My name is Brian Taylor and I’m the author of 12 Blackened Petals. This story is wild ride that is a part of a series. I’ve spent most of my life as an artist, and a fan of comic books and manga. I am also an anime nut. This story has been cooking in my head for probably four years now. It finally got the point where it wouldn’t shut up, so I had to turn it into a series of books.
I have been many things in my lifetime. I have been an artist, athlete, businessman, and now an author. Being a first-time author has been a very scary experience, but a fantastic one. 12 Blackened Petals was definitely a monumental undertaking because it is a story that spans several novels.
How did you come up with such a cool cover?
I’ve been an artist for about 33 years now. I knew that when I was writing this story, I wanted something pretty dynamic on the cover. But I could never figure out exactly what. However, by the end of the story, the writing process that is, I knew I had to start working on something awesome.
So believe it or not I took a picture with my cell phone of a friend of mine (who just so happens to be a world-class freerunner). The image went through several iterations before it evolved into the image that is on the cover now. I self-published through create space, and getting an image that would look good from their printers was kind of tricky. It took a little bit of patience and perseverance but I was finally able to develop a cover that I like.
Quick side note that image has about 50 photoshop layers, and the guy on the front was originally blonde with a man bun.
Sam was so angry – tell me how Malice, the demon, caused him to lose himself so quickly.
Sam is a pretty dynamic character because of his upbringing. His childhood is marred with anger, violence and abuse. Having been through that kind of a childhood myself, I know firsthand that it’s easy to lose your temper, and very difficult to get rid of the hate that is built into you from day one. So Sam is constantly fighting a battle with himself to be a good person. He’s the type of guy that is cool and calm most of the time, but, gets caught off-guard by the little things.
Malice is an evil bastard that has hijacked Sam’s anger. Imagine if you had a bad day in traffic, and somebody said,
“Here’s an AK-47 and a rocket launcher. Now get out there and have some fun Tiger! Also you can kill as many people as you want, and not have to pay any penalties. By the way, did we mention that we were giving you a half pound of PCP?”
Malice would be the voice telling you to go have fun, and lay waste to as many people as possible.
Malice is a devilish creature that lives inside Sam, and not only fuels his anger, but his self-doubt as well. I got the idea for Malice from a CNN show. Anderson Cooper wore a pair of headphones all day long in order to experience what a schizophrenic would hear. Imagine having someone constantly in your ear telling you how worthless you are and then when you get mad at them, they pour gasoline on the fire that is your anger. That is what Malice is.
Did you start out thinking: I have a story to tell? Or were you already working on a series?
That’s a really good question. The beginnings of the story are a little fuzzy with me. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that wanted to tell stories my entire life. This story in particular, pulls from so many different things in my life. As I’m writing this story I’m seeing pieces of things that I’ve actually experienced, influences from stories that I’ve read, and daydreams that I’ve had while listening to music.
The vast majority of the scenes were designed around the music that I was pumping in my ears at the time. When I sat down to write this story I knew that it was going to take more than one book to tell it. Since the story is driven by very specific events, 12 of them to be exact, I thought it would be a good idea to actually spread this out into a series of novels. Though I had never written a novel before, I’m not the kind of guy that gives up really easily.
So when the story told me that it needed to be done in several novels, I shook my fist and cursed the gods in the sky and said, “Several novels it is."
I am a fan of anime and kung fu theater. Were they huge inspirations for this epic story?
Absolutely. I grew up with a healthy diet of G.I. Joe and X-Men comic books. I’m also a huge fan of action and martial arts. I’m an experienced martial artist myself, as well as a fight choreographer for film and commercials. There have been so many anime over the years that have molded and shaped the way that I see the movies to play in my head. So yeah, I would say there was some influence there.
I distinctly remember when I was a kid, watching Sunday morning kung fu movies that would barely come in on our crappy TV with poor reception. Watching those movies, reading comic books, drawing, and occasionally getting to see some anime, where the only things that really got me through my childhood. So to answer your question, yes, those type of things had very large influences on the story.
