Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Goat Lips" by Matthew Taylor

Goat Lips:
Tales of a Lapsed Englishman
by Matthew Taylor

Author Matthew Taylor joins us today for an interview about his memoir Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman. You can also read my review and an excerpt from the book.

Goat Lips delivers a thought-provoking romp through a lapsed Englishman's life, who - after a quarter century of living in the United States - realized he'd neglected to renew his subscription to England.
Matthew's relentless wit and insight is front and center as we bounce between England and the United States, experiencing one hilarious, and sometimes poignant, tale after another - from escaping the clutches of the law to the pain and joy of parenthood, discovering the dangers of real ale and the agony of not being heard, whilst savoring a fiery dessert, the glamour of show business, the awkwardness of nakedness, and the utter wrongness of a Jesus piñata!
His ability to question the assumptions of everyday life with a wry grin, tender touch, and a twinkle in his kind eyes makes Matthew's tales endlessly entertaining. You'll want to read them more than once and even share them aloud with others in your best English accent.
Gold Winner in Humor at National IPPY Book Awards
Silver Medals in Memoir & Illustration at CIPA EVVY Book Awards
Finalist in Humor at USA Book Awards
Finalist in Humor at
Indy Excellence Awards

Excerpt from Chapter 2 - "A Run in the Dark"
As I entered into my forty-sixth second of running across a sandbar, naked with total strangers, two things became very clear to me. First, the old sentimental ballad “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” bore absolutely no relationship to this evening. The full moon hanging majestically in the perfectly clear sky was acting more like a large, unforgiving halogen lamp. Sadly, visibility was not a problem.
Second, jiggling. At first I became acutely aware of my own jiggle. And as I looked around to see if anybody noticed, it was impossible not to notice other people’s jiggles. Of course, noticing their jiggles meant they were surely noticing mine. With no end in immediate sight, still running at full speed, I attempted to use my hand as a jiggle stopper. It slowed me down, but some form of restriction was oddly comforting. I glanced at my companion and she too had resorted to a similar tactic in an effort to conceal her jiggling areas.
We were now a good hundred yards into the reservoir at a grand old depth of twelve inches. Our sprint had turned into more of a weak jog. When we finally hit thirteen inches, I decided it was good enough for me. I came to a slow, grinding halt and slid my humbled body down into its thirteen inches of coverage. Others followed my lead and soon all of us were lying flat on our backs on the silt with our heads stuck up at right angles.
The water was cold, the moon bright. We were at least three hundred feet from shore. There was no talking. It appeared all of us were too focused on the return journey to fully enjoy this special moment. I looked across the chilled surface towards my girlfriend. Our eyes met. We both shivered. She smiled weakly back at me and without a single word spoken, we broke up.

Book Video
You can also check out Matthew Taylor himself reading the above excerpt from "A Run in the Dark".

Praise for the Book
"Matthew is hilariously nimble with a pen, and he brings a fresh relatability to his prose. Charming, conversational and breezy, Goat Lips is a fun romp." ~ Heather Hach Hearne, Screenwriter, Freaky Friday, Tony nominated Best Book of a Musical, Legally Blonde the Musical
"Matthew Taylor’s short essays are much more than mere entertainment. They are each a guide on how to deftly (and humorously) maneuver life’s persistent questions and quandaries, all the while instructing you to – above all – smile, relax and enjoy every moment." ~ Mollie O’Brien, Grammy Award-Winning singer/Recording Artist
"... witty, deeply poignant in some cases, and highly entertaining. There are no missteps amongthese well-written stories." ~ Blue Ink Review

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
This book is very cleverly structured. The stories are not in chronological order, although there is a "map" at the beginning of the book giving the order of the events. From the first story, explaining the origin of the book's title, the author sets the tongue-in-cheek tone. You just know you're going to be in for a fun ride. The book covers such varied topics as Matthew's first car, scattering his mother's ashes, how he proposes to his wife, fulfilling his mother's dying wish, his time as a disc jockey, and the time he was running late for a hockey match. At the end, we come full circle and discover what happens after the first story. A very neat conclusion. Cute black-and-white illustrations at the beginning of each chapter add a whimsical touch.
While many of the stories of Matthew's youth revolve around drinking, many of the later ones feature funny things his children say. Despite the humor, there are also a number of sobering and touching stories. There are also some beautiful descriptive passages. We see Matthew in all of his personas, as young larrikin Matthew, son Matthew, friend Matthew, boyfriend Matthew, husband Matthew, and father Matthew. By the end of the book you'll feel like you actually know him.
Some of my favorite stories: "Carpool", "Popping the Question", "Surprise Party", and "Guess What's in Your Pocket".
An absolute pleasure to read. With its dry wit, humor, and laugh-out-loud moments, you'll need to be careful where you are when you're reading this book.

