Selected from a digest featured in The Digest Enthusiast book four:
“During one of their trysts, one of those long lunch breaks they took from the ad agency where they worked, Roger invited Felicia to bring her husband over for a Friday-night cookout.”
“The Care and Feeding of Houseplants” by Art Taylor Ellery Queen March/April 2013
EQMM Nov 2014 with Art Taylor’s “The Odds Are Against Us”
An excerpt from Art Taylor’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast #4 in June 2016.
TDE: Most of your stories explore relationships, reactions and decisions that characters have to live with. What appeals to you about this approach?
AT: Basically, I think those themes are just at the core of my own interests and obsessions. A fellow writer, E.A. Aymar, pointed out to me—nicely—that I wasn’t very good at branding my work, since my stories were all over the place in terms of subgenre and tone and whatever: noir here, cozy there; traditional structure here, something more experimental there; etc. And I’m certain that readers who have enjoyed some of my darker stories might well be bewildered by some of the lighter comedy of On the Road with Del & Louise. But to me, so many of these stories come down to the same elements: the responsibilities inherent in being in a relationship; the times when that relationship is tested; the decision to respect or betray the relationship; the fallout from that decision. Whatever the circumstances or situation that might drive that central storyline, and whatever the various combinations of choices and consequences that might result, those questions and that theme are what I return to time and time again.
EQMM S/O 2013 with Art Taylor’s “Ithica 37”
“Ithica 37” marks the seventh appearance of a short story by Art Taylor, in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, the Sept/Oct 2013 double issue. A relatively simple young man, whose life seems absorbed in movies, subscribes to a morass of righteous principles and feels it’s his duty to protect his younger sister from life’s darker influences after their only remaining parent’s death.
We interviewed Art about his writing and many of his individual stories in The Digest Enthusiast #4 in June 2016.
EQMM Mar/Apr 2013 with Art Taylor’s “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”
An excerpt from Art Taylor’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast book four. When asked if he relied on existing knowledge or research for the background of his stories he said this about his story from the Mar/Apr 2013 issue of EQMM:
Art: For “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” however, I was in new territory. I know little about plants, and they regularly perish under my own care. But plants—and plants versus animals—seemed a necessary metaphorical element to the story I was working on, so I ended up reaching out to a botany professor here at George Mason University with some questions.
“Funny story there—partly a plot spoiler, I’m afraid. When I emailed her—this was back in 2007 or so, as I recall—I also asked about ricin, and she quickly responded that I should call instead of emailing. When I did get her on the phone, she told me that she’d worked at Quantico for a while and that our email exchange had probably already been flagged by the government because of that mention of ricin. I laughed at the time. Seriously? Like the government is checking through everyone’s emails? Again, this was around 2007, so . . . .”
EQMM May 2011 with Taylor’s “A Drowning at Snow’s Cut”
An excerpt from Art Taylor’s interview from The Digest Enthusiast book four:
TDE: “Your stories often include a particular interest or experience like sailing, houseplants, prep school, etc. What influences these choices? Do you draw mostly on existing knowledge or research?”
AT: “Some of my fiction draws on my own background and experiences. “Rearview Mirror”—the opening of On the Road with Del & Louise—was inspired by a trip my wife and I took to New Mexico several years ago. Similarly, “A Drowning at Snow’s Cut” was based in part on a boat trip my father and I took down the North Carolina coast. “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.”Incidentally, the cover of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine with Art’s “Snow Cut” story, features a gallery of EQMM’s esteemed review team by Tom Roberts. From left to right: John Dickson Carr, Allen J. Hubin, Anthony Boucher, Jon L. Breen, and as
Incidentally, the cover of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine with Art’s “Snow Cut” story, features a gallery of EQMM’s esteemed review team painted by Tom Roberts. From left to right: John Dickson Carr, Allen J. Hubin, Anthony Boucher, Jon L. Breen, and as conductor, Howard Haycraft. This issue marked the last regular installment of the review column “The Jury Box” by Jon L. Breen, who would hand the gavel to Steve Steinbock for June 2011.
EQMM Aug. 2009 included Art Taylor’s “A Voice from the Past,” which he spoke about in this excerpt from his interview in The Digest Enthusiast book four:
“I wrote about half of my story ‘A Voice from the Past’ and then put it aside for several years, not sure where to go next with it. When I returned to it with fresh eyes, I came up with ideas about the rest of the plot, what seemed suddenly not just right but maybe inevitable, given all the seeds I’d planted in the first half.”
Art’s “Parallel Play” from the Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warming anthology, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story in May 2017.
Award-winning author Art Taylor gave us a terrific interview for The Digest Enthusiast in book four. His story “The White Rose of Memphis” appeared in Fall 2011 edition of Needle Magazine.
Art summarizes the story on his website.
The last entry at the Needle Mag website is dated, but through the magic of the digital press, freshly minted back issues of Needle are still available through Lulu.com.
Crime fiction writer Art Taylor’s stories have appeared in quite a number of digest magazines. Foremost, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, but he also made his way into the special Crime issue of lit mag Barrelhouse, issue 10 in 2011, with an unsettling “Blue Plate Special.”
Read our extensive interview with award-winning author Art Taylor in The Digest Enthusiast book four.
Speaking about real life events, Art Taylor shared a few memorable incidents drawn upon for his stories like the one that appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2009:
AT: “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those* are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.
*Art mentions several others in his full interview that appears in The Digest Enthusiast book four.
EQMM Dec. 1995
“My first paid publication, however, was my first story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine—“Murder on the Orient Express” (December 1995)—a story that wasn’t originally intended as a mystery at all. Instead, it focusses on a couple honeymooning aboard the Orient Express and fumbling along a little from mishap to mishap, while the husband builds stories in his mind about the other passengers—all of it imaginary, fueled by the spirit of Christie’s novel of the same name. The story is about that imagination and how imagination suddenly helps the new marriage click, and— spoiler alert—ultimately there’s no real crime in the story at all.”
Excerpt from the 14-page interview with Art Taylor in The Digest Enthusiast book four.