Kyle will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and as a special prize, Kyle's previous book, Billion Dollar Dreamer , will be given away free on Amazon the last day of the tour.
Thank you for hosting Exposition! I saw you love the Paris Exposition—I hope you enjoy this novel, which set during the construction of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Oh, Kyle, I love that! And I admit, it stems from my reading Devil in the White City. Most excellent book. I'll definitely check out your Exposition.
What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?
I think of Exposition as a PG13 film—although there are one or two scenes in the middle of the book which are more explicit. I like to think of my books as story driven. If certain scenes require more sensual scenes, I put them in. For this novel, it felt right to do cinematic sorts of love-making scenes, where I lead you into things, but I want your imagination to fill in the gaps.
How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?
Let me tell you! Doing what we do during the day and then transporting our minds into creating a different world and writing about it when we’re dog-tired is quite a trick! I have a lot of discipline and tend to set a novel up over the course of a year. I research in late fall and early winter. Then, I will put together an outline in February and start the actual writing in spring and summer when I have more time to let my imagination run free. Sometimes you think to yourself, if only folks knew the zany lives we lead—and that we can focus enough to put a novel together! It’s crazy!
What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?
I like to create flawed heroes who aren’t all good. Benjamin Wyatt has so much going for him—a handsome, talented, young architect working at the prestigious firm of Burnham and Root, born into a wealthy family. But he has a certain entitled arrogance—plus, a nasty thorn in his side he just can’t pull out. I think flawed characters add humanity to the story. They are much more interesting.
What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?
I hope I have a good sense of character and dialogue. I want internal voices to have an honesty to them. Because I write a great deal for architectural magazines, I think I also bring an ability to describe spaces, which can be very challenging.
Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
At the end of writing a novel, you think the job is complete, but then it is really just beginning. I love doing blog tours for books. I have a web page where I post things (www.billiondollardreamer.com), but really, to tweet every inane thought that comes into one’s head—I don’t want to hear my own thoughts sometimes—I don’t want to inflict my thoughts on others every ten seconds. Kyle Taylor has a Facebook page, and I do things like create book trailers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xvW01V732E). I’m thinking these days it’s all about how you set up key search words though, so your book pops up on Amazon, etc.
What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?
Roger Ebert was right—books reveal more about the author than they even realize. Writing a book is like writing a dream—you get to work out all of your inner passions, anxieties, conflicts on the page. I was wondering the other day, if characters we write aren’t just manifestations of various aspects of our personalities.
If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?
I’ve been fortunate to travel a great deal. When the characters of Exposition travel to Paris or Saint Petersburg, Russia, I feel comfortable writing about them because I’ve been there.
I love Rome and even though no book I’ve conceived has needed to go there, I would love to return just to let my creative juices flow.
Any fun facts about the research for your book?
A lot of the dialogue is from the real characters. In scenes featuring Daniel Burnham or Louis Sullivan, many of their lines were actually uttered by them. I assembled files of quotes from their letters or other public accounts and threaded the lines into the story. I love doing that! I love putting in little historic details. For example, I found there were these sisters who were sensational dress makers in Paris at the time of the story who influenced Coco Chanel (Callot Soeurs). Pivotal scenes take place inside and outside their shop. New inventions like the electric light bulb, bicycles, and the primitive automobile all make appearances. Each page has these bits and pieces of authenticity. I like to include notes at the end of my books so people learn more about the history of the time and see what was fact vs. fiction.
Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!
I was initially inspired to write Exposition after an interview I had with a former apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. In a gentlemanly sort of way, he revealed the hidden world of gay apprentices working for Wright. That stayed with me for some time. Then, I was working on another magazine piece about the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, and the two ideas fused in my mind. The first ‘starchitects’ who worked on the fair were a rather randy bunch of men! What their underlings’ lives must have been like, I wondered.
Couple these notions with a personal desire to write a lush, period epic featuring gay characters and it all fell into place in my mind.
Exposition is a romantic love story, which is set in the midst the unprecedented design and construction of this massive, world’s fair. There are all sorts of juxtapositions—the opulent, gilded lives of the Wyatt clan versus the seedy brothels of South Dearborn Street where Benjamin Wyatt’s lover, Spencer Bowles lives. There was something so audacious and scandalous about the time. It was the perfect setting for an Exposition.
Meet Benjamin Wyatt, a handsome young architect helping create the magnificent 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. While immersed in work at the famous architectural firm of Burnham and Root, Benjamin’s pugnacious, social climbing father, Walter Wyatt, pushes him to marry the stunningly beautiful debutante, Evelyn Van Buren—thus securing the family’s position in Chicago society. Yet, when Benjamin meets the cocky young electrical engineer, Spencer Bowles, who is also working on the fair, his world and its ambitions are forever shattered.
Set amidst the opulent splendor of Chicago in the late Victorian Age, Benjamin Wyatt must confront the perils of accepting his own true love and risk destroying everything he worked so hard to achieve. Meticulously researched and filled with lush images of the Gilded Age, Exposition, tells the epic story of a love that dare not speak its name…
Benjamin strode forcefully forward, amidst a sea of black carriages, his fit muscles instinctively tensing from the biting cold. He just departed the First Presbyterian Church attending the funeral of his late boss, John Wellborn Root. Ben chose to sit with his young colleagues from Root’s firm, one row behind the clean shaven, thick neck of his other boss, Daniel Burnham. The ground was too frozen to disturb and the day too foul to host a gravesite, burial service and so attendees fled to the warmth of the heavy, woolen blankets and hot water bottles of their carriages.
Benjamin had never seen so many elegant carriages assembled all at once. They packed the block surrounding the church. It looked as if all of Chicago attended the funeral of the great man. He strode through the midst of livery nostrils blasting steam and lit, polished brass, carriage lanterns hopelessly attempting to illuminate the dark day.
“Benjamin!” a voice called out from the flurries. “Benjamin Wyatt!” Benjamin turned to see from where the voice was coming. The door of a coach opened and a hand reached out gesturing for him to come inside. He hopped into the carriage, placing himself on the velvet, burgundy tufted seat. He was surprised when he saw sitting across from him, not his parents, but architect Louis Sullivan and a young man whom he did not recall meeting before.
“Mister Sullivan! I beg your pardon sir, but I thought this was my father’s carriage,” Benjamin said in a surprised tone. The two met on several occasions in the past. There was something about Louis Sullivan’s demeanor which always made him uncomfortable.
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