Can the city, heck – the world recover from Sam? From malice? Will there be any humanity left, because it seems malice wants to ruin it all.
I can’t go to terribly into detail without spoiling the story, but I will tell you this, the world is never going to be the same. The fury and hell that Malice unleashes at the end of the book are kind of a launchpad for a whole world of shit that happens in book 2. I am a firm believer that humanity has gotten really comfortable with our current state of being. As an author, telling such an epic story, I feel it’s my duty to knock humanity on its ass.
While Malice does play a huge role in the catastrophic events that plague humanity throughout this series, it’s not the role you think it is. Let’s just say in book 2, I hit you with a punch that comes way out of left field. Enough said.
I listen to your audiobook (available via Amazon.com, audible.com, iTunes, and Google play. And just about anywhere else music is sold) the voicing is so frustrated, vile and angry – was that necessary to see Sam or to reflect what he was enduring/to come?
The audiobook was really a challenge for me because I tried to keep pace with the story. When I originally put the story up on ACX (Amazons audiobook self-publishing platform) all the auditions we got were pretty boring. This story however is very tense and dark. It needed narration that matched it. The first few chapters of the audiobook are pretty chill. You only hear Malice once or twice. But as the story accelerated, and the tension was wound tighter, I felt a strong need to make the listener experience that.
The thing I’ve always hated about audiobooks is that it is generally somebody with a boring ass voice, in a silent sound both. I make it through the first couple of chapters and then I wake up somewhere around chapter 8 saying, “Shit!!! What did I miss?"
So with this book I really wanted to make the listener feel the tension, and the angst that Sam was experiencing. Then I decided to jack it up another level by adding the soundtrack and the sound effects. This put the audiobook on a whole other playing field, and really made it a listening experience. So if you’re reading this interview, I’d definitely recommend checking out the audiobook, as well as, the physical copy. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
What were you like in high school? Were you the jock, nerd, dork or nobody? If you could run into value from before what would you tell yourself in preparation of becoming an author?
High school was a pretty shitty experience for me. I had the self-esteem of a dog that was beat every day. I was constantly ridiculed by my parents at home, as well as, everyone I went to school with. You gotta remember, I went to high school in a little redneck town in Alabama. I was definitely a nobody that desperately wanted to be somebody. By the end of my short high school career, I was spending four periods a day in the art room. It was really the only place in school that I felt comfortable. I failed every class except for art and physical education.
I’ve always had a very strong sense of what is morally right and morally wrong, and that affects my interaction with situations. Everything about the high school I went to was morally wrong. The people I went to school with pretty much sucked, except for a few and they know who they are. My home life sucked at the same time, therefore my interaction with school was short-lived. I dropped out at 16.
I don’t advise that for anybody reading this article that is in high school. That was just my life at the time, and the outside circumstances left me no other option but to drop out.
Stay in school kids.
As far as what I would tell myself about being an author… That’s tricky.
I’ve spent my whole life looking for my Dharma, my purpose. And I wasn’t able to find it when I was young. I needed to go through all the experiences that I went through, in order to become who I am now. I’ve always been a storyteller, but I wasn’t good at telling stories, until I lived a few of my own. Considering I was complete fuck up for a vast majority of my life, I think I would only have one thing to say to myself.
“Get your shit together and stop being such a fuck wad!!! You are destined for great things Brian Taylor and you are more powerful than you can imagine!!!"
Then I would kick myself dead square in the nuts, and throw in a punch to the teeth just to get my point across.
Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, no one is here by accident. The fact that we are tiny specks of life built from Stardust, should prove that point. I’ve experienced many things in my life, some good, some bad, some horrific. Throughout all of my crazy experiences, I’ve started to notice a common theme. Life gives you exactly what you need to become the person you are supposed to be. All you have to do is listen.
To those that read this: You are powerful beyond measure. The universe speaks through you. If you want to know what you’re supposed to do with your life, just shut up and listen.
And if no one ever said this to you, let me be the first. “I Love You. Now go be the best you that you can be.”
Brian, you rock!
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