In your own words, please describe your book.
The Ruins of Tropicalia is a serialized, pulpy adventure story, accompanied by new music by indie rock n roll band The Amends. Two new chapters/episodes of TROT debut each week from 6/24/14 until its completion at the end of August, available for free in multiple formats (mobi/Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.) both online (http://theruinsoftropicalia.com) and on a mobile app. A new single from The Amends will premiere each Wednesday throughout TROT’s run.
Here’s a basic plot outline: In early 2014, a group of Americans gathered on a remote Central American peninsula to experience the last days of an unsullied tropical paradise before its development into a corporate retreat for the world’s biggest tech company. Many of them believed they were there accidentally, but none of them were. This is the story of how a group of restless, indecisive idiot discovered who brought them there, and what they could be. This is the story of a country and a civilization few remember ever existed. This is the story behind the most mysterious mass Disappearance of the 21st century. This is a war story. And when things get bad, you rescue what you can…
What genre/genres does your book fall under?
Multiple, as it shifts a bit throughout the narrative. I would say literary in general with elements of pulp, thriller, and even scifi.
Is this book part of a series?
Not exactly. It’s serialized; two new chapters/episodes are released each week, from June 24th to August 28th. When it’s over, that will be the end of the self-contained work. However, there are several hidden easter eggs throughout, which will sometimes link to related, often quite extensive works.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
I was among the group who ended up in Central America. I had taken a yearlong break from my band to dip my toes into the business world. I was on vacation with my girlfriend. Those of us who returned to the States decided that we needed to write about what transpired. My background as a writer and editor was the impetus for me taking the lead in compiling and publishing the narratives.
What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?
I’ve been a prose writer for a lot longer than I’ve been a songwriter. Although they’re closely related endeavors, there are big differences. The creation of a song is a collaborative process, and you start with a blank slate. It can turn into anything. However, once you’ve got a structure, lyrics can sometimes be limited to that box. Writing longform prose, like TROT, is more of a solitary endeavor, but you’re not limited to boxes. Given its nature, TROT was more collaborative than most things I’ve written in the past, but it still involves locking yourself in a room for a long time to try to exorcise everything.
So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
My band’s albums have gotten some good critical praise, and I’ve had a handful of short stories published in literary journals under a couple different pseudonyms. (Here’s one as Tyler Taylor: http://denversyntax.com/issue23/fiction/taylor/crunch.html), but I have to be honest/cheesy and say that TROT has felt like my biggest achievement so far, even though it hasn’t yet been released. It’s very personal to me, and it blends my two artistic loves—writing and music—in a way that I don’t think has quite been done before.
Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?
We’re doing everything ourselves, as has been our way as a band. Because of the blend of technology, genres, and mediums, we felt that the extra work was worth is so we could release it in the way we thought it would best be consumed. We created the web site as well as the mobile app, and will be doing the distribution of both the words and music ourselves. It’s a daunting, time-consuming process, but it makes us feel like it really is our project from start to finish.
What are you working on now?
I’m focusing a lot of my effort on the details of releasing such a massive project. After that, I anticipate I’ll start working with the band to write some new music again for a third album.
In your own words, please tell us about yourself.
I’m Tyler Taylor. I’m a musician and a writer. I’ve been in The Amends, an indie rock n roll band, for about 4 years. I co-write most of the songs with our lead singer/guitarist, Drew Weikart. I’m from St. Louis originally. I lived in Boulder, Colorado for the past six years, and I moved to Denver a year ago.
What are some of your likes and dislikes?
I like to travel, scuba dive, write (obviously) and play music. I’m a reader. George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Shirley Jackson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Margaret Atwood are some favorites. “Hannibal” and “Game of Thrones” are the best shows on TV right now, in my opinion.
How can readers connect with you?
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?
I’m a big St. Louis Cardinals fan.
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
My favorite type of stories are ones that draw you in a certain way and then transform into something else, suddenly revealing something new and unexpected—yet when you look back, you realize it was the inevitable path from the start. By design, “The Ruins of Tropicalia” begins somewhat modestly, on a small, literary scale as we get to know each of the people involved in the story. But if you stick with it, it will grow into something much bigger and… stranger, than you might believe at the beginning. That’s all I can say about it for now.