Interview with Spaulding Taylor, Author of Last Star Standing

02 Mar 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Last Star Standing?

Last Star Standing is basically escapism – it feels like much more like action/adventure or a straight thriller than science fiction.

It’s set in the near future – 2094 – and follows an alien invasion – so it has to be marketed as sci-fi – but it’s really about the narrator’s tough, terrifying, but ultimately life-affirming personal journey.

This book ambushed me, about three years ago. I was meditating, something I do very badly. Despite this, I’ve had several great experiences when I try – swirling colors come to me – images, ideas – in this case, a character.

I was looking down, from the Earth’s surface, about a hundred meters, through a metallic shaft, at a young man imprisoned in a metal chair. It was Aiden, my narrator, and – from that first, bizarre introduction – he pursued me, even pestered me.

With sinking heart I realized that he was asking me to write science fiction, about which I knew almost nothing.

A crazy idea. Every time it returned, I pushed it away.

But Aiden fought back. He wanted the book to happen. He wanted to be. And – long story short, because he wouldn’t give in – he persuaded me. Today, Last Star Standing will be published.

If you read it, I hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, I hope you review it.

But most of all, in these tough times, I hope that it really does offer at least a little – escape.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I come from a very bookish family – my father is a biographer and my mother an editor – but I also suspect it’s also because I grew up in Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore and Myanmar.

My father was a US diplomat and we moved around a lot. But wherever we moved, in the Asia of the 60s and 70s there was very little American TV.

Instead, we read. My sister Kathy (fifteen months my junior) and I read constantly. And, to amuse her, I wrote stories from about age five, rubbish poetry from about age seven, and finished writing my first novel at fourteen. This novel, of course, was also really terrible. But the fact that I wrote it shows how dedicated we were to books!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Jane Austen’s Emma, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Jane Eyre.

(Off the top of my head. But the first two never change.)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I can’t even imagine being the host of a literary talk show, sorry!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Its solitary nature. Which is also my least favorite thing about writing!

Before the pandemic hit, I had the ideal life: freelancing on the cello in London orchestras AND writing – or else ghosting – fiction. The combination was perfect: in an orchestra you’re surrounded by people, while when you’re writing you’re all on your own. Writing fiction feels like heaven after being an orchestra team member all day – walking into a crowded concert hall feels revitalizing after working alone in a study for hours.

At the moment, of course, orchestras are not happening.

What is a typical day like for you?

In the pandemic? Boring… No chamber music, no orchestras – and no tennis!!! I’m addicted to tennis!!!

I also miss traveling: I’ve lived in seven countries and visited 44. I have family in America that I miss. I have a second home in Crete that I miss… But it can’t last forever, right?

What scene from Last Star Standing was your favorite to write?

I love the end of Last Star Standing. It has a hugely life-affirming ending. Even when I was proofreading it moved me, and made me feel honoured to have been gifted with this particular story. It’s at moments like that one when I thank Aiden for nagging me into writing it!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

No, I don’t, but this quote from Nelson Mandela has always moved me:

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

Spaulding Taylor is the author of the new book Last Star Standing

Connect with Spaulding Taylor

Author Site


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