Interview with James Taylor

Describe your desk
I don't use a desk to write. I tend to write on old school book pads of paper on my lounge. Writing should be comfortable.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Adelaide, a smallish city in the South of Australia. Living in the midst of suburbia means most of my poetry is inspired by everyday people, living out their lives in relative obscurity. What fascinates me about suburbia is the way everyone is caught up to some degree in their own lives and yet we all live very much on top of each other.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing as soon as I could form a story. My first stories, as a very young child, were about magical worlds and space adventures - places where my imagination could run wild.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Plastic Neighbourhood is my second poetry and prose anthology. It is about a feeling of exclusion and disconnect I have grappled with for a long time and never fully understood. So in an attempt to understand and pull apart the strings of this metaphor I designed a world from which I could safely describe the people and attitudes in real society and that have also very much shaped my experiences in my own hometown and life. This is a microcosm of people and insitutions transposed into a plastic toy town, in an attempt to unravel their psychology, and expose how people really feel under all those layers of melted plastic.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is a form of therapy for me and my very overactive mind. The best part of writing is getting that mental clutter onto a page and out of my head.
Who are your favorite authors?
Kazuo Ishiguro paints the page with so much diversity and richness with his characters, and every train of thought and subplot is woven in a way that beautifully fills in the plot threads. He is extraordinary.
How do you approach cover design?
Having studied graphic design myself, I design my own covers. I tend to visually imagine an idea that is linked to an overarching theme of the book I am writing and attempt to create it using images and techniques in Photoshop. This for me is one of the best parts of the creative process because its fun to visually represent the words on the page with a single thought.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro - is a magical, deep and beautifully complex human tale in a dystopian future.

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - is a heartfelt and intensely raw teen fiction series in dystopian fiction with a lovable protagonist and a kaleidoscope of rich plot detail.

"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates - is a stunning work of art, with a heartbreaking look at the social mores of suburbia in 50's America.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams - a classic comedic space adventure, with a cast of crazy and yet surprisingly endearing characters.

"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova - is a grippingly real and emotional story about a woman dealing with early onset Alzheimer's disease. It is quietly confident and has moments of profoundness so touching.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A mobile phone.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I listen to a lot of music. Florence and the machine is my favourite band. Lyrically Florence is so inspiring.
What are you working on next?
I am working on my third poetry anthology called "Happy is a state of mind." This book will be about my journey to a happier place in my life.
Published 2016-08-01.
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