Taylin’s Writing Process
by Taylin Clavelli
Over the years, I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I got into writing or when I realized that I wanted to be a writer? All my life, I’ve been an avid reader, and to be honest, I can’t say that I ever consciously wanted to be a writer, I kind of fell into it and it snowballed. My cousin Simon is a writer and his brothers are all artistic, but I never thought the creative gene was within me.
To date, I’ve written three novels and six anthology stories. None of my books have conformed to the norm. They’ve either spanned genre’s or have been written in a voice not consistent with the era. What can I say – I like to be a bit different. My novels include:-
Dakota Skies 🡪 a western set in 1875, written with a more modern voice.
Secret of the Manor 🡪 a contemporary romance with a little sword and sorcery.
Hathonatum is my current novel. It is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.
Hathonatum is also the first novel which is part of a series. The Pelethus series. But, it can be read as a standalone. Initially, I intended for Hathonatum to be a one-off. However, some characters appear later in the story, which my pre-readers insisted have a story to tell.
For me, there is no average time for writing a story. Every novel has been different in duration. The defining factor has been inspiration. I’ve tried to force it, only to write a chapter that seemed contrived and unnatural. I don’t aim to write a certain number of words a day, either, because family, work and life in general usually interrupt. Just because I’m not actively writing words doesn’t mean I’m not working on the story. I’m often running through an idea in my head – a little bit here, a little bit there. I’ve usually got a notebook close by for that idea I don’t want to forget.
Ideas for a story can come from anywhere and in that respect, I prefer writing novels because I can get totally vested in the characters and their lives. Inspiration for all my books or scenes within them came from different places. They vary between music, art, personal experience, tales from friends or a combination of things that can be totally unrelated.
Once I have an idea, I put bullet points in a document, which I frequently rearrange. I don’t use it as a story plan but as a reminder. Then as I write, the ideas get used up – not necessarily in their original order. The first few chapters are the most challenging to write because, if a reader’s attention isn’t grabbed in those opening pages, no matter how good it gets later, a bad review usually follows. A bad finish can get the same result. Readers like to have completion and feel satisfied that the people who they have hopefully come to love, get the ending right for them.
Finding a good, comfortable place to write is essential. I write, either in my bedroom or in company with my noise-cancelling headphones on. It allows me to get into the headspace of the character and to think more about their actions, reactions and speech patterns.
In Hathonatum, the speech of Ben is like that of a regular Brit, cutting corners and shortening words. Hathonatum’s is more precise suggesting English was not his native language. When developing a character, I have a general physical outline. E.g. Hathonatum was always going to be the tall, dark and mysterious one. Therefore, it fits that his personality was more held back and guarded. Whereas, with Ben, I had a little more leeway. He could be more open and freer with his thoughts. One thing I never do is base a complete character on a person that I know. I take a characteristic from here, another from there, then add something unique for them.
Writer’s block can be a pain. When it happens, I usually step away from the story for a while. If I force a scene, it never comes outright. Using personal experiences helps minimize writer’s block. In Hathonatum, Egyptian history has been a long-term hobby, and I have been to Cairo, seen the pyramids and taken a trip down the Nile. When using experiences, it is easier to describe the emotions that accompany a scene.
At the end of the day, writing is only one part of producing a story. Having a tough pre-reader and a damned good editor are worth their weight in gold. These talented people read a story cold, and don’t add in any assumed aspects. They help make a story the best it can be.
Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?
Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.
The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?
**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **
Available at: MLR Press
An Excerpt from Hathonatum
Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.
Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.
When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger.
At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy.
That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.
Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.
From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons.
As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.
Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station.
Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war.
There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race.
Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy.
As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun.
Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.
About Taylin Clavelli
I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.
My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum.
As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.
Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.
As part of this blog tour, Taylin is giving away a choice of paperback + swag from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin to 3 winners and a choice of 1 ecopy from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin to 5 winners!! To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway unless otherwise stated but are still welcome anyway.