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Thursday 12 November 2015

ℚ♫ Broken Prophecy [1] - KJ Taylor

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Broken Prophecy (1 September 2015, AUS Impulse, 241pages) a Satirical Fantasy.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to KJ Taylor. Thank you for joining us again, Katie.

As you know, we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Broken Prophecy, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"For some reason, while writing Broken Prophecy I spent a lot of time listening to Take Them On Your Own – an album by an obscure band called Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  It’s not remotely “fantasy”, or “satire” either.  But it is very good."

Uhm... I have never heard of BRMC.  I like them.  By the way, the playlist above comprises of all of the tracks on that album, including the bonus ones.

What was the inspiration for Broken Prophecy?

"I’m often noted to be a very funny, optimistic sort of person, but for some reason I generally write dark, serious stories.  The only sort of humour I tend to write is satire, and I only do that when I’m in a very bad mood.  Specifically, I write satire when I’m angry.

The idea for Broken Prophecy came to me after I had received some very bad news.  A project I was deeply invested in hadn’t worked out the way I hoped, for reasons outside my control.  I was very upset, and then frustrated.  I remember lying in bed one night, fuming, and suddenly found that I resented the fact that it seems to be my destiny to be an author.  It’s the thing I’m best at, and I can’t really see any other paths open to me.  It had never bothered me before, but just at that moment I had a strange feeling that my choices had somehow been taken away from me.  This got me thinking – what if you were the Chosen One, meant to follow a prophecy… but you didn’t want it?  That was more or less the moment when Ambit Afterman was born, and since I was in such a foul mood I decided to write the book in a style which mocked the very genre I write in."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"As I said before, this book was inspired by anger and frustration.  I believe it’s healthy to channel emotions like that into creating something, rather than stamping about and acting out on people.  But it’s not really an angry sort of story; it’s light and silly. Don’t ask me how that works.

I have a couple of things in common with the protagonist, Ambit – I’m independent, rebellious and good at one-liners.  Plus I’m fond of beer!  But he was also unconsciously inspired by a friend of mine – a man who constantly brags about his one-night stands and other drunken schennanigans, and is a hell of a lot of fun at parties.  And yet I sometimes suspect that, like Ambit, he’s nursing a secret pain.

Or maybe he’s just an irresponsible party animal.  Who knows?"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Broken Prophecy - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I’ve very rarely had any real say in any of my covers, and this is one of them.  It was done in-house by Impulse, though it was tweaked after some feedback from me.  I absolutely love it.  It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but in a good way.  Impulse is producing some truly wonderful covers!"
Ambit & Snarl by KJ Taylor
Why should we read Broken Prophecy and what sets it apart from the rest?
"Despite the fact that I took a deliberately offhand approach when it came to worldbuilding, the Land of Flowers actually turned out to be a pretty cool place.  I put a lot of things in on the basis of “hey, why not?”, but the landscapes and settlements I created were rather neat.  It’s one of the few fictional worlds I’ve created which I would be happy to live in; the human villages are all really beautiful, and so is the countryside around them.  The only downside is that pretty much everyone is a moron.

Ambit and Snarl as characters are also a lot of fun to write (and hopefully read) about.  Their back and forth banter is one of the funniest parts of the book, and I like the fact that despite being comic characters they have fully developed, realistic backstories.  On the surface Ambit is a womanising jerk who doesn’t care about anything other than Snarl – and beer.  But it’s gradually revealed that he lost his entire family in true Chosen One fashion when he was a kid, and so it makes complete sense that he has major issues when it comes to commitment.  And he never angsts about any of it, which is a bit of a change (I have a weakness for writing angst).  Meanwhile Snarl is rude and sarcastic, but it’s still pretty clear that she truly cares about Ambit.  In fact those two only really care about each other, and when you get right down to it they’d both be prepared to die for each other.  Underneath the banter is a truly touching friendship.  In fact the original title of the book was Ambit and Snarl."
LOL A beautiful place full of morons... it could work...

Can you tell us something quirky about Broken Prophecy, its story and characters?

"In the advertising it’s mentioned that I decided upon a plot point by flipping a coin.  This is not a joke – it actually happened.  I was debating which way to take the story, and finally went “eh, screw it” and flipped a coin to pick one of the two options I was considering.  And no I did not flip it again because I didn’t like the first result – I just went with what the coin said.  I think it worked out quite well.

