Today I’m excited to welcome Taylor Bennett for an author spotlight and some great writing advice.
Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.
When I signed up to blog here, I was kindly provided with a list of possible topics—one of them was something along the lines of “what advice would you give to a beginning author?”
I am a beginning author. Two years ago, I had never written a complete novel. Two years ago, I had the grand idea to write a “real book” by hand. (That lasted for a few chapters.) Two years ago, I decided to query publishers before my book was even finished.
I knew enough about the publishing industry to know that I wasn’t exactly going about anything in the right way, but I didn’t care. Ah, blissful ignorance.
(Yes, there was a but.)
God had other plans.
That’s why, two years later, I’m sitting here with that book about to go to print, and two more books contracted with the same publisher I queried when all I had was an incomplete manuscript. Should I be here? No.
But I am here.
And you know what? Some days, I still don’t know what I’m doing. I find myself writing pages of pretty, puffy, plotless prose. And I’m reminded how ridiculously blessed I am that God was in control the entire time.
And that’s why I want to tell you today…
Take your time.
In a world of deadlines and craziness, it’s amazing how eager we are—eager to query an agent, submit to major publishers, snag those bright and shiny three-book contracts. But there’s something to be said for being still. For waiting to query until you have a finished book. For sitting back and letting the love of writing overpower your desire to see your book in print.
If you’re a beginning author who has just started down this crazy path of editors, agents, and rejection letters, enjoy it. Don’t push yourself. Write. Let the words flow out of you when you’re inspired, take a break when your well of ideas is going dry. Embrace the world of writing you live in—the world without deadlines and contracts, without marketing and promoting.
That’s not to say that having a publishing contract isn’t something akin to living in a dream. (It is.) BUT you, as a beginning author, have the precious gift of freedom. Freedom to do what you want, freedom to write as many Chapter Ones as you want until you find the book. Freedom to explore, to dream.
Look into the future with excitement and hope, but don’t wish away this stage of your writing life. Ask God to reveal His will for you and trust that He has every one of your days written in His perfect book.
So write with freedom and reckless abandon. The Creator of the Universe has your writing career in His hands.
Author Interview Questions:
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Maui, without a doubt. There’s a special little condo right on the ocean that feels just like home. I love to stroll along the beach at sunrise—or sunset, or any other time of day—and pick up shells by the shore. The air is tinged with the fresh tang of saltwater and the landscape is scattered with palm trees and plumeria bushes. Aside from my lovely hometown, it’s my favorite place in the world.
- Please describe yourself in three words?
Quirky, imaginative, and thoughtful
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Spread the word! The only thing that makes an author happier than hearing that someone bought their book is hearing that someone loved their book. And readers can share about their reading experience anywhere. Their personal blog or social media (think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even Pinterest) or review sites like Goodreads are all great places to rave about a favorite book.
ABOUT HER BOOK:
What if friendship cost you everything?
Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.
With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.
But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.