Interview with David Taylor Black, author of Guilt

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t actually remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I think I was about nine when I started my first novel, and I used to write plays so that my friends and I could act in them. I lived in a pretty rural area and we would make our own fun.

What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

Character development. The characters have to well developed and move the reader to care about them and get drawn into their story.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

This is kind of a tricky question. Sitting down and writing something is not necessarily hard. But, there are times when I have make myself skip the beginning of the process and just dive in. There’s something about writing that can be intimidating because sometimes you don’t know what comes next.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I like to see where an idea takes me. Usually, I start with either just an opening line, or just a beginning and an end. The rest just happens. In fact, in my novel Guilt something happened that I wasn’t anticipating at all. I literally stood up from my writing and paced around a bit because I had no idea what it meant. That thing ended up becoming extremely important.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is starting. Once I start, it can often be hard to stop.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Yes.  I designed the cover for my recent novel, Guilt.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love to read. I read (at least a little—some days are pretty busy) every day. My favorite author is William Faulkner. I also really like Kurt Vonnegut. As a kid, I loved Agatha Christie, and I still love good mysteries and suspense books/stories. Harlan Coben books are great, fun reads. The funny thing is, even though, this book (Guilt) is a mystery, I never saw myself as a mystery writer. I decided to write it mostly because I love to read the genre so much and because Hope Town, Bahamas (where the novel is set) was so interesting.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Just write. Write what interests you, not what interests other people or what you think will sell. You don’t even have to think when you write, which may sound counter-intuitive, but thinking can get in the way of creating.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

A writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I went through the typical phases where I wanted to be a pilot, an architect, an actor, a lawyer. But during those times, what I really wanted was to be a writer.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

I’m currently working on Book 2 in the Guilt series. The book continues the story of Dan and Susan.

Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Yes. Not a lot, but some, and too often. I try not to anymore, but for a long time, if I wasn’t happy with something I wrote, I didn’t want anyone to read it, including myself.

Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?

This is a really interesting question to me. As morbid as I know it sounds, when I was a kid, I was sure I would kill myself because so many great writers did. Why do they do it? I guess it be hard to live so many tragic lives.

Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

Yes. And, both of them have published. So, writing is kind of in my blood. Although, they both wrote non-fiction.

What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?

Rain. I love rain.

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