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July 4, 2016 / peoplesbookprize

GREG TAYLOR⌈Greg Vote Now 

In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016, we caught up with author Greg Taylor to talk about his book

Lusitania R.E.X

 

Greg has always loved history and was drawn to the tale of the Lusitania because he was fascinated by the cataclysm of elegant Edwardian society caused by the brutal warfare the industrial success of that society made possible. His passion for research and discovery has taken him to the numerous historical sites that appear in the book. London has been Greg’s home since 2000 and he has divided his investment banking asset management career between New York and London. Greg wrote Lusitania R.E.X while founding and developing his own investment management firm. He is originally from Colorado and returns regularly to visit family and friends and to hike and ski the Rocky Mountains.

When did you start writing?

I was always writing, even as a kid, but as a history major at Williams College I became accustomed to disciplined research to support my writing.  My interest in writing a novel began during the summer of 2010.  I was driving with an author friend of mine to a costume party on the coast near Dover when I turned to him and announced that I was going to write a book about the Lusitania.  The next year, I went to the same party dressed as the Lusitania, complete with rotating propellers.

As an Author, What Influences You the Most?

William Faulkner had a big impact on me.  After college, I went on a Faulkner bender and read everything he wrote listening to the music of Felix Mendelssohn so the two are forever intertwined for me.  The most significant influence, however, was Salman Rushdie, whose The Enchantress of Florence showed me how an author could educate his or her audience through historical fiction.  I was fortunate enough to meet him at a dinner party, and he gave me valuable advice:  “Find your main character, tell their story, and drop everything that doesn’t help you do that.”  I also must thank Julian Fellowes for bringing the Edwardian era to life with Downton Abbey.

Where did the idea for this book originate?

It struck me as unfair that the Titanic gets all the attention while the story of the Lusitania is more complex, mysterious and dramatic.  After being struck by a German torpedo on May 7th 1915, she sank in only eighteen minutes, compared to two and a half hours for the Titanic.  Passengers such as Alfred Vanderbilt, one of the wealthiest men in the world, ignored warnings published in the New York Times and other papers the morning she sailed.  Imperial Germany immediately claimed she was loaded with explosives destined for the front.  In Lusitania R.E.X, I wanted to use the facts I discovered during two years of research as a base on which to build a compelling narrative replete with spies, secret societies, super weapons, millionaires and martyrs.

The People’s Book Prize nominees are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?

They are everything.  Without them, Lusitania R.E.X is only a stack of paper.  I convened a group of readers to read and discuss an early draft of the book, and their input was extremely helpful.  Since part of my mission was to educate and share my research, the Proven and Unproven section at the end of the book is a fundamental component of what I wanted to offer my readers.

We like to think there’s a voice for everyone in Publishing – what is your opinion?

I have found some authors whose voice seems to represent my views.  I have found in them a voice that I might call my own.  Of course publishing your work is the best way to find your voice, but not the only one.

Filament-Publishing publishes a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?

It is delightful to be in the company of talent of any kind, but with authors, the atmosphere can be electrifying.  I experienced this meeting other authors of my publisher as well as attending the Hay Festival last summer, which I highly recommend.

What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?

While Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner is my favourite book, the one that influenced me most as a writer is The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.  I am currently reading If You Go Away by Adele Parks about a conscientious objector during World War One.

What can we expect from you in the future? What are you writing at the moment?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Lusitania R.E.X and became so absorbed in the process there were days I would glance at my watch and realise a whole day had gone by in a frenzy of research and writing. I have a few ideas I am mulling over for my next book, although don’t expect anything too soon.  If Lusitania R.E.X is anything to go by, I may need two years to research and develop the plot before I begin to put the first words down.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank the many friends, colleagues and authors that encouraged me and particularly my agent, Susan Mears, and publisher, Chris Day at Filament.  Both of them made suggestions, such as approaching the Duke of Marlborough to write the forward, that added tremendously to the final product. I also want to encourage fledgeling authors to persevere and stay the course despite the obstacles that may arise in the journey.

Find Greg at:  lusitaniarex.com

Facebook:  Lusitania R.E.X

Twitter:  @GregTaylor_LUSI


home pageThe People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.

You Be the Judge: The People’s Book Prize – “The home for new and undiscovered works.”
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