The Horror Librarian: A bit of a renaissance man, you are an actor, screenwriter, filmmaker, author, script consultant, copywriter, etc. What's your favorite role? And what have been some of your favorite projects?
Taylor Grant: That’s actually a pretty tough first question. For sheer enjoyment, I’d have to say “author.” Unlike the other roles you mentioned, I don’t have a lot of expectations around being an author other than satisfying my muse. The other roles can become quite complex because all of them require working with other people, budgets, and logistics. But writing stories only requires a writing tool of some kind and my imagination. I feel very blessed that the horror community has begun to embrace my dark fiction.
The Horror Librarian: What are you working on right now?
Taylor Grant: I am just winding down a two-year whirlwind of activity. I co-wrote a film called Sticks & Stones that is screening at the Cannes Film Festival next month, and starred in a short film called Crows that is currently doing well on the festival circuit. Last month I received two Telly Awards for my work as an advertising copywriter, and I have been fortunate to have horror stories published in some fairly high-profile anthologies and magazines, including an upcoming issue of Cemetery Dance. I am currently in pre-production on a film called The Vanished that I wrote and am co-producing.
Also, I am very excited about Evil Jester Presents, a horror comic series featuring stories from some of the biggest names in the horror industry, including Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, William F. Nolan, Jonathan Maberry, Gary Braunbeck, Joe McKinney, and 20-odd more world-class writers. It is the first graphic novel published by Evil Jester Comics, sister company to Evil Jester Press, founded by Charles Day.
The Horror Librarian: Tell us about your dream project.
Taylor Grant: In many ways, Evil Jester Presents IS a dream, as I’m able to leverage both my love of horror and comic books at the same time.
However, I do have another project I’ve been developing for many years. It’s a feature length crime thriller that I plan to direct and star in at some point--if the planets align in my favor. It is certainly the most ambitious of my future projects in terms of budget. If it doesn’t come together as a film, then I plan to write it as a novel. Whether it is a film or novel, I think it will be my best work so far.
The Horror Librarian: How does your experience as a screenwriter influence your approach to writing horror?
Taylor Grant: Years of working as a script consultant and screenwriter honed my ability to develop well-structured plots. In terms of horror, I’m currently focused on short stories, which I see as “mini movies.” In Hollywood, you have to grab your reader in the first five pages of your script or your sunk. I strive for that on the first page of my horror stories; to create intriguing openings that keep the reader engaged from the first few sentences--and hopefully--keep them turning the pages.
The Horror Librarian: List five things that are currently on your writing desk.
a). A two year-old gift card for a massage that, sadly, I have yet to use.
b). A bottle of Stevia.
c). Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass.
d). A toy Captain America motorcycle that my son left on my desk. (He knows Cap is my favorite hero.)
e). A stack of papers that is precariously close to falling…
The Horror Librarian: What are you reading, viewing, listening to this month?
a). I’m rereading Al Sarrantonio’s anthology “Toybox.” I’m telling you, the man is criminally underrated.
b). My favorite comic of the moment--much to my surprise--is Thor: God of Thunder. It is extremely well written, imaginative and beautifully illustrated.
b). I’ve been listening to a lot of blues-rock lately, particularly from a band called Indigenous that harkens back to old Stevie Ray Vaughn.
c). I’m enjoying the hell out of Game of Thrones, BBC’s Sherlock, and Mad Men.