The Dakota Skies blog tour stops by Rainbow Gold Reviews today and we have a very interesting interview with its author, Taylin Clavelli. To check out Dawn’s review of Dakota Skies, click here.
Title: Dakota Skies
Author: Taylin Clavelli
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Born in the wrong time…
In 1875 Dakota, Sheriff Jamie Carter has to hide his interest in men, even from his gutsy twin sister, Anna. On a good day, the truth can mean a bullet between the eyes, and on a bad, one in the back.
A man on a mission…
Jamie leaves Anna in charge of Blackrock and he hits the bounty hunting trail, along with his faithful equine companion, Houston. Five territories, scores of ‘Wanted’ posters, and many bullets later, his path unexpectedly converges with that of enigmatic loner, Kit Brooks.
Two men with one soul…
Will the smoldering fire between them rage into an inferno and break down protective barriers, allowing them to find love? Or will it separate and kill them?
Beneath Dakota skies…
Jamie and Kit’s story is a sweeping saga of cowboys, Indians, persistent broads, and vengeful villains, where the cowboys aren’t always the good guys, and love can’t be taken for granted.
Buy the book:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NHPMJ7C/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NHPMJ7C/
Interview with Taylin Clavelli
1. Let’s start with the most important question! Cowboys and Indians, which one did you play as a kid?
As a kid, every program I watched promoted the cowboys as the heroes. Bonanaza, Champion the Wonder Horse, The High Chaparral, and The Lone Ranger was my out of school viewing along with Thunderbirds – lol. So, I suspect it will come as no surprise that I was the cowboy. At home I even have a Stetson, spurs and an authentic bull whip, which I was taught how to use while on a working ranch in Texas.
2. Writing a historical novel entails a lot of research. When you actually got to it, was it more or less than you expected?
Oh my life it was a hell of a lot more than I expected it to be. The more I got into the plot the more I needed to clarify. My research wasn’t restricted to maps of the time, clothing, and pictures of towns with a good dose of imagination. It also involved the following, and more – check out the list.
Guns – not just what was available, but their weights and how they fired.
Language (e.g. the words pissed off, as a swear word wasn’t used in that context until the 1940’s)
Native American histories, philosophies and practices
British language vs American
Lay of the land
Historical events surrounding 1875
The do’s and don’ts of survival in the wild
The intricacies of knife throwing
What various wild meats tasted like
There are more, but when I think about it deeper, my brain goes into a tailspin.
3. Did you find yourself lost in the amazing things you discovered instead of sticking to what you needed?
Occasionally yes and where I went overboard in transferring that knowledge to the page, those parts were edited out or condensed. I found the differences between the native tribes absolutely fascinating and I got lost in the Sioux circle of life. Information I discovered about living in the wild was absorbing too. I learned so much about wild vegetables and ways to protect oneself from, amongst other things, insects an education.
4. The heroes of Dakota Skies find more acceptance among the native tribes then their peers. Is this based on historical fact?
There was never going to be, nor did I find, evidence of natives accepting a gay man into their tribe – especially from that era. As it say’s in my book, anyone promoting male relations, or who was found to be gay, wouldn’t have lived long; nor were natives talking to the press much then either. So even if native tribes accepted gay men, it wouldn’t be documented. Anyone sheltering a gay man would have to have kept it a secret.
However, what I used was the philosophies of the tribes to determine the role of each in my story. The Sioux promoted acceptance in their teaching and living at one with nature. Many species of animals have same sex relations. Therefore, since the lack of love for gay men in the Wild West is already documented, it was feasible that the Sioux felt differently or could have been persuaded to. The probability wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
5. Are you planning on writing more novels in the historical genre, or are you planning on exploring others?
I love history. So, yes I am planning to do more in that genre. I have two stories in the early stages of development. I already have some published stories, in anthologies which are contemporary and comedy. The genre in which I write is dependent upon a thread which sparks something bigger. Who knows what the future will bring.
6. As you were writing the story, did the characters cooperate, or did they fight you and went their own way?
For the most part the characters cooperated, although we did have the odd spat. There were a few scenes which I’d written prior to finding a place for them in the story. Some of those had to be altered to fit in with the characters as they developed.
7. Can you share a few of your future writing and publishing plans?
Writing definitely, but the publishing side isn’t in my hands.
I have just finished a modern day comedy, which I have submitted for an anthology. So can’t say much about that for fear of jinxing it. Projects in the works include a ghost story, which mixes sixteenth century history with a modern day man. I also have a longer term project which is a combination of ancient Egypt, alternate universes and reincarnation. I’m sure that sounds totally bonkers, but it is coming together.
8. Now that you have launched your debut novel, what advice would you give writers about to embark on the same journey?
I was very lucky in finding a publisher who saw potential in a raw story and who was willing to work with me to improve it.
As for advice to writers embarking on the same journey – don’t give up. Believe in yourself and your work. Find yourself honest pre-readers – not just ones who tell you every word you write is fantastic. The kind of pre-reader who hangs on to your every word isn’t necessarily being kind to you – all it tends to do is inflate one’s ego. A writer needs a pre-reader who can look at the story rather than the person writing it. At the end of the day a submissions committee doesn’t necessarily know anything about the writer and will look at your story with an extremely critical eye – one that calculates the audience reaction, risk and what is necessary to make your story publishable. Embrace criticism and use it to improve your writing. Then, when you get a positive response, you know you have something special. Invest in a grammar checker too, and/or a good beta – they find all the errors you miss during read through.
And if you are lucky to have a story accepted, learn from and trust the editors. They know the audience. However, don’t be afraid to stick to your heels in on areas you truly believe in.
At the end of the day publishing a book is a collaborative process, not a one sided one. Wayward Ink Publishing have guided me through everything and consulted me at every stage. I won’t sugar coat it and say it was all roses. Editing a person’s ‘baby’, can be and will most likely be painful, but, for me the end product was better than the one I submitted. I feel truly blessed. I hope others are fortunate enough to have the same experience.
9. What does Taylin the reader enjoy in her books? And what would you like banished?
My reading habits have changed over the years. I’ll always enjoy a book which contains sword and sorcery with a touch of nookie. Now, I appreciate action, angst and a bloody good tale.
What would I like banished? Mmm. I’m not honestly sure if I’d want anything banished – at least not in the literary sense. The reason I say that is because even if the published word is unsavoury, disgusting or beautiful it creates discussion and brings issues to the fore. In turn, it educates, which can only be a good thing.
More about the author:
Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.
Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.
Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.
Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.
Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.
Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:
Laughter – especially that of her children.
The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.
The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.