Today we’re sharing an interview with author Taylor Bennett. She published the first book in her Tradewinds series, “Porch Swing Girl,” as a teen. Learn more about her author journey, favorite genres to read, and what she wishes she’d known as a young writer.
First, a little about the author:
Taylor Bennett is a dandelion-wishing, world-traveling lover of books, words, and stories. Based in the PNW, she dreams of seeing the world and writing stories set in unique locations.
Although she dreams of traveling to many different places, her favorite destination thus far (aside from her charming hometown in Oregon) is Lahaina, Hawaii. Her love for this tropical hamlet led her to write about it, hence her debut YA novel, Porch Swing Girl, the first in a series of books set in Hawaii.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? If so, why didn’t you?
I never really considered writing under a pseudonym. When I was a little girl, I’d dreamt of being a “famous author”, and I suppose I always figured that famous authors wouldn’t use a pseudonym! Also, building a platform and engaging with future readers both online and in person is extremely important, and I want to be “myself” as much as possible while doing so.
Do you base your characters on real-life people?
Some of them…but not all 🙂 A few real-life friends got written into my Tradewinds series as very, very minor side characters (look for Keith, Gigi, and Doctor Freeh) but my main characters were largely products of my imagination. That being said, they all reflect people that I know in certain ways, but none of them necessarily *are* actual people. I wish they were, though! Everyone needs a Jazz in their life 😉
When did you write the first story you consider excellent?
I still don’t know if I have!! I absolutely love each and every story that I’ve written, but as someone who’s forevermore reaching for the stars and working to improve her craft, I hesitate to say that I’ve written a truly “excellent” book. The closest I’d say I’ve come, though, is my Christmas novella, Mele Kalikimaka. While I was writing it I felt so much peace and joy—and had so much FUN!—that I’ve always felt very strongly about that story. I guess you could say it’s the story of my heart…
How do you actively pursue growth as a writer?
As I said above, I’m constantly striving to become a better writer. One of the ways that I do that is by READING!! All of the writing practice in the world will get me nowhere if I don’t begin with a solid foundation of knowledge. By reading great literature (classics from the 1800’s, modern classics, and even children’s books) I can give myself a better idea of what KINDS of books are already out there, which then helps me determine what kind of stories I myself want to write. Besides that, I’m forever inspired by reading books that fill my mind with new words and writing techniques and my heart with a desire to try writing my own take on a classic storyline!!
If you could give your younger writing self one piece of advice, what would you say?
I would tell my younger writing self to have FUN!!! I used to put way too much emphasis on writing the “perfect” story, and that definitely hampered my creativity in the long run. Instead of forcing myself to become the youngest person ever to make the NYT bestseller list (that didn’t happen anyway…) I should have been having FUN! After all, in the end, only when we’re ENJOYING the writing process will our future readers truly appreciate the end product
Thank you, Taylor, for sharing about your writing experiences. Be sure to check out her Tradewinds series if you haven’t heard of it before. Keep on writing!