Writing=Freedom Dept. 2: TV Writer Film Writer to Novelist

What? Writing TV isn’t the be-all and end-all of literary satisfaction? Who’d a’thunk?

Why, David C. Taylor of ROCKFORD FILES, KOJAK, et al:

Freedom's just another word for...?

Freedom’s just another word for…?

by Ed Symkus

In David C. Taylor’s new noir thriller, “Night Life,” readers are introduced to Michael Cassidy, an NYPD detective with a strong belief in justice and a bad attitude toward bad guys.

Cassidy gets caught up in a nasty case involving torture, murder, mysterious photos and real-life figures, including FBI honcho J. Edgar Hoover, mobster Frank Costello, and notorious Communist hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Set in the early-Cold War era of 1954, “Night Life” also has stories about Cassidy’s immigrant father, a new love interest who may not be what she seems, and an affliction of bad dreams, some of which come true. No doubt, there’s a lot going on in Taylor’s first published novel, which he tackled after a lengthy career as a film and TV writer in Hollywood.

Taylor, 71, a longtime resident of Brookline, where he lives with his wife, Priscilla, recently spoke by phone from their second home in — get this — Brooklin, Maine.

Q: You’re from New York, you moved to L.A., and now you’re in Brookline. What brought you on that route?

A: My father was a writer in New York, and I wanted to write. He was very careful never to push me about it until after I had published a short story.

I went to Spain in 1971 because it was the cheapest place I could find in Europe to live, and I taught myself how to write short stories. I sold a couple of them, and then realized I was going to starve to death. My father suggested that I go out to Los Angeles for a couple of years. I was already married to Priscilla at that point. We were broke, so I took his advice, and I went out there and got lucky.

I had an unpublished novel that somebody got to [TV writer-producer] Steve Cannell, who was running “The Rockford Files.” He liked the novel, and he said, “Come on in and tell us a story. If we like it, we’ll give you a chance to write it.” So I went in with two completely worked-out stories, told them the first one, and they said, “Yeah that’s good, but we did that last year.” I told the second one they said, “That’s a good one, too; we’re doing that one this year.” I had a notion for a third one, so I told them that one, and they said, “That’s great. Go home and write it.” And soon I was freelancing for “Kojak” and a couple of others.

Read it all at Brookline Wicked Local