Name: KV Taylor
Author of: “Chennai 5”
Current Geographic Location: DC Metro Area
Original Hometown, if different: Wellsburg, WV
Recent publications: I’ve had some short fiction sprinkled around here and there. My first novel, Scripped, came out from Belfire Press last year (http://youcannevergoho.me), and my second, Liam, appears late summer/early fall 2012 (http://fiorenzafamily.com).
Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? I think there are a lot of things I don’t know, and very few things I do. This one is in the former category.
If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back?I would, but not if it meant I could never come back. I love travelling, but I love coming home after just as much. Which is actually relevant to “Chennai 5″″, come to think of it…
What inspired your essay? A couple of things, the most obvious being my husband’s hometown, Chennai– the city formerly known as Madras. I adore it. It’s huge, tropical, welcoming, and a more than a little mad in every possible way. Also a great place to indulge my academic interest in South Asian art. When I asked him to name my main character, he named her after Kannagi and told me her part of the story from Silappadikaram. I went and looked her up, and it exploded from there.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I also wanted an excuse to use some of my favorite Tamil expressions–my absolute favorite being “Why are you like this?” Which is a great way of saying, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
What music or movies helped you to write this essay? Talvin Singh’s OK, which is an old favorite, and Franz Schubert. Yeah, I don’t know either.
How many rewrites did you do before submitting? Three, I think. I wrote it quickly because I’d been discussing it with my husband for months beforehand. Usually fast means bad, but I had a really good beta that cut down on the stress for me big time. Thanks Meghan!
What is your favorite bit?
“It doesn’t mean anything.” Nagesvaran held up a palm-sized chunk of stone decorated in stylized banyan motifs, running his finger along one elegant line. “But it’s interesting. Like those spears the UAF found on Raleigh, just like the kind they used in ancient Scandinavia. The carving’s nothing like anything we’d see on Earth, let alone in Baaradham – but we’re definitely dealing with hands very like human ones.”
“It’s beautiful,” she said, around a maddening lump in her throat and that flaming itch in her brain. She could only ignore it when she slept, any more – and even then, she dreamt of humidity and sand.
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