We got the chance to speak to Brandon Taylorian, author of Jesse Millette and The Phantom’s Curse, to find out what life is like as a 19 year old author, student and entrepreneur with a following of over 1.5 million.
"It takes only a strong One to change All" - Brandon Taylorian
Founder of The People’s Constitutional Company of Jesse Millette, Brandon Reece Taylor is better known by his professional name Brandon Taylorian. The author was told that his birth name was ‘too generic’ and that he needed something that would stand out a little more. Because of this, Brandon made the decision to drop his middle name and add ‘ian’ to his surname in order to create an utterly unique name.
Long before his writing career started, Brandon was born and grew up in Preston with his separated parents, two sets of grandparents and other family members whom he was extremely close to. He would spend many weekends with his grandparents (on his father’s side) playing with his cousins and going to church, as they were heavily Catholic. Brandon has 7 siblings (spread out on both sides of his family) who he tries and spends much of his free time with.
His family play a huge part in his inspirations, as Jesse Millette, the protagonist in his first novel, is Christian and also has divorced parents.
While at high school, Brandon found a great interest in Literature and even got the chance to see a Shakespeare play in Stradford-upon-Avon on a school trip, which fuelled his interest. During his time at Cardinal Newman College in Preston, Brandon furthered his studies and took English Literature and Language as A Levels alongside Media Studies and Geography.
It was here that the idea for his first novel started to develop, the origins of which are unpublished, but Brandon expanded and developed the idea throughout college and also during his first year at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Preston. At university, Brandon is currently studying Business and Marketing which “is definitely helping (him) in terms of the business and marketing side of books”. Working towards this degree helps him to “build a brand around (his) characters and books”. As well as helping with his brand, Brandon said that his degree is a great base as “business is everywhere, as is marketing” and having the knowledge on the two linked areas will help in in whatever he goes on to do in the future. Alongside this, Brandon is the marketing assistant at Hoghton Tower – a very busy life for a 19 year old! With regards to this, Brandon laughed as he explained how important it is for him to be organised. His Hoghton Tower work is often “left at the job” so he has time to focus on deadlines coming from university as well as constantly writing and coming up with new ideas for his book series. “An idea can come to you at anytime, wherever you are. I could be sat in a restaurant or on the train and an idea will come to me”. Unlike a marketing assistant, being an author isn’t something that you are able to leave at the office, ideas will be popping in and out of Brandon’s head wherever he is. “Writing isn’t just a job for me, it’s a lifestyle that I can’t shut out. It’s who I am”
"Think about the universe, and all we do not yet know, and feel excited for all the possibilities" - Brandon Taylorian
In the small amount of spare time that Brandon has, he likes to practice piano which he has enjoyed doing since a child. His musical interest started out when himself and his cousins had piano lessons on his grandparents’ baby grand, leading him on to attend the Heylings music school (Chorley). Now at the age of 19, Brandon has completed his grade 5 level exam as well as grade 4 music theory qualification (awarded by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – ABRSM). Still under the tuition of the Heylings music school, Brandon is now starting to compose his own pieces.
As mentioned, Brandon grew fond of writing and Literature in high school when he read mystery books (particular Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys) and but found gaps in the stories and decided it would be a great idea to create his own mystery character with a story that Brandon, himself, would enjoy reading. This initial idea came about when he was 15-years-old but it wasn’t until a year later that Brandon started writing the first book in the series. With a lot of deliberation, and “life getting in the way” Jesse Millette and The Phantom’s Curse was published in 2017 after three years of hard work.
We asked Brandon what these three years consisted of for anybody wanting to begin writing a book and his advice was to firstly come up with a very basic idea for a plot followed by a title. He said, “the title leads you on to develop the idea further” making you think about the different concepts that can be taken from just a couple of words. Each book and each author is different but Brandon told us he prefers to write his books in the format of 20 chapters, which regiments the story, and helps give him a structure when writing. Once this structure is in place, Brandon usually writes a page of notes for each chapter to build the story up more. This technique gives him structure and helps him to play around with how the story will unfold, making it easier to plan, rather than jumping in at chapter one with no clear ideas.
Many authors base their characters and settings on people and places that they know and Brandon is no different. Rather than basing any of his characters directly on one person, he uses “a mix of people” to create them – taking pieces of their personalities and characteristics. Aforementioned, the protagonist in his first book has separated parents just like Brandon himself. Linking his own personal life to his characters’ makes it easier for him to give a more accurate description of how the character would deal with different issues as Brandon has dealt with them first hand. As well as this, the author told us that Jesse Millette and The Phantom’s Curse is set in London, a place that “I love to go to”. “The first chapter is set on the tube which is so atmospheric and there’s so much going on”. Similarly to basing your characters on people you know, setting your book in a place that you’ve been makes the writing easier and more accurate.
Previously mentioned, Brandon currently works at Hoghton Tower, which gives him a lot of inspiration. Due to his interest being mainly mystery books, an old manor house is perfect for intricate setting details that he can include in his work.
As well as the advice of writing about places you yourself have visited to make the process easier, we asked Brandon if he had any more advice for young writers like himself. Without hesitation, he told us that reading other people’s work is the best thing that any writer could do. “You could end up picking up a group of words that you like that you wouldn’t have used before”. Brandon stressed that this does not mean copying another writer’s work, simply reading for inspiration and for improvement. “Everybody writes differently and everybody has their own style so by reading someone else’s work, you can adapt it to your personal style”.
Something else that Brandon mentioned is that “writing is subjective” and if one person didn’t like something you wrote, that’s okay because someone else will.
For now, Brandon will continue to explore the character of Jesse Millette and the brand surrounding that series, as “there is still so much to expand on”. Despite this, he is very excited to delve into different genres to appeal to a variety of readers.
Unbelievably, the amount of work Brandon currently has going on isn’t enough! He also has a great interest in philosophy and would love to combine two of his passions and do more philosophical writing in the future – hopefully appealing to a more adult audience.
Make sure you look out for Brandon Taylorian’s first novel Jesse Millette and the Phantom’s Curse and the following novels in the series coming soon.
"Then came the time to let the world, into my world" - Brandon Taylorian
Article first featured in June 18 issue in the magazine.