First-time novelist Kyle S. Taylor strikes an interesting note right out of the gate with Fate’s Destiny, a new twist on the prospect of God and Satan coming to Earth in mortal form to war over the souls of humankind. We’ve seen the theme before with classic tales like Damn Yankees and The Devil and Daniel Webster as well as more recent turns such as Bruce Almighty and Bedazzled. Taylor, though, takes things to soulville.
The Creator, profoundly frustrated at the sinful mess
we’ve made of the world despite punishments — Noah’s great flood, warnings like Sodom and Gomorrah and more divine intervention — is scratching Her (yes, Her) celestial head wondering what to do about the steadily worsening state of things.
Meanwhile, Ol’ Scratch is having, you’ll pardon the pun, a devil of a good time, hunched on his perch way down below, delighting in the earth’s ruin, trying to figure out how he can drag people’s moral state still lower in his move to eventually take over everything and everyone. P.S. He still hasn’t given up his power-mad dream of dethroning God, returning the historic favor of having been kicked out of heaven.
All this hinges on three individuals: Sheldon, a teenager and a decent young fellow, skirting on the edge of guns and drug life. Ann, his mom, trying to make ends meet while contending with wastrel of a boyfriend who swipes the grocery money from her purse, and Winston a nice enough guy troubled by a tragic past. The three are selected by the Lord to confront their moral infirmities, essentially on trial for the sins of the world. Should they fall short and fail, that’s the whole ballgame — everybody everywhere is doomed.
Taylor has an engaging, off-hand style that fits the material well. Especially in the opening, depicted God as a parent at Her wits end dealing with the sadly wayward children She nonetheless loves. Asked about his influences, Taylor says, “I’ve been influenced by so many people across various genres, including Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, J.D. Salinger, Langston Hughes, and George Orwell. I also enjoy directors like Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, whose movies provoke thought. Then there are musical artists such as Janelle Monet, John Legend, Nas, and Kanye West who are remarkably talented with their lyrical wordplay, and narrative story-telling abilities.
“All of these artists have influenced me…with their work. They stand as examples that success can come from being unorthodox, not following trends, so long as you produce a quality product.” Why’d he write this? “I wish there was some intriguing story or deep philosophical reason, but in truth, the plot came to me randomly many years ago. I was in church listening to a sermon, and the speaker mentioned the words love, hope, and faith, and immediately a plot sprang within my head.
“My mind crafted this story around those three words. I’ve always had the story in my head, it just took much discipline on my part to find the time to write it. While various elements of the plot have changed since its conception, the essential part of the story surrounding the main characters has virtually remained the same. I do feel, however, that it is a story that is relatable to everyone.”
Taylor is presently keeping himself busy by “working on a few short stories, one of which involves someone finding the fountain of youth but not getting what he expected.” Considering his approach to Fate’s Destiny, it should be pretty good.
Kyle Taylor is a 2001 graduate of Loyola Blakefield High School in Towson, MD, and graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore in 2005 with a B.A. in English/Journalism. He has a professional background in communications and journalism, and has had articles published in several newspapers including The Baltimore Sun, The Afro American Newspaper, The Baltimore Times, and The Baltimore Business Journal. Visit http://www.kylestaylor.blogspot.com/ for more information.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.