I'm delighted to bring you Indie Interview number #2, and introduce you to Taylaur Robertson.
Taylaur was really fun to interview, and incredibly honest with her answers.
I hope you enjoy hearing about her writing journey so far - from what she's written, what her process looks like, the lessons she's learned from self-publishing… and what she'd tell her younger self :)
Over to Taylaur!
1. Hey Taylaur! Where did you grow up, and what were your childhood years like?
Hello, Jas! Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity!
I was born in Arizona, and though I moved out of state for a couple years, a vast majority of my childhood was spent in Mesa, Arizona.
Much of my childhood was a bit rough.
I struggled with bullying for many years and learned to cope through art and writing, creating random adventures out of the question of ‘What if…?’ it was through this medium that I gained a sense of empowerment and felt in control of something, if only for a short period of time.
2. You have an interesting first name! Would you sharing its origins?
Thank you! My mother wanted something different for her maiden side of the family. So she created this spelling and explained to me that it meant this, ‘She who weaves souls together.’
3. What was the first piece of creative writing you can recall, that you were proud of?
I believe when I was about 4 or 5 years old, I can recall writing a very short story for my grandmother about a little bat demon going on these grand adventures with their friends.
The impact this little character had on me was so deep that it later developed into another, kind of growing up and changing along with me.
4. When was it that you decided you wanