When I was 14, the government proposed a new highway to run from Chicago to the small town in Northern Illinois where I lived. With it would come countless hoards of people anxious to leave the dirty city, come to the country for the weekend. And if that highway had been built, they'd have come, alright, leaving their trash along the highways, littering the fields and forests where I played, ruining the place, because they'd be just visitors there. I'd seen how they lived in their own environment, and it frightened me that they'd bring their filthy ways with them to the place we'd moved to to escape all of that. So I wrote a heartfelt and passionate letter to the editors of several papers, and discovered something about myself: I could write! As my education continued, I seemed most at home with english, creative writing and history. A number of years passed before I thought to be paid for my written communication skills. That opportunity came when Aslan Brookes, the editor of a national publication asked me to write music reviews and critiques. I'll admit I wasn't much of a journalist. Somehow punching up flashy adjectives in lieu of proper english just to sell a story didn't do much for me. But it was a start.
A few years later I made acquaintance with Mercedes Lackey, a prolyphic and celebrated sci-fi/fantasy author. I'd admired her work for a number of years, but never realized she was involved with raptors. Being a falconer gave us common ground by which to become better acquainted. After a while, she agreed to bloody my first draft of a novel with red ink, eventually suggesting I commit the tome to Trilogy. During our friendship, she passed along some of her wisdom (ASK THE QUESTION!), and provided the opportunity for my first published piece of fiction, a tale called "Sword of Ice" set in a world called Valdemar, which is her creation. It was no literary masterpiece, but seems to have been quite popular amongst her fans. I can't begin to tell you how pleased and embarrassed I was when by chance I met a jeweler turned out to be the first fan who actually remembered and pronounced my last name. Not Taylor, but the Yezeguielian I was born with!
It's kinda funny. I've been performing on stage since I was 9 years old, have played for thousands of people at a time, but never been comfortable in a crowd. Somehow being on stage is safe. There's a barrier there, and they're there to see me, so I'm in control. Writers, on the other hand, seldom see the people who support their art. If you were to come across Andre Norton or Mecedes Lackey, or any of a hundred other authors at a supermarket, you probably wouldn't be able to tell them from any of your other neighbors out after a choice head of lettuce. In writing, I've found that safe creative outlet. My heartfelt thanks to Misty Lackey, Martin Greenburg and the people at DAW for giving me my first publishing break, and to Ms. Andre Norton and Mr. Tad Williams, who are always an inspiration.
At present, I'm working on a couple of projects at the same time. "Guardians of the Ecos" and the untitled manuscript that Ms. Lackey recommended I commit to Trilogy, a fantasy story about a boy mage who will be king, are both still in the works. Concurrently, I'm pursuing some travelogues to keep me busy while I'm sailing. And of course, there's always a new song to work on when the muse deigns to visit. I hope you'll enjoy them.
John Taylor - 12/23/98