Today I’m so excited to have author Taylor Hohulin on the blog answering a few questions about himself and his series The Marian. Comment below to say hi!
Lillian: Welcome Taylor! Thanks for stopping by today. 😀 Tell us a little about yourself.
Taylor: My day job is at a Christian rock radio station. I host the morning show, and I’m also in charge of our online presence. So I get in to work at around 5-5:30, spend three hours chatting about robots, rock and roll, and Jesus, and then I spend the rest of my day preparing for the next show, interacting with fans on social media, and maintaining our website.
The rest of my non-writing time is spent hanging out with my wife. We watch a lot of movies together, and we also play in the band at church. We’ve actually played in a few bands together, which is a lot of fun. She’s definitely the better musician between the two of us. She was a piano performance major in college, and she just might be the best musician I’ve ever known. I’m not just saying that, either. It’s insane watching her play Liszt. I’m just a self-taught drummer, so I do my best Ringo impression every Sunday.
Lillian: What inspired you to become a writer?
Taylor: My wife really provided the push I needed. I’d always wanted to write a book – like a real, full-length book; not just some short little thing I put up on FictionPress for my friends to read. I’d had an idea rolling around in my head for years, but at the time I was making mediocre synth pop, so the plan was to take the story and make it a concept album. It was going to be this unholy mashup of Depeche Mode, Ke$ha, and Aqua, so in hindsight, it’s probably a good thing it ended up being a novel and not an album.
When I told my wife about my desire to write a novel, she told me something along the lines of, “Well, there’s nothing stopping you. You have an idea and a word processor.” At the time, we were engaged, and I was just finishing up my college degree. My schedule was pretty full, but the day after we got home from our honeymoon, I sat down and started writing my first book, which ended up being Alpha. I wanted to go the traditional publishing route, but I quickly learned most agents didn’t want to touch a romantic comedy that also had robots and over-the-top fight scenes. As fun as “A Nicholas Sparks novel written for the screen by Wes Anderson and directed by Michael Bay” sounds, it probably wasn’t going to generate the types of numbers a traditional publisher would be interested in.
I eventually gave up on the traditional publishing route and self-published Alpha. It felt like admitting defeat at the time, but I had a blast with it. I enjoyed the freedom that came with publishing a book myself. I could take creative risks, run sales when I felt like it, and try stuff out without waiting for approval from up top. I’ve published every other book and short story I’ve done since, and now I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Lillian: Is there an author or book that influenced you?
Taylor: As a Christian, I suppose the answer I’m required to give is “the Bible,” but the less obvious answers for influence in my faith would be Frederick Buechner’s Lion Country, NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope, and Tim Keller’s Prayer. As an author, Stephen King has definitely been a big influence for me. I started reading IT around the time I started writing Alpha. It was the first of his books I ever read, and it blew me away. I went on to read On Writing and a good chunk of his fiction. I’ll pick up one of his every other month or so, and I’m rarely disappointed. I’m cautiously optimistic that this latest rumor that there will actually be a Dark Tower movie is legit. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have also been big influences.
Lillian: Where do you get your ideas?
Taylor: I wish I knew. I’d go there more often.
Lillian: Is there anything in your series based on real-life or is it purely imagination?
Taylor: The Marian Trilogy is pretty much all imagination. I think I always put a little of myself in each character, at least by accident, but no one is based on real people, and the whole “Earth’s water supply obliterated by a mystery bomb” premise is most definitely imagination.
Lillian: It’s an awesome theory for a dystopian 😀 What was your favorite part to write?
Taylor: The blend of genres in this series has been really energizing. That’s something I love about Stephen King, especially in the Dark Tower series where it’s this blend of western, sci-fi, horror, high fantasy, and post-apocalypse. The Marian Trilogy is an action/adventure story at its heart, but there are elements of science fiction, supernatural horror, and post-apocalypse on top of those. It’s been a blast to bounce between all those elements.
Lillian: What project are you working on now?
Taylor: Book three of the trilogy! This story is going crazy places, and I’m excited to bring the whole thing to a conclusion. I’ve spent a long time in this world, so it feels weird to think I’ll be writing about different characters in a year or so.
Lillian: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Taylor: Give yourself permission to write a horrible first draft. Be willing to write a little bit at a time, and don’t just wait for those days when you have a nice six-hour chunk to write. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re playing make-believe. Have fun with it.
Lillian: Good advice 😀 Now for some fun questions….Favorite color?
Lillian: Favorite movie?
Lillian: Favorite TV show?
Lillian: Favorite place to write?
Taylor: My wife made me a really cool writing nook for our last anniversary. When I’m writing there and my dog is curled up at my feet, it’s about perfect.
Lillian: If you had to choose just one book, what would it be and why?
Taylor: The Bible is the cop-out answer here, so I think I’d go with something like The Illustrated Man or some other short story collection. If I’m stuck with one book for the rest of my life, I want to have a lot of variety.
Lillian: Last question and possibly the most important 😉 What brand of cereal best describes you and why?
Taylor: Right now, I’m feeling Lucky Charms. I was just in a head-on collision off the highway and somehow walked away with a minor concussion. Plus, you know, I’m super-duper charming.