Featured Interview With Author Roy Taylor
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I have tried to portray what it was like to live in Kenya in those early days of colonization for early settlers. My grandparents were among may who originally left the UK in search of a better and more interesting existence and rest assured they got it! In my book I have used many accounts of life there for myself and my family living every day as a new adventure, with real encounters with wild animals and primitives who at that time were pretty much uncivilized in the ways of the western world. I stayed in Kenya until my early teens when y parents left there to return to England to escape the violence that independence brought to the Africans from the European population who ruled the country under the rule of the British Crown.
I lived in Banbury in Oxfordshire for a time and went away to boarding school in Guernsey Channel Islands attended Elizabeth College as a boarder Imagine Harry Potter, our school boarding house had many of the characteristics you saw in those sequels. My college was used as the German HQ in WWII where the Reich were planning the invasion of Britain prior to their ultimate defeat but before my time. The school itself had the look of a castle with turrets and a formidable façade built in natural stone. I had an incredible time at boarding school and shared many great times with my cousin Geoffrey (Sadly deceased now). After leaving Guernsey with many stories for a future book, I went back to the mainland and completed my education in business studies, prior to entering a career in the hotel Industry as a trainee manager with Crest Hotels. I met my wife during my time with the hotels and we married after a fantastic courtship. I left the hotel business soon after we were married due to the enormous hours of work required to be a junior manager and went into the Real Estate business and Successfully sold many homes in the Cotswolds' and later in Cornwall when we took our three children from Banbury to Hayle, where I joined a local Real Estate company selling homes again. WE left Cornwall some years after that to emigrate to California in search of a more remuneratively successful existence in the business of home sales. We had been given a copy of a Sunday Times Los Angeles version, where I had read an article about woman in Real Estate who had become a member of the million dollar club in just six months from going into the business. I misunderstood what that really meant, I thought she had made a million dollars but reality was that she had sold a million dollars worth of homes. It turned out to be one of biggest and best mistakes of my life thereafter, because it motivated us to move. I have been in Real Estate in California since we emigrated in 1978 and currently live in San Juan Capistrano, with so many stories about the path that brought us here. Stay tuned they are really good and i will try to get the writing done as soon as I can.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have loved reading and books in general ever since I can remember. As I became an adult I wanted to be a professional golfer and when time allowed I would go out to the golf course and swing a club or two. Unfortunately while working in the hotel business I got a rupture and this took me out of all my golf practice and left me with very little personal time after being a Dad and husband and a workaholic trainee manager. So I picked up on reading intermittently again but always with a desire to write my own book.
For many years I wanted to write a Cowboy book, I was a cowboy fanatic and so was my Dad , so we would haul my Mum to the movie house when I was a kid and watch just about every Western that ever came on the big screen, I love those movies! In fact one of the reasons California came into the picture when we emigrated, was because of the desire to be in the big country with cactus and desert and coyotes. I digress sorry, I did not start writing until 2008, it was a pretty bad recession in California and the USA and I needed some escape from the stress of trying to sell homes in a market where there were almost no sales, One day I thought, I will write my first book, I am sure people will buy a good book. Yeah! Right! I did write a book, no it was not a Cowboy Book, it was a self help book for people who need to find out why life is tough for them and have no idea why. During my life in Real Estate I have achieved some pretty dizzy successes. In our early days here I had been a National award winner top ten sales closer in a very large National Franchise Organization and I attribute that success to a couple of things, hard work, and my own personal intuition with other people enabling me to be able to assess a person in a few short minutes of first meeting. Almost a prerequisite to a successful career in Real Estate among other things of course! there was my initial step into book writing. I thought I could help people to put out warmth and smiles in lieu of frowns and negativity and in the process improve their lives in relationships and business and every other way. I was inspired and I wrote one chapter every weekend until I had completed it. I paid Amazon to make the cover design and also to edit it. I my lord, I thought I could write quite well until my first edit came back and friends don't kid yourself!!!! Anyway, I had Amazon publish it thinking that I was the next big star in book writing on my way, after all how could it fail? Having paid Amazon for special promotion etc. I waited for the sales and put out some freebies and very little happened! About a year passed when suddenly one day I noticed that there had been quite a few sales that month and a few more and I wondered what as going on. Not sure how I found out, but it appears that a university back East had picked up my book for extra curricular reading for its students. When I found that out I was thrilled, it's called credibility! Even if it was not a best seller, at least someone thought it had some credence. The book is called "The Power of the Persona" Do you know who you really are? It is on Amazon and frankly I think it is a good book, even though I say it myself.
