I’m delighted to welcome Tim Taylor on what is a very special day – the launch of his novel Revolution Day in paperback. Thanks for dropping in, Tim, what can I get for you today?
Hello, Katy. Many thanks for inviting me along to your coffee shop! I’ll have a cappuccino with gingerbread syrup, please. Ooh, and an almond croissant, if you’ve got one. Yum yum!
How are you feeling today about the book going into paperback?
Excited! Revolution Day has been out for a while as an e-book, but it’s great to have it as a physical object that I can put on my bookshelf. And in my experience, there are still a lot of readers out there who prefer ‘real’ books to e-books, so this is an opportunity to bring it to a new audience.
How are you planning to celebrate the launch?
Well, it will just be an ordinary day (I fear I’ll be marking student essays!), but rounded off by an enjoyable evening discussing the inspiration for the novel, reading excerpts and signing copies. And there will be wine! (For any of your readers who happen to be in or near West Yorkshire, it’s at 7.30 this evening in Holmfirth Library, HD9 3JH.)
What gave you the idea for the novel?
The idea first came to me a few years ago. I’d had at the back of my mind a vague idea for a novel about someone who has had great power but is starting to lose it. Initially I was thinking of a king. However, around that time a succession of dictators who had been in power for decades and seemed unassailable fell one after the other in the space of a few months during the ‘Arab Spring’ (there’s a post about one of them, Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, over on my own blog https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com).
So it occurred to me that I could write my novel about an ageing dictator instead. That thought crystallised the existing formless ideas and gave me the premise for what became Revolution Day.
What had most interested me about the Arab Spring was not so much the specific background to those events, but the wider issues they raise about the corrupting and deluding effects of power and its ultimate fragility. So I decided to set my novel in Latin America, with its long history of dictatorship.
My dictator, Carlos Almanzor, is fictional and not based upon anyone in particular, but in creating him I drew on the lives and careers of many real-life dictators: for example, he looks a bit like General Pinochet of Chile, but with a beard.
The other central character in the novel is Carlos’ estranged wife Juanita (who has a bit of Eva Peron about her). She is writing, while under long-term house arrest, a memoir which charts Carlos’ rise to power and his subsequent descent from idealism into autocracy and repression.
After 37 years in power Carlos is feeling his age and seeing enemies around every corner – and with good reason, as his ambitious and embittered Vice-President, Manuel, is intriguing against him. As Manuel makes his bid for power, Juanita will find herself an unwitting participant in his plans.
It sounds fascinating. Thanks for telling us about it!
More About Tim
Tim ‘T.E.’ Taylor was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1960 and now lives in Meltham, near Huddersfield, with his wife Rosa. He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford, and some years later did a PhD in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. He spent a number of years in the civil service before leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing. Tim now divides his time between creative writing, academic research (he has published a book, Knowing What is Good for You, on the philosophy of well-being), and part-time teaching in ethics at Leeds University.
Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome, is set in Ancient Greece and follows the real-life struggle of the Messenian people to free themselves from Sparta. His second, Revolution Day, is about an ageing Latin American dictator who is clinging to power as his vice-president plots against him. As well as fiction, Tim writes poetry: he won the 2016 National Association of Writers Groups open poetry prize. He also plays electric and acoustic guitar, occasionally in public, and likes to walk up hills.