Another amusing thing I could mention is that in my day job I manage an archive.  Among other things that means I see a lot of peoples’ names on various documents.  A lot of the characters got their names from my archive, including Ambit himself.  Afterman is a real surname I encountered and thought was cool, so I jotted it down.  Meanwhile “Ambit” is a word which means, more or less, “area of influence”.  An “ambit claim” is a legal term I encountered at work.  But I thought “Ambit” sounded like it could be a person’s name, so I used it.  Northrop and Horrige are two other names I found there.  And Princess Etarina got her name from a friend whose middle name is, yes, Etarina.  I thought it sounded like a Princessy kind of name, so I used it – without permission, heheh."
Who would you recommend Broken Prophecy to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is not recommended for younger readers because it contains a lot of swearwords, drinking, drug use, and references to casual sex.  Younger readers probably won’t get the humour either."
If you could / wished to turn Broken Prophecy into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I wouldn’t want it to be made by a “comedy” director, as such.  I actually think the story would work best if it were animated – in live action, people with blue spotted hair and so forth would just look silly (unless they decided to remove that detail, of course).

The trouble is that animation is generally thought of as a thing for kids, so perhaps they’d tone down some of the more adult content.  Actually, it could work pretty well as a Nickelodeon series, something like The Day My Butt Went Psycho.  Two comedic buddies, travelling around and having dumb adventures in a world with lots of cool imagery?  It could work!"
LOL  It could!  Or it could be an anime - some cool adult stuff out there...

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I generally write non-comedic fantasy, which is not a genre I particularly enjoy reading, funnily enough.  I was a huge Terry Pratchett fan as a teenager, though, and he most likely inspired the style of humour that I write myself.  Amusingly enough, one publisher said no to Broken Prophecy on the grounds that “we already have Terry Pratchett doing that sort of thing”.  To which I replied “oh yeah, because there’s no way you can have more than one person writing satirical fantasy at the same time, you dopes.  Also, the guy’s terminally ill!  What are you going to do when he’s gone?”  It was so silly.

So far I’ve yet to write anything that wasn’t fantasy of one sort or another.  Maybe one day that will change!  I did try my hand at screenwriting once, but decided it wasn’t for me."
What is your writing process?
"Pretty boring, really.  Some authors sit down and fill entire notebooks with elaborate plot outlines, character descriptions and so on.  I more or less dream up the story in my head and don’t write anything down until I sit down at the computer and start writing it.  With that said, while I’m in the mental planning stage I often draw pictures of the characters as a way to inspire myself and get an idea of their personalities."
What is in store next?
"I’m currently writing quite a few things, but one of them is a sequel to Broken Prophecy, currently titled Lost Prophecy.  In which Ambit finds out that not being the Chosen One is actually kind of boring – and also gets slapped with a lot of paternity suits."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Meet my little buddy, Cruiser the Travelling Rat!  I bought him at the Teddy Bear Shop about a decade ago, and since then he’d come with me every time I go to the movies.  I also used to take him to lectures when I was at University, and he’s gone with me every time I’ve travelled. So far he’s seen Arizona, Utah, California, and Christchurch, New Zealand.  He even has his own little passport, which I made for him!  And a hat which I got off a mini bottle of Tequila."

Cute!  And so well travelled!  Ahaha, I know exactly which hat you are referring to!  Funny :-)

Broken Prophecy - available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US


K.J.Taylor said...

Thanks for having me - this was a fun one! :D

I found Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the library and thought "eh, looks interesting - I'll borrow it". I love it when I stumble across a great new band by accident.

K.J.Taylor said...

I wrote some more of the sequel today - this line cracked me up:

"Well I don't know who made this world, but they must have been pretty f*cking lazy."

Fourth wall breaking ftw!

BooksChatter said...

LOL I like it! Very profound and accurate!

I have to say that this series sounds like a real riot! :-)
Being Italian, I didn't grow up with Terry Pratchet... **shock & horror** ... so I am quite keen to read yours ;-)

BooksChatter said...

Thank you for joining us again... I actually hadn't noticed that we had two interviews with you within such a short time (yep, I am greedy that way! I love author interviews!) ... hence you ended up with the same set of questions... (apologies!) BUT you've been brilliant :-) - I am now looking for some images to go with this... maybe some of your drawings ;-)

BRMC & Playlists: I love them as they can be a massive blast from the past or introduce you to completely new artists.

K.J.Taylor said...

Yeah, it's accurate - I normally put a lot of work into my worldbuilding, but with Broken Prophecy I deliberately took the lazy route. Didn't draw a map, didn't keep any notes, etc. Having Ambit call me on it was pretty funny.

No Discworld?? You poor thing!

K.J.Taylor said...

No problem - it was my pleasure!
Yeah, the books came out pretty close together so no surprise there. I've got a picture I drew of Ambit and Snarl together if you want it!

BooksChatter said...

Uh! Yes, please, that would be lovely!

BooksChatter said...

LOL I had misread it!!! I read Crazy - go dyspraxia LOL

Discworld: yep, I understand I was deprived...

K.J.Taylor said...

I'm also crazy. ;)

K.J.Taylor said...

Oh - I've posted up what I've written of the sequel so far here, if anyone would like a sneak preview!