Interview with Taylor Lunsford

Taylor-8 - Version 2Taylor is a hopeless romantic who spends her days working for a great company and her nights/ weekends doing the job of her heart. A devout follower of the Jane Austen school of thought, she’ll put her characters through a little trouble, but they’ll eventually have their happily ever after. She’s still searching for her prince charming, but she knows he’s out there, so she’ll content herself with fictional ones for now.

Contact Taylor at: taylormlunsford@gmail.com

1.       Your first published work was part of an anthology, A Rush of Wings, put out by Naked Reader Press. How did that come about?

My mentor—and current editor—was in charge of my local writers’ group. When NRP was starting out, she wanted me to get my feet wet, so she and the NRP bosses invited me to submit a story for an anthology with an Angels and Demons theme. Good grief, was that a hard assignment for me. I’m not a natural short story writer. I procrastinated that story to death. Finally, I had to lock myself in my apartment and give my roommates instructions not to let me leave until I got it done. This was particularly difficult considering I was studying abroad in London at the time and sharing an apartment with five other girls, their assorted boyfriends, plus the other students from our university living in the building with us.

The living room of my London Apartment and two of my roommates.

The living room of my London Apartment and two of my roommates.

2.       What kind of story is A Little Night Music? What is special about the anthology it appears in?

A Little Night Music is a sweet short story I wrote for an assignment in my 20th Century American Lit class in college. When one of my friends on Twitter, Karen DeLabar, announced that some friends of hers were putting together an anthology to help her with the medical bills from her bout of Toxic Shock Syndrome, I dug it out and polished it up to meet the theme for the Orange Karen anthology.

3.       What was the path to publication for Need You Now?

Need You Now had a very odd beginning. It was actually the second book I wrote in the “Love in Unknown” series. I started out writing book 2 (Ready to Love Again) when my editor, Amanda Green, challenged me to try and write a romantic suspense. I got about half way through RTLA before I introduced Micah’s sister Mel and his best friend Caine and Caine’s brother Gage. Then they started to tell me they wanted their own books. For a while, I thought RTLA would be book 3 in the series, but Gage decided he wanted to go last. As soon as Amanda read the first few chapters of RTLA in our writers’ group, she asked me to submit the series to NRP for their romance line. The rest, as they say, is history.

4.       What are the other books in the series?

There are two other books in the series and a short story (for now). The short story, We Own The Night is sort of an extended epilogue for NYN and the point where we meet Gage’s love interest for book 3 (Just A Kiss), Tessa Styles, who is Caine’s best friend and Mel’s Maid of Honor. Book 2, as I said before, is Micah Carr’s story about falling in love with newcomer Cady Saunders while dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a single dad to a son whose mom is a little bit off the rails. Book 3 is the story of Gage and Tessa falling in love when neither of them is expecting it, both with each other and with a special little girl that’s literally dropped in their laps.

5.       Do you ever use “temporary” words when writing, planning to go back and fill them in later?

Haha, yes. The bakery in the series was originally called the “Blankery” because I couldn’t think of a cutesy small town bakery name. It eventually became Carr’s Cakes. The town name “Unknown” was originally a placeholder, but my beta reader, Allie Sanders, and I sort of become attached to it. When I tried to rename it “Fortune Lake,” she bopped me on the head and told me to leave it as Unknown.

6.       What is your editing process? Did anyone suggest changes you were reluctant to make?

My editing process on this was about as wack-a-doo as the writing process. There were several rewrites of both NYN and RTLA. At one point, I was going to have Emma Carr, Mel and Micah’s mom, be a POV character, but I realized that those sections weren’t very strong. After reading them, Allie agreed with my gut instinct that I needed to rework them (she’s the other half of my brain. If she confirms a suspicion without me telling her what it is, I know it’s true). No one suggested any changes I was reluctant to make—not yet anyways. Amanda just got Book 3 for edits, so we’ll see. It was the easiest to write and I didn’t have to rewrite it as much, so I’m worried she’ll hate it or ask for major rewrites because it was so easy, but we’ll see.

7.       What is the strangest thing you’ve seen an author do to promote their novel?

Hmm…you know, I haven’t seen anything truly out there. The whole blog tour concept is still a bit strange to me, but I’ve got one scheduled for around the time Just A Kiss comes out, so we’ll see if my opinion changes.

Jane Austen and William Shakespeare hanging out on my desk.

Jane Austen and William Shakespeare hanging out on my desk.

8.       What is your favorite Jane Austen novel?

My favorite Austen novel is Persuasion. Shocker, I know. Everyone always says Pride and Prejudice. While I love and adore Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, Anne and Captain Wentworth are a much more compelling, interesting couple to me. Austen really makes you wonder throughout the novel if he can forgive her for refusing his proposal all those years ago, and if she’ll have the courage to fight for him. Plus the guy who plays Wentworth in the most recent adaptation (Ruper Penry Jones) is ridiculously swoonworthy.

Me touching Jane Austen's desk at her house in Chawton.

Me touching Jane Austen’s desk at her house in Chawton.

9.       A year ago I tagged you to write part two of Jennytown, a story circle started by Cameron Garriepy. What was it like to write only the second part of a story that is written in four parts by four authors?

It was very odd. I’ve never written anything where I didn’t have any real control or sense of the intention for the characters. It was a little like walking around the forest at night where you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you.