Moving forward, having written my first book I became very much aware that noone is going push your book for you unless you are famous or have some other claim to success,
I was not perturbed by the low volume of sales in my first book so I pondered on a second book, Maybe a Cowboy like I had always dreamed of, but you know how that goes I got a bee in my bonnet about Africa, I vividly remember so much from my youth and in those days I was fluent in Swahili having been raised with an African man and woman who worked for parents keeping the home while they were at work and this left me with them a lot of the time. We were close and they taught me so much about the African way of life and to this day I cherish those dear people who were loving and kind in every way and my parents also were very fond of them,
With memories and thoughts swirling in my mind and looking for a direction to write, I thought this was going to be the direction I would take on my next book. I went to my memories and thought what was one of the most memorable things about African life as a kid growing up. It was pretty easy, The huge orange sunsets, just like that "African Sunsets: got its title. Then I thought, I needed to give an inkling as to what it was about, having decided that it would be memories I had of life there, the concept of A Settlers' Story made it somewhat self explanatory. Plain and simple but depictive of where the book would go (well not completely!). I did not want to do an autobiography for many reasons, primarily because I wanted to develop some characters in the book where I could have some license in changes without causing any disrespect or concern to anyone I know and secondly, whilst most of the book and its chapters are based on factual content I have made strategic changes to add a sense of romance and adventure over and above what may have already existed in fact. However because so much of the book is almost beyond imagination, I have tried to incorporate quite a lot of historically identifiable events within the history of Kenya to give it authenticity to give the reader a true sense of how challenging life was for those early settlers.
Of course I got the book published at Amazon again only this time I have taken the reigns from the beginning to self promote it. After my initial publishing in 2019 I immediately decided that I would go on a book tour and speak to different groups and book clubs to get it selling. This went extremely well and I was climbing gently down the best sellers list, Note I was excited to be in the below 12000 block of best sellers and gently dropping down the list, I started to get a monthly check from Amazon and frankly I was on my way! Then Covid hit! Need I say more, the public speaking to promote came to an abrupt end and I also spent most of that time getting two knees and a hip replaced. So here I am back in the saddle and I hope sincerely that you look up my latest book "African Sunsets" A Settlers' Story. I think you may enjoy it for many reasons, It is different, pretty authentic, full of excitement and somewhat educational in its main theme.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I like many different authors and I love diversity, like my music. I have always believed that variety is the spice of life in everything except my wife of course!!!!
When I was young I loved the Gerald Durrell novels, Robert Louis Stevenson, Later Mickey Spillane, louis L 'Amour, Joy Adamson, Kuki Gallmann , Too many to list however suffice it to say I am a sucker for almost any kind of good adventure, love stories, war stories with human inspiration, cowboy books. Not really into sci fi. I prefer reality I guess.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Now you are talking! It took me almost two years to write it,
It is called "African Sunsets" A Settlers' Story.
This is an adventure story like no other. The book starts in Scotland and traverses the globe to distant Africa, to one of Britain's Colonies Kenya. It is based in times when the Crown was omnipotent and settlers had to be tough and resilient to survive there. The story outlines a loving relationship that not only endures some of the most challenging events, but it also demonstrates how huge success was enjoyed even under the most testing circumstances. The book has some basis in factual events from the author's youth, in fact his Grandparents were some of those early settlers, similar to those in the story.
From the beginning the book takes us into widest Africa, where wildlife and human interactions were an everyday reality. The opulent lifestyle of having African servants and high living were a reality and along with the hardships of being isolated in the bush far from any neighbors, it became a necessity to take all the necessary steps to protect the family against primitive savagery as the indigenous population became more and more resistant to the oppression of strict rule under a far distant king and his loyal military governors. This is a book that will grab you with the unexpected at every page turn!
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