Catching up with an old friend

Anna Duszkiewicz

Former all editor takes on the world of writing

Bob Taylor has always wanted to write a book. He has also always wanted to be a movie director, a movie scriptwriter and a television show producer. He considers himself to be a multi-faceted person.

Taylor has been an alumnus for less than a year, and he hasn’t wasted a minute of that time.

The former all editor has been busy mingling with famous Hollywood scriptwriters, promoting his first novel on a book tour, as well as writing a second novel, a television show script and an award-winning play. And he doesn’t intend to slow down anytime soon.

A passion for writing

Taylor, who graduated from Kent State with a degree in journalism last December, said he has always wanted to write a book. But he didn’t realize it would happen so soon.

During his junior year of college, Taylor began writing what he thought would be a short story.

“There was one semester when I was editing Artemis magazine, the all section and I had 17 credit hours, and so I thought, ‘Hmm, let’s write a book to keep me sane,'” he said.

Taylor said he set aside time to write when he was stressed out.

“On the nights that I would get home and say ‘Oh, my God I have like 15,000 things to do,’ I would just take 20 minutes (to write), and the 20 minutes would turn into two hours,” Taylor said with a smile.

The short story became a novel, which he finished in four months. He submitted his work to about 25 publishers, and before he knew it, he had a book deal with AuthorHouse.

“It really happened a lot faster than I thought it would,” he said. “I was as shocked as anyone else.”

His book, “Adrift: A Novel,” was published during his senior year, in the fall of 2007.

Taylor said about 17,000 copies have been sold, which is enough for him to support himself on.

The novel is a coming-of-age story about Aaron Adams, a 23-year-old college graduate who is bored with his life after college. When his mother dies, Adams reexamines his life and realizes he doesn’t want to live in monotonous Nyack, New York. He moves to Tuscany to start a new life, embarking on a path to self-discovery.

Taylor said the storyline had no direct connection to his life.

“My mother’s alive,” Taylor said. “She’s at home right now, making cookies.”

Taylor is about three-quarters of the way finished with his second novel.

It’s not a sequel to Adrift, although Taylor uses one of the first novel’s characters.

Taylor said he likes the book he’s writing now better than his first one. He said it’s about twice the length of Adrift, and it’s much darker.

“It’s bigger in every way,” he said proudly.

Taylor went on a book tour to promote Adrift last spring.

“It was a very small tour,” he said. “It wasn’t at these big venues. It was mostly like Ma and Pop stores.”

He said it was probably the most interesting thing he’s done since he graduated.

“It was one of those experiences where you actually learn a lot about yourself,” he said.

He said he was humbled by the letters he received after the tour from people who had been touched by his book.

In the letters, some people wrote that they have experienced loss like the novel’s main character, and Taylor’s book helped them cope with their grief.

Taylor also wrote a play called “Falling Away.” It took him two weeks to write. He submitted the script to the Annual Writer’s Digest Competition and won first place out of about 17,000 people. He had never submitted anything before.

Taylor said Aury Wallington, a woman who has written for “Sex and the City” and “Veronica Mars,” judged his play.

“It was so random,” he said. “They called me when I was coming back from New York after seeing some shows on Broadway. I yanked over two lanes of traffic, got out of the car and did the jig on the freeway. I was like, ‘Woo!’ I was really excited.”

Comic book connections

Taylor prides himself in being a “comic book geek.”

“I’m not crazy, crazy like a stinky, obese comic book geek guy, but I do love it,” he said.

Taylor writes a weekly interview column for a comic book Web site, He said he got a lot of television and media contacts through writing these columns.

Taylor has been in contact with Allan Heinberg, a writer for “Grey’s Anatomy.” Heinberg has also written for “The O.C.”

“He was actually one of my first interviews way back when, and he decided to keep in contact with me,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he is good friends with Joseph “Jeph” Loeb, an Emmy-nominated executive producer of “Heroes” who used to work for “Lost.” Taylor said their friendship began when he sent Loeb fan mail.

“He sent some back, and we just started a rapport,” he said.

The surreal life

Taylor said he feels very blessed.

“Sometimes I’m just like, ‘Why are all these wonderful things happening to me?'” he said. “It’s absolutely surreal.”

But he also said even though he’s accomplished a lot, there is a lot more he can accomplish as well.

Kent State alumna Marisa Styles has been friends with Taylor for almost 10 years. They went to Archbishop Hoban high school in Akron together, and Styles said they are best friends.

She said she always knew he would be successful.

“He’s been talking about being a movie producer and film director since the day I met him, pretty much,” Styles said.

Styles said Taylor’s personality will help him succeed. She described him as outgoing, confident, bold and very energetic.

“He’s very personable and caring,” she said. “That comes off immediately when you meet him. I think it will help people relate to him and want to get to know him better.”

What the future holds

Taylor’s next endeavor is graduate school. He recently applied to the University of California, Los Angeles to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting.

In the meantime, Taylor is going to California next week to visit the sets of some famous television shows. He hopes to visit the set of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and

NBC’s “Heroes.”

Taylor doesn’t have just one specific goal for the future, though.

“I literally want to try my hand at everything,” he said.

He said he wants to produce three to four television shows, direct a movie and write scripts and books.

“There are certain things you can only do in books, just like there are certain things you can only do on TV and certain things you can do on film,” Taylor said. “So, I think that it’s a really great opportunity to just explore every single facet of it.”

Taylor said he still wants to be a journalist.

“I think it would be vastly interesting for someone who’s pseudo-famous or runs a television show to write news articles,” he said.

Overall, Taylor said he would try anything once.

“I’m up for anything, really,” he said. “I’m one of those people who would basically be happy doing anything, as long as it’s done well and I’m proud of it.

“I don’t have that goal where once I achieve it, I can die,” he said. “I am happy doing a plethora of things. In fact, I want to do a plethora of things. At 23, I hopefully have another 60 good years to do it.”

Contact features editor and guest all correspondent Anna Duszkiewicz at [email protected].