10.   What social media do you use? Do you combine your personal and professional or keep them separate?

For the most part I keep my social media separate. I write under my own name so I don’t exactly keep them separate per se, but my Facebook profile is private. Everywhere else (Twitter, Pinterest, etc) is open. The only people on FB these days are my close friends and my ridiculously large family, so I use Twitter and Pinterest for most of my interaction/promo stuff anyways. I’ve got a Pinterest board for the “Love in Unknown” series that has the actors I see playing the characters, plus glimpses of what I think Unknown would look like if it were real. I’ve also got a Spotify playlist on my web site with music that influenced/reminded me of NYN. When the other books come out, their playlists will go up there too.

11.   What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?

My favorite electronic writing tool? Hmm…I’d have to say Scrivener. I can do so much on it. I love being able to separate things by scenes and move them around if I need to. I also like that the notecards on it can be imported onto my iPad and I can plot there, then drag it back into Scrivener on my laptop for the real writing.

12.   What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?

There’s such a thing? I guess I’d have to say a good old fashioned ball point pen. Not one of the gel pen things either. Just a plan and simple pen.

13.   What is the most persistent distraction from writing?

God, that’s a hard one. Life? Twitter? A little bit of both? Shiny new books by my favorite authors? Usually it’s my own brain. Trying to get my attention span to settle down and work with me after a long day/week at the day job is tough sometimes.

14.   What is your ideal writing environment? Have you ever been able to create it?

My ideal writing environment usually depends on the book. For NYN, that was hanging out on my bed. For RTLA, it was at my desk in the office that I shared with my dad when I lived at home, watching whatever I felt like on Netflix. Just A Kiss was written during NaNoWriMo and insisted on being done while watching episodes of The West Wing. Current WIP is demanding the same treatment. Living on my own has helped my productivity a lot because there aren’t parents or dogs around distracting me.

The doggy distractions, Forrest and Lucy. Their new favorite thing is to put on their doggles and harnesses to go for a ride in Dad's Ural sidecar.

The doggy distractions, Forrest and Lucy. Their new favorite thing is to put on their doggles and harnesses to go for a ride in Dad’s Ural sidecar.

15.   Do you have rules for how steamy you write your sex scenes?

Not really. I write them as steamy as the characters tell me to write them, I guess you could say. If they want to bring the heat, I can’t stop them. I do have rules about who can read the sex scenes before the book is officially in print. My dad edited one of my early manuscripts for me and I censored all of the sex scenes out. My mom and grandma have been bugging me for months to let them read RTLA, but I flat out refuse. I don’t want their critiques in my head when I could still possibly tone it down (not that I would, but still).

16.   What genres do you write? Would you consider trying others?

Any type of romance is fair game. The majority of my books have been contemporary romance with hints of suspense (okay, Amanda, romantic suspense). I’ve also written an Regency romance and an Edwardian romance, which probably won’t see the light of day. One of my contemporary romances had a paranormal element where the hero was Cupid living as a mortal, running a matchmaking company for his mom, Venus. It was a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. I’m looking at possibly expanding that one into a series for NRP where I do retellings of other romantic myths.

17.   I am so jealous that you Beta-read for Tiffany Reisz! I hated having to wait until August for The Mistress. How long ago did you get to read it?

I’m not one of her main Beta readers, so I had to wait with the rest of the world to read The Mistress (evil sadist!). She’ll usually send me short stories or some of her sweeter stuff to read. The short story she has coming out in February (I believe) about Lance, the Navy SEAL, might be my favorite thing she’s written besides The Mistress. I’m one of Roni Loren’s primary beta readers, so I got to read her latest, Caught Up in You, months ago, which was awesome. I just read her next novel a few weeks ago and it’s also to die for. Seriously. Her heroes are ridiculously delicious.

18.   Do you know anything about toilet repair? If you had to write it into a story, would you be willing to learn?

I know how to use a plunger. If that doesn’t work, I call Dad. Or one of my uncles. I come from a family of very mechanically minded men, so I rely on them when at all possible. I’m all for feminism and women doing stuff on their own, but it’s so much faster and less likely to be messed up if you ask for help. If I had to write it into a story, I would probably just ask one of them a bajillion questions about it. When I had to write a part of the book where Gage is redoing the bathroom in the run-down house Tessa bought sight unseen in JAK, I relied on my experience watching them renovate my parents’ house.

19.   Do you still have Star Wars on VHS?

I think my grandparents may have our old copies. If they do, Luke and Leia are hanging out with my very battered copy of The Sound of Music. Seriously, I watched that movie so many times my Silver Anniversary edition started to disintegrate and my grandma had to get duct tape to put a flap on the box so the VHS wouldn’t fall out. My brother just got them on Blu-ray, so I may have to steal them for a rewatch.

20.   Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

My inner nerd is always torn by the Han/Greedo debate. The VHS I had growing up was the re-mastered/rereleased version, so Greedo shot first. But the first time I saw Star Wars it was the original version, so Han shot first (although I was like 7 so I really didn’t know either way). The answer I like better is that Greedo shot first because it makes Han a little less problematic and more likable as a hero, but as a relative purist when it comes to nerd-dom, I have to say Han shot first.

Taylor Cover Photo
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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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