Interview With the Author
Today we welcome Matthew Taylor, who joins me today to discuss his memoir, Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman.
Matthew, for what age group do you recommend your book?
Anyone over 15.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’ve told stories all my life and this is a compilation of those. Linda, my creative partner at A.C.E. Entertainment started bugging me about writing all my stories down.
I'm glad she did. What was the hardest part to write in this book? 
The first stories I wrote were the three about my mother’s death. And it was extremely cathartic and really the catalyst for putting the stories on paper. Naturally, it was hard as well to write those first stories dealing with my mother’s death.
How do you hope this book affects its readers? 
As with any story it’s never really the story you are really hearing that you are truly interested in. It’s your own story that is triggered and pulled out of your long-term memory that you are really connected to. I hope my stories help people to remember their own stories.
In chapter 8 you state that, "with a real-life story, the details cannot be changed. There is nothing I can do but tell the truth." Now tell me the real truth. Is it all real, or have some of the accounts been embellished for our amusement? For example, the events in "Surprise Party". Seriously?
My favorite quote from David Sedaris when asked a similar question was, "They are true enough."
I have always felt that I can easily tell when a story is based in truth and honesty and when it is fiction. Slight embellishment is part of the joy of storytelling for both the listener and the teller, but in my opinion should never over shadow the truth. "Surprise Party" is an excellent example.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Ten years.
Okay ... What is your writing routine? 
Obviously not great, considering it took ten years to write this book! I usually have to link writing to a performance, so I produced a show called Happy Hour Story Time once a month, and I would promise to read two new stories at each show. So ten minutes before each show I would be frantically scribbling notes and editing stories.
How did you get your book published?
I hired an editor, Donna Martizelli, for a final edit and, after she was working with the stories, she contacted me and explained that she had a small press and was interested in publishing my book. I said, "Does that mean that I don’t have to do anything?" She said, "Yes." So I agreed.
As you would. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Have fun writing. Write about things you know and don’t quit.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Spend time with my wife Susan and kids, Maitland and Alastair. Bike, ski, and sail. Surround myself with the Arts.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are pleased that the stories have made it into print so they can be enjoyed by so many people. It’s a brand new world and the people they are meeting are fun and interesting. How else would my wife get to hang out with a live goat?
True. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in a tiny south coast sailing village in England called Itchenor. I played lots of sports especially field hockey, rugby, soccer and sailing. I was the youngest of three kids. I had two older sisters, Isobel and Jessica, and so was naturally very spoiled.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
My mom, Sylvia would be stunned that I have a book out that has won awards. I remember distinctly going to Mrs. Rivers for remedial reading and writing every Tuesday and Thursday for years and years through high school. I still struggle today. (In fact, I’m dictating these answers to my darling wife as she types the answers ...)
[Hang on, you can't tell people that. We're supposed to be chatting.]
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As Linda continued to badger me, I started to realize how nice it would be to have a written record of my tales. Previously, the vast majority of my work was improvised, so it only lived in the moment and in the minds of the few people who shared that experience.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Absolutely. In fact, every experience influences my writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
David Sedaris is really the poster child of personal narratives, and I love Bill Bryson who I would dream to emulate in some way in my own writing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? 
All of the time. I have had the pleasure of being a guest author for several speaking events and book clubs. They usually tell me about their own stories, which I love to hear.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
An audio book with my slightly pompous English accent. Some blogging, some new tales in a book hopefully before 2025, and perhaps a short book on how stories work, why they work, and simple tips to tell better stories.
Yes, I hope we don't have to wait another ten years! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Matthew, and for the opportunity to read your book. Best of luck with your future projects. You better get cracking!

About the Author
Matthew Taylor was transplanted to Colorado from the small sailing village of Itchenor, England. He has been a professional actor, improviser, storyteller, and humorist for the last twenty-five years, working throughout the United States and internationally.
He is a partner of A.C.E. Entertainment, which over the last fourteen years has written and produced over fifty original shows, and is currently touring their smash hit, Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women. Encouraged from the popularity of the A.C.E. show, Tales of an Englishman, Matthew continued to commit his stories to paper, which have now been compiled into the book, Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman.
Matthew has a long history of coaching theatre, storytelling, and the art of improvisation. He formed Persuasion through Narrative in 2010 to teach communication skills through the use of narrative and has quickly gained a strong reputation, especially within the legal profession and educational institutions. Matthew loves to bike, ski, sail, and is proud to be a husband and a father of two fabulous children (who continually keep him on his toes and laughing constantly).