Spotlight on BAIPA Members – By Linda Jay Geldens
Pat Taylor is a retired neurosurgeon-turned-fantasy writer.
His latest book, The Martian Pendant, is an intriguing mix of Neanderthals, Martians who landed in Africa in a spaceship eons ago, a British archaeologist/Grace Kelly lookalike, and hair-raising flights and chases around the world by academic researchers attempting to escape villainous enemies.
Pat’s lifelong fascination with science, aircraft, flying, and space travel — fired by reading as a kid about Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, and stories by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds) inspired Pat Taylor to “spin a yarn embodying most of my interests in a science-fiction thriller” — The Martian Pendant.
Pat is also working on another novel; this one is for teenagers and involves astronomy, shamanism and the evolution of a Neolithic society. His grandkids say their imaginations are already fired up to read this action-packed story when it’s finished.
In May 2013 Pat published Wings of Love and War, a historical/biographical novel based on the life of his older brother Phillip — “the golden boy of our large family, the son with so much promise” who was killed in Germany as a B17 Bombardier during World War II. This month, the novel was awarded a Pinnacle Achievement Award as the best work of fiction.
And, in a completely different book category…Pat is thinking of publishing a small book about a subject he knows well: port wine. He has won so many awards for making zinfandel port wine at his Taylor Vineyard, located in the Dry Creek Valley northwest of Geyserville, many consider him an authority on the subject.
“Writing is now my principal hobby,” Pat says, a hobby that he has time to pursue, now that he’s only spending one day a week in the San Francisco neurosurgery practice he’s had for forty years.
Born in 1926 in Los Angeles, Pat and his five siblings grew up in the San Fernando Valley; “the Great Depression in 1932 took its toll on the family’s coffers, but my Dad was an ace salesman for Metropolitan Life, and my Mom was an expert seamstress who made drapes and gowns to sell, so we kept a roof over our heads.” The summer before graduating from North Hollywood High, Pat worked as a riveter’s helper, building B-17 bombers. “That earned me enough to buy my first car.”
Pat went into the USAAF pilot training program in 1944, and then served as a medic the following year in Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin. He studied pre-med at USC on the G.I. Bill, and earned his M.D. at the University of Chicago, where he met his wife Eivor, then a grad student in psychology and an alumna of Northwestern and the Medill School of Journalism. Pat returned to California, to the UCLA neurosurgical program, spent a year at London’s National Hospital, and taught neurosurgery at the University of Florida.
Pat and his wife Eivor have three grown children and six grandchildren, the oldest three still in college. They have lived in Sausalito since 1961. “I’ve written about 200 pages about my life, which I might make into a memoir. And I have four unpublished short-short stories in the medical science-fiction genre. There isn’t enough time in days of just 24 hours to write everything I want to write. Maybe Martian days, though?”
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