Taylor Kingsbury, a University of La Verne alumnus, has released his first book. Titled “Les Fables,” the novel is a collection of horror stories with a twist of illustrated drawings that has the possibility of becoming a TV series.
“We’re in talks with a television producer and he is interested in developing ‘Les Fables’ as an episodic TV series,” Kingsbury said.
Written by Kingsbury and illustrated by graphic artist Aaron Martinez, the book features 24 illustrated horror stories in all.
The idea behind the novel was to create something like “The Twilight Zone” with a pizazz of classic horror stories that are gruesome and disturbing, Kingsbury said.
ULV alumnus Taylor Kingsbury wrote a horror novel titled “Les Fables.” “I'm so excited about the book coming out,” Kingsbury said. “I've been writing the novel on and off since 2001.” “Les Fables” was published in April.
The title “Les Fables” means “the stories” in French.
“It’s incredible. The first time I held the book in my hands I wanted to cry. I finally finished and accomplished something,” Kingsbury said. “I was always doing journalism so it was like you write a story and it is printed a week later and then you move on to something else. This is the biggest body of work I’ve ever undertaken.”
Kingsbury and Martinez started working together about five years ago. When they had six to seven stories done, they worked on getting their piece into the public’s eye. Together they brainstormed ideas to add music to the story, which they believe adds a modern twist.
The stories focus more on human atrocities than supernatural occurrences, Kingsbury said. They are not time- or place-specific; the characters could exist anywhere at anytime, he added.
ULV students will be familiar with the surroundings in the novel, particularly one spot.
“I feel that it makes it a little scarier to the reader; it could happen in your own town,” Kingsbury said. “La Verne students will recognize that Nick’s Place is in a few of the stories because Nick’s is the dirtiest bar I know.”
Kingsbury and Martinez ordered a copy of their self-published book before they started advertising. Then they gave out 15 copies to friends and family asking for help on the grammar and finally they worked on the illustrations. Once they were happy with it, they posted it at www.lulu.com.
“We’re really proud of it. I don’t think anyone can realistically say that it sucks,” Kingsbury said. “The artwork is beautiful and the stories are well crafted, so it just comes down to whether you like being scared or not.”
Kingsbury’s high school buddy Martinez is now living in Portland, Ore., and is proud of the work they have accomplished over the years.
“It took a while but it’s done. We started it back in 2001 with an idea while drinking some beers ..., ‘Hell, let’s do a book,’” Martinez said. “When I first saw the book I was excited.”
The finished product was very time-consuming and it took a lot of dedication and hard work, they said.
“It was basically a proof we had to check it over and proof the layout and adjust the six-by-nine format. It was a pretty big undertaking, laying out 300 pages, making sure the spread was just right and the typography was good,” Martinez said.
Although they live in different states, the duo has remained inseparable and they share a lot of the same interests.
“Taylor and I have always been on the same page as far as it goes when it came to horror,” Martinez said. “We would watch movies the same crappy B flicks and laugh at all the same gory parts, we go way back to freshman year in high school.”
The detectives in the book are based on Kingsbury’s friends and the streets are inspired by familiar places.
“ None of the stories are true obviously, but there is one story in the book where I used an undelivered love letter as the basis of some truly horrifying events,” Kingsbury said.
As for future plans for Kingsbury and Martinez, they plan to get an agent to ?represent them.
“Lulu is a great Web site but we want something with more visibility. We want it in stores,” Kingsbury said. “Once we saw the printed text we saw the potential that this could be something a lot bigger than something to just hand out to our friends.”
Right now Kingsbury is adapting the screenplay with a friend producer.
“I’m on my third re-write right now,” Kingsbury said.
And Kingsbury and Martinez are also working on the second series of “Les Fables.”
“I’m about four stories into the follow up, and we’re also working on a full fledge comic graphic novel as well,” Kingsbury said. “I always have at least 20 stories in my head that are in various stages of completion. Sometimes I have a story all figured out and I’ll just sit down and write it, but other times I just create the characters and they kind of go where they want to go.”
One of the stories Kingsbury is working on now, he described as particularly bizarre.
“I literally have to stop (and) walk away from it for a couple of days because the narrator is seriously depraved, and I’m scared to live inside of his head for too long at a time,” Kingsbury said.
“My stories don’t scare me because obviously I know how they’re going to end but some of the things that the characters in this book do disgust me and it’s a little frightening that I make them do it.”
In “Les Fables,” Kingsbury,who majored in communications here, created a journalistic article to give the story a real-life feel.
“I was able to use my journalism experience after all because we created a newspaper article to conclude the book, and our biographies are actually obituaries,” Kingsbury said.
Professor of Communications Don Pollock expressed interest in Kingsbury’s novel, after running into his former student recently in the Art and Communications Building.
Pollock suggested using Kingsbury’s bizarre tales as a spot on LVTV’s production of “Halloween Live,” a variety show hosted by the professor.
“It’s great, and it’s just in time for Halloween,” Pollock said of the novel.
Both creators of “Les Fables” credit the other for the book’s success.
“I wrote a bunch of stories but Aaron’s layout and artwork are what make the book so special, “ Kingsbury said. “Without him “Les Fables” would not exist.”
“Having the same goal in mind, we worked on it with equal fervor,” Martinez said.
For more information visit www.lulu.com/lesfables
Vitoria Drost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org