Friday, September 7, 2012

What the Experts Say: Sci-fi/Suspense/Thriller Author, Ahmad Taylor

Ahmad Taylor, Author

Ahmad Taylor, a 36 year old writer from Brooklyn, N.Y., is a former NYC police officer turned author. His debut Sci-fi/Suspense/Thriller DARK SIDE OF THE MOON has reached the best seller list in multiple categories on more than once, and is a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012 contest for Mystery/Thrillers. 

Q Thank you for stopping by today to talk about your experiences as an author, your book, and maybe a few tips for our readers.  Before you continue, can you describe the plot of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON?

Sure! When former government agent, Derrick Thomas, awakens to find his family missing and in danger, he must outwit a clandestine organization intent on keeping him from the truth and his family.

Government agent Derrick Thomas awakes from a disturbing dream to find a message from his father asking for help. As he sets out to lend his assistance he quickly discovers that not only can he not find his father, but that a clandestine government agency is out to derail his search before it can even begin. After discovering details of a global food crisis, an interplanetary mission gone awry, the murders of two of his father’s colleagues, and the further disappearances of his mother and sister, Derrick is thrust into a fight for his own life and a struggle to uncover details of secret government experiments which his family may be involved with.  Will he be able to save them and uncover the truth before he becomes the next victim of an organization bent on keeping him silent?

Q Your readers called your book a “real page-turner.” How do you build suspense?

When writing I try and imagine the story as a movie in my mind. I try and imagine how it would look visually and then I think about what I would want to see, were I watching this story.

I build my stories by sections, each section containing a major plot point in the story. Within in each section, I create chapters that have specific situations or circumstances that gradually build upon each other until they culminate in the section’s climax.

I made it a point of contention that when I am creating a story, I do not want to spoon feed the reader a beginning, middle and end to the story. I think it is too simplistic and I do not like to read or watch stories that treat me as if I need to have my hand held the whole way through the story. I often jump timelines within my writing to provide a backstory, without making it so linear that it becomes boring and predictable.

Limiting predictability is crucial to me in creating something that has suspense and keeps the reader guessing.

Q How do you use your law enforcement and security background when writing?

My law enforcement and security background were a great aid in creating the Thomas family as they are all current or former government agents. I was able to take my specific knowledge of that field and incorporate it into my story to make the characters and their actions more plausible and realistic.

Q What do you do to make your characters compelling and engaging?

In developing my characters I try and ensure that I not only express their good qualities, but also explore their flaws with the reader, to show that even the most heroic of characters is not perfectly whole.

In this way I try and ensure that the reader can associate with the main characters and understand the actions that they take, even the extreme actions I portray in my stories.

Q Are any of your characters based on a real person? Can you tell us?

The main characters in DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (Derrick, Jeanie, Martin and Susan) are based on members of my family.

This makes the story very personal to me, and helped me create characters with true depth due to realistic flaws. My family doesn’t necessarily agree to their flaws, but I told them that I was just using poetic license with that part of the character development.

Q  Why did you decide to become an author? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What would you say is the strongest motivation for making you a writer?

I have always had a passion for telling stories and creating fiction (just ask my mom the stories I would tell her when my report cards would get “lost”).

I started writing poetry in my teens, and took a few courses in college. I had one poem published in a poetry anthology years ago and after that I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to write.

I took several literature classes in college and each gave me more inspiration than the last. I was drawn to Edgar Allen Poe and the way he was able to take the mundane and make it mysterious and diabolical. I also studied Shakespeare and once wrote a 60-page combined appropriation of King Lear, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet. I only got a B+ on the play, mainly because my professor asked for 5-7 pages and I went a bit overboard.

Q Favorites:  author, character, movie, celebrity, city

Author: All-time: Poe and Shakespeare equally. Poetry: Emily Dickenson.

Character: Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects) and John Keating (Dead Poets Society)

Movie: I have a ton a “favorites” but a few are: The Usual Suspects, Dead Poets Society, Godfather II, Bring It On, The Bourne Identity series, The Matrix, The Adjustment Bureau, Love Actually, and How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog to name a few.

Celebrity: I don’t follow celebrities like that, no TMZ for me, but if I could hang out with someone for the day it would probably be; Will Smith or Will Farrell. Female: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Paula Patton or Blake Lively (yes, I’m hoping they come across this interview and give me a call).

City: NYC will always be home to me, no matter where in the world I end up.

Q What do you like to do in your non-work, aka, spare time?

In theory I write with any and all of my spare time. But in reality, I love watching movies and sports, and the weekend beverage with my compatriots.

Q Are there any other genres you can imagine yourself writing in?

I don’t think I am going to write any one specific genre exclusively for my career. I like to read and watch all genres and I would like to write in them all as well.
The toughest but most exciting would be comedy. I have always dreamt of doing comedic writing so when I eventually tackle that it will be exciting and fun for me.

Q What are you working on now? When can we expect to see your next novel? Will it be in the same genre?

I am currently working on the sequel to DSOM.
Everyone wants to know when it will be out. I can only say super-duper soon!

Q Anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank Joyce and her readers for indulging me and allowing me to share a bit about myself and my work.

I would like to implore your readership to do their favorite writers the favor and courtesy of writing reviews for them. It may seem cumbersome, but it really only takes 5 minutes at the most, and the benefits that authors receive from these reviews are innumerous. Not only are reviews great for the author’s self-esteem, which helps them write better, but it also helps their ratings and rankings, which means that they get more exposure and the more exposure your favorite author receives, the better chance they have of sticking around to create more for you to enjoy. So take a few minutes to say something positive about their work and help keep them doing what they love to do best, entertain you.

Thanks again Joyce for the opportunity.

Q I second this request to write reviews.  They are very helpful in all the ways you mention. Also, they help us authors comprehend readers’ perspectives. Great final point.  Thanks for your input.


1 comment:

  1. I had a blast talking with you Joyce. Thanks to you and all your readers for the opportunity.