Taylor Elliott: Writer
First off, could you introduce yourself for our readers?
Hi there! I’m Taylor, I write Ariadne Moore/Chess Mistress Hex. What’s shakin’, Internet?
So you've been part of 10kd for a long time, how did you first get involved in this endeavor?
Jim was running a tabletop RPG, the one the 10kd universe has spun off from, back at college, and most of our mutual friends were playing every Saturday night. I was asked if I’d be interested in playing and, while I was hesitant to devote every Saturday to a tabletop game, I agreed to come in as a one-shot villain — specifically one that had originally appeared briefly in a story Jordan had written for the universe. I went into the game with every intention of Hex dying, but not only did she survive, she managed to ROYALLY mess with the entire party during that particular campaign. It was so fun that a few weeks later I came back, and the next thing I knew I was spending every Saturday night as Hex, who was masquerading as a crew member named Leesa Nickelback to mess with the other players and generally wreak total havoc.
What's it been like developing the 10kd universe together?
Super fun! This is a universe we’ve had our feet in for 4-5 years now. It became such a big part of our lives and has been a really strong bond for all of us. It’s been so cool to take what was just a fun way for us to spend our Saturday nights together and see it grow into this big, new thing that other people can enjoy.
Some of your ideas (and characters) have made it into 10,000 Dawns: Serial, specially your character Chess Mistress Hex. Hhat was it like seeing them come to life under a different writer?
Really cool! It was fascinating to see how Jim understood Hex and the choices he made for her. Because she’s such a complex and secretive character I was involved with the editing process for the scenes she’s in, but Jim did such a great job with her that I really didn’t need to do much. It was so cool to see someone else bring her to life!
Now, you're a part of 10,000 Dawns: Anthology, which is set in the Prime Universe of 10,000 Dawns, featuring very different versions of some of these characters we've just met. Do you think readers will be surprised at what they'll see?
Oh absolutely! I think they’re going to be really floored by some of the differences and some of the adventures we have planned.
Can you tell us a little about what you're creating for 10kd: Anthology?
I am currently working on one project wherein we get to see a much younger Hex. I think it’s going to be really interesting for everyone to see her before she became the Hex we all know her as, and I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring that chapter of her life. I’m also working on a joint project with Jordan involving Hex and his character. It’s something we’re both really excited about and I think the storyline is really going to shake up the universe!
Are there any prominent themes in your own writing?
I definitely play with some nontraditional character elements and questions of morality in my writing. I actually wrote my undergraduate thesis on antiheroes. I love writing characters who aren’t all good, but aren’t all bad either. I love making a reader really question whether a character is a protagonist or antagonist, and I think Hex is a really obvious example of this. While our lovely 10kd readers have good reason to believe Hex is a baddie, I don’t think any of my fellow writers on this project would really classify her as a villain.
What else do you do in your free time? Do you have any other hobbies or pursuits?
I am an event planner by day, a nanny by night, and help run a small press publisher, PlotForge, by twilight and early morning. In my free time, I cook, read, write, croon at my cat, watch way too much Netflix, and plan fabulous international adventures. Last summer I spent two weeks in Japan where, among other things, I got to cuddle some owls and scared the pants off a guy I’m pretty sure was a member of the Yakuza.
Chess Mistress Hex (aka Ariadne Moore) is such an intriguing, and mysterious character. Will we get to learn more about her?
Absolutely! The readers are going to be seeing more of her in the future. I don’t want to talk about her too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I am really excited for everyone to get to know her better and understand who she is and what she does.
If you could write about any 10kd character you haven't yet, who would it be and why?
Chrometeeth. Hands down. Any character who rocks a cute sundress and can rip out a jugular with her modified teeth is a character I need to be better friends with.
You played a big role in developing the criminal group “The Index” for 10kd, as well as their home of New Alexandria. What draws you to them so much?
The old adage that knowledge is power is honestly the inspiration there. We’re not the first group of storytellers to hit on this — it’s what made Sherlock (and his enemies, Moriarty and Magnussen) so potent and intriguing. Anyone can be powerful in the sense of having a formidable weapon or military at their disposal. It’s an entirely different type of might and, in my opinion, much more frightening type of might to wield intelligence and secrets. The Index just takes this concept to an interstellar scale. Imagine the combined secrets of all of these groups carefully collected and stored away for a rainy day. And imagine, if you will, how the Index is securing all of that information. Makes you feel like you can’t trust anyone, huh?
As for New Alexandria… I mean, my inner history and literature nerds just LOVE the idea of paying homage to the lost library of Alexandria in this way. And how cool is that setting for something like the Index?! They built a massive compound on an ice moon! Just for fun! Could have built it anywhere but no, they took a look at Europa and said, “Yeah, that seems like a really hospitable spot for the compound we’re going to blackmail the entire system from.” It’s just makes me nerd out in a big way.
If you could punch any 10kd character, who would it be and why?
Manuel Salazar. Hard, in the face. My inner Hex is too strong for me to give any other answer.
Is there Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Basically just cue up “The Best is Yet to Come” by Frank Sinatra, because that’s what we have coming down the pipe for you guys. Get excited. I know I am.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Taylor!