My friend and fellow old-timer with Crooked Cat is finally back for a visit so we decided that my favourite ginger beer and carrot cake would be ideal. Welcome Tim! How lovely to see you again.
Lovely to see you too, Ailsa, and thanks for inviting me! I haven’t had ginger beer in ages!
It’s about my only addiction these days. I want to know all about your latest release “Revolution Day”. Sounds like a complete departure from Zeus of Ithome which I read and loved. Spill the beans!
Yes, it is a bit different! Rather than ancient Greece, it’s set in the present day and follows a year in the life of a fictional dictator, Carlos Almanzor. Now in his seventies, Carlos is feeling his age and seeing enemies around every corner. And with good reason: his Vice-President, Manuel Jimenez, though outwardly loyal, is burning with frustration at his subordinate position.
Meanwhile, Carlos’ estranged and imprisoned wife Juanita is writing a memoir in which she recalls the revolution that brought him to power and how, once a liberal idealist, he gradually changed into an autocrat and his regime became increasingly repressive.
When Manuel’s attempts to increase his profile are met with humiliating rejection, he resolves to take action, using the resources at his disposal as Minister of Information to manipulate Carlos and drive a wedge between him and Angel, the commander of the army. As he makes his move, Juanita will find herself an unwitting participant in his plans.
Your readers can find more information about the novel, and some tasters, on my website. http://www.tetaylor.co.uk/#!revday/cwpf
Great – thanks for that. I didn’t realise that you were a philosopher too. Can we know about that? You wrote a book on the subject.
I’d studied philosophy as part of my first degree, and I had some ideas from then that kept bouncing around in my head and wouldn’t go away. So eventually I decided I’d better do something about it and applied to do postgraduate study at Birkbeck, University of London. It took me eight years (I was working full time) but eventually I finished a PhD. I’d started out looking for objectivity in ethics, but on the way I got interested in the philosophy of well-being and what it is for something to be ‘good for’ someone. That too wouldn’t go away and eventually became my book Knowing What is Good For You (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). I am now an honorary research fellow at the University of Leeds, where I also do a bit of teaching. I’m still working on well-being, but increasingly in the context of public policy (where my civil service background helps).
You used to be a Civil Servant. Which do you prefer – the life of academe and writing or that?
No contest! I did enjoy some of the jobs I had in the civil service – especially the one where I was involved in Arms Control negotiations in Geneva, and my time in the MOD’s Nuclear Accident Response organisation. I’m glad to have spent some time in the ‘real world’. But when the opportunity came to leave early and spend more time on writing and academic research, I didn’t hesitate. No regrets.
You’ve lived in Yorkshire for some time, I believe, a place with which I’m familiar having worked in Leeds and Harrogate. What do you like about it?
I’ve always loved hills and wild places, things I missed very much when we lived in the south of England (they have things they call ‘hills’ down there, but I classify them only as ‘irregularities’). Now I live at the foot of a proper hill, a few hundred yards outside the Peak District. I love being able to walk out of my house and be somewhere wild and unfenced within a few minutes. My wife misses being close to London, and I guess it’s true that there are certain things – museums and galleries, theatre – that London is better for than anywhere else. But where we live in Meltham is less than an hour from the centres of Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Bradford, with Huddersfield (not a grim Yorkshire town at all) on our doorstep, so we don’t miss out on what cities have to offer. We’re also just up the road from Holmfirth, which has reinvented itself as a festival town (following the Last of the Summer Wine era) and has a thriving cultural life of its own. It’s great to be part of that.
So what’s on the cards now? You’ve jumped from philosophy to ancient Greece and on to modern times. Where next?
Ahh, that’s an interesting question, Ailsa. I have been researching a sequel to Zeus of Ithome for a while, though I haven’t begun writing it yet. I have been distracted lately by a completely different idea – about an old lady with dementia who goes on the run from a nursing home. I’m sure I’ll write them both in due course, but I’m agonising about which one to do first.
Well if you need a model for a bonkers ole biddy – she’s sitting in front of you hahahahha!
Thanks again for inviting me over, Ailsa – and for those great questions!
Links: Revolution Day page on my website: http://www.tetaylor.co.uk/#!revday/cwpf [ already in text above ]
Crooked Cat Author page: http://crookedcatpublishing.com/item/tim-e-taylor/
Page on Leeds Uni website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/profile/125160/1658/tim_taylor
Short Bio (there are longer ones on my CC author page and website)
Tim was born in 1960 in Stoke-on-Trent. He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford (and later Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London). After a couple of years playing in a rock band, he joined the Civil Service, eventually leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing.
Tim now lives in Yorkshire with his wife and daughter and divides his time between creative writing, academic research and part-time teaching and other work for Leeds and Huddersfield Universities.
Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome, a historical novel about the struggle of the ancient Messenians to free themselves from Sparta, was published by Crooked Cat in November 2013; his second, Revolution Day in June 2015. Tim also writes poetry and the occasional short story, plays guitar, and likes to walk up hills.