Wednesday, 12 August 2015

#Welcome Wednesday - Revolution Day by T.E.Taylor

Today's #Welcome Wednesday interview is about Juanita. 

Juanita's not a Crooked Cat author as many of my guests are, but she has been created by one. Juanita is a fascinating character from Revolution Day, written by my good friend Tim Taylor.
It's brilliant to have a different sort of interview on the blog and I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting Juanita - if you've not yet read this excellent novel by Tim.  Of course, this would be a great time to buy the novel since it's one of the Crooked Cat titles offered at the incredibly low price of 99p from 8th-15th August, 2015. 

Please read on and you'll find my 5 * review of Revolution Day- just completed this morning. 

Welcome Tim... and Juanita! 

Hello, Nancy! Thank you very much for inviting me onto your blog to talk about Juanita, one of the central characters of my latest novel, Revolution Day (published by Crooked Cat on 30 June).

Is Juanita a fictional or a historic person?

Juanita is the estranged wife of ageing dictator Carlos Almanzor. They are both entirely fictional, although they do share attributes with historical characters. Juanita in particular has quite a lot in common with Eva Peron (wife of 20th century Argentinian president Juan Peron): her feminism, her glamour, her early political career alongside her husband. I didn’t consciously base her on Eva – the similarities occurred to me afterwards – though perhaps there was a subconscious influence there. But whereas Eva died young, Juanita is now in her sixties.

When and where is the story set?

In a fictional, unnamed Latin American country. The main narrative is set in the present, but it is interspersed with excerpts from a memoir Juanita is writing, which looks back on previous decades. In it, Juanita recalls her turbulent marriage to Carlos; his rise to power; and how his regime, after idealistic beginnings, slowly descended into autocracy and repression.

What should we know about Juanita?

She has been under house arrest for over fifteen years, following a disastrous personal and political split from her husband. Her whole life is now contained within the boundaries of her house, which she has been allowed to leave only twice, for family funerals, leaving her lonely and often depressed. Juanita is not without friends, however: her imprisonment has become a cause celebre for opponents of Carlos’s regime.

What's the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Well, Juanita’s life is already pretty messed up (see above) – although it will get worse! The central conflict of the novel is between Carlos and his Vice-President, Manuel Jimenez – although Carlos does not know this!

Manuel is frustrated by his subordinate position, and when his attempts to increase his profile are met with humiliating rejection he resolves to make his own bid for power. But he has no means of doing so by force, since Angel, the commander of the Army, is loyal to Carlos. So he resorts instead to intrigue, using the resources at his disposal as Minister of Information to manipulate the perceptions of Carlos and those around him.

As Manuel begins to pull the strings, Juanita will become unwittingly involved in his plans. 

What's Juanita's personal goal?

She hopes that Carlos will eventually step down, release her and allow free and fair elections to take place. Juanita is not optimistic about this and fears that her imprisonment will not end until one of them dies. But she knows that Carlos is not a monster, however much he has become corrupted and deluded by power. She loved him once, and sometimes wonders whether he ever really loved her.

Where can we read more about the novel? 

Revolution Day has its own page on my website, where you can read more about the characters and the story, excerpts from the novel and its first Amazon reviews.!revday/cwpf

Those interested in historical fiction might also like to check out my first novel, Zeus of Ithome, which follows the true-life struggle of the Messenians to free themselves from three centuries of slavery under the Spartans.!zeus-of-ithome/cb7u

Until 15 August e-books of both novels are currently reduced to 99p/$1.54 as part of the Crooked Cat Summer Sale, as are lots of other great Crooked Cat books (including Nancy’s of course!).

Revolution Day on  RD on Amazon US:  

Zeus of Ithome on Amazon UK
ZI on Amazon US

 About Tim:
Tim was born in 1960 in Stoke-on-Trent. He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford (and later Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London). After a couple of years playing in a rock band, he joined the Civil Service, eventually leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing.

Tim now lives in Yorkshire with his wife and daughter and divides his time between creative writing, academic research and part-time teaching and other work for Leeds and Huddersfield Universities.
Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome, a historical novel about the struggle of the ancient Messenians to free themselves from Sparta, was published by Crooked Cat in November 2013; his second, Revolution Day in June 2015.  Tim also writes poetry and the occasional short story, plays guitar, and likes to walk up hills.


I've just completed reading Revolution Day and here are my thoughts on the novel, a similar review just posted on Amazon:

This was another great story from T.E. Taylor. Though a contemporary novel, it had a feeling of being of a historical throughout as memories of past decades unfold. Different viewpoints are skilfully interwoven as the roles of the characters in the current drama are revealed. The scenario of a young revolutionary being thrust into the prime position of authority, in a fictitious South American country a little short of forty years ago, seems very credible—even when that particular person hasn’t actually been angling to be ‘top dog’.  The penalty dished out to Juanita, around seventeen years before the outset of the novel, was harsh but could easily have been much worse. Juanita’s an interesting character who gains some of my sympathy and though her plight is unenviable, it’s clear that people can adapt to the conditions in which they live. Carlos Almanzor, on the other hand, is quite a complex character to truly like. As the dictatorial autocrat, his word rules and blame for wrong decisions has to be accepted- which he does. However, it’s also very credible that in such an environment corruption destroys even the most visionary of idealists like Carlos. The other players in drama have more influence than Carlos reveals.

I found myself unable to guess the actual ending to the dilemma and read the final pages with bated breath. The fate of the country is definitely in the balance!

I enjoyed T.E. Taylor’s style of writing, heavy on the narrative in his first novel, and was pleased to see Revolution Day was similar. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you for sharing Juanita with us today, Tim. Best wishes with your future writing!   


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