FQ: Before we get started, I want to thank you for writing a fantastic novel, and I would like to ask a few questions about you before diving into the story. I was fascinated to learn you started writing this book in the 1980s and have just now published it. It’s fascinating how relevant the storyline is in today’s climate. Share your moment when you realized now is the time to write The Count and was there a particular trigger that ignited your fire to do so?
TAYLOR: I found the draft paperwork, some of it handwritten, and realised it had to be finished. I asked my granddaughter to type out the handwritten pages, and I sat down to complete the story. As I worked through the pages I realised how relevant it could be to the current international climate.
FQ: You referenced you "...developed and ran several exciting businesses..." What was the most exciting and why this one?
TAYLOR: My wife and I ran several small, but interesting businesses, and provided working jobs to struggling characters. We opened and ran the first ‘Body Shops’ in London. We also ran restaurants, beauty rooms, and massage parlours. The most exciting and satisfying one, although never the most profitable one, was an ‘indoor adventure playground’ in a warehouse under the W10 motorway over London., called BRAMLEY’S BIG ADVENTURE. We felt we were giving back something to the community instead of always taking away. It was so satisfying to see children having exciting fun while their parents could relax and have a cup of tea.
FQ: I was fascinated to learn about the Cossacks and am curious what nugget was the most intriguing for you to learn?
TAYLOR: It was exciting to uncover a culture, a relatively unknown ‘tribe,’ with interesting stories, who had been hidden away for so long.
FQ: I thoroughly enjoyed the character you developed in Nick Cameron. In many respects, he is portrayed as (virtually) the only honest guy in banking. When he attempts to expose the improprieties in the banking practices, the ‘villains’ immediately shift to damage control. Is there a time in your life when you witnessed a blatant wrong and you attempted to correct it; only to be shut down?
TAYLOR: There were many occasions when I was expected to act in a way that I felt was morally incorrect, and many times I saw others proceed with pride in activities that should have been closed down.
FQ: You encapsulated the persona of character Peter Kavanagh, the Ambassador, beautifully, "...built his fortune against all odds in the thirties, multiplied it as a patriot through the war, and consolidated and achieved respectability in the fifties and sixties. Now, as an extremely wealthy and influential member of the American establishment, he was achieving the ultimate recognition, the equivalent of a title in ‘Britain. Nick secretly believed that all American billionaires, regardless of industry, had made their pile through bootlegging, extortion, or exploitation..." Boom! That was an epic scene, and I immediately started mentally checking off many American politicians and businessmen in today’s world after reading it. Was this a passage that took some massaging on your part (or did it write itself for you)?
TAYLOR: I had met many of the examples of the characters depicted. So the passage pretty well wrote itself.
FQ: Without too much of a spoiler, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough when Nick finally puts his mission to seek revenge into play. You were incredibly precise and detailed every facet of his plan. Was this a difficult part of the story to write?
TAYLOR: Yes, it was difficult. And even now I am not satisfied. I still think there is too little action, and too little revenge.
FQ: In line with my previous question, I envisioned a wall of post-its and lines systematically connecting each leg of the revenge and how it would play out. What was your process in nailing it with such great writing?
TAYLOR: All I know is that I wanted revenge, and wanted those who had taken advantage to meet some form of justice.
FQ: In a world full of unrest, if you were asked to impart the penultimate formula of how we can all get along, what would be your opening statement?
TAYLOR: Before seeking ‘justice,’ think ‘How can I help?’
FQ: There is so much more to cover in discussing this fantastic story, but I’m afraid 100 questions is far too many to ask. I want to thank you for the great entertainment captured between the covers of The Count and have to ask: Is there another book in development? If so, are you able to share?
TAYLOR: There is another book in development, but it still has a very long way to go. So don’t keep a gap open on your bookshelf just yet.