Today I’m excited to welcome Taylor Bennett for an author spotlight and a fun character interview.
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.
Hello again! I blogged over here a couple of months ago about taking time to enjoy the journey you’re on. Now I’m back, and I’m excited to introduce you to Jazz Whitaker, my favorite supporting character from my newly released novel, Porch Swing Girl.
Jazz is a sweet, sporty high school sophomore with a big heart and an even bigger secret. She and her mother live on a boat anchored off the coast of Maui and Jazz is absolutely in love with everything Hawaiian. Even though she’s had a tough upbringing, she loves everyone—Jesus most of all—and makes it her own personal mission to show everyone the love of Christ.
Now, without further ado, let’s get this interview started!
Taylor: Hi Jazz, so glad you could join me today. I thought I’d ask you some questions so that future readers could get to know you a bit before they dive into Porch Swing Girl. Sound good?
Jazz: *nods* Of course! Let’s get started.
Taylor: Okay…so, Jazz, what’s your all-time favorite food?
Jazz: Oh, that’s hard. Maybe…pizza from Pirate Pete’s? Or maybe Hula Pie.
Taylor: Hula Pie? What’s that?
Jazz: It’s a Hawaii thing—chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, chocolate ganache, lots of whipped cream. Each slice is big enough to feed ten people. Or one Jazz.
Taylor: Yum! Sounds good. So where can you find a slice of this pie?
Jazz: All over Hawaii, really. But I like to go to the Hula Grill—it’s right on the beach.
Taylor: Nice. I’m assuming you like the beach, then.
Jazz: Of course! I could live at the beach. And I pretty much do in the summer. I love surfing, and standup paddleboarding, and swimming, and wading, and—yep. If it’s in the water, I love it. My mom used to call me her little mermaid when we’d go paddleboarding together.
Taylor: That’s sweet. Are you and your mom still pretty close?
Jazz: *ducks her head* Nah. She’s got some problems she’s trying to deal with and…it’s not going very well, I guess you could say. Everyone at church is praying for us, but God’s playing the whole “My-timing-is-better-than-yours” game right now.
Taylor: Gotcha. So where do you go to church?
Jazz: On the beach.
Jazz: Yeah, well, kinda. It’s a big, open-air pavilion on the beach. They’ve got a great pastor and an awesome youth group. My best friend leads worship for the youth group most weeks.
Taylor: Ooh, fun. Do you have a favorite worship song?
Jazz: All of them! But maybe…I think I’ve gotta go with Amazing Grace. It’s just so…powerful. And a good reminder of what God did for all of us.
Taylor: That’s a great choice, and one of my favorites, too. Thanks so much for chatting today, Jazz. I’d love to keep talking but, unfortunately, I’m about to go over word count 😉
Jazz: No problem! I had a great time.
Author Interview Questions:
What do you enjoy doing for relaxation?
I absolutely love to draw and journal. Yes, I take a break from writing by…writing! I also enjoy taking walks. My neighborhood backs right up against the country, and I love to stroll among the rolling hills and grassy fields, especially with my mom and our chocolate lab mix.
- What can readers expect from you next?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Porch Swing Girl. I’d love to tell you more about it, but I don’t want to because…spoilers!
How did you get started writing?
You might as well ask me how I got started breathing! When I was a toddler, I dictated stories to my parents (which they dutifully wrote down, word-for-word.) As I grew older, I began to scribble my own “books.” When I finally got serious about writing in middle school, I wrote my first *cringe* novel. (Hint: it wasn’t more than 30k words and the plot was nonexistent.) But I had discovered the joy of telling a story and I couldn’t stop!
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.