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:
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I had an unpublished novel that somebody got to [TV writer-producer] Steve Cannell, who was running “The Rockford Files.”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.