through my questions. We look forward to reading “Gingerbread House” in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie, Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon!


Gail Taylor BIO: Gail E Taylor is the author of the short story collection, Tornado and Other Seasons, published in 2011 by Punkin House Press. Her fiction has been published in 20 literary reviews and journals in the USA, Canada, Turkey, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. In 2007, she was a winner in the Random House of Canada Creative Writing Student Award at the University of Toronto, and she was short listed for that prize in 2009 and again this year, in 2012. She has also published poetry and non-fiction.



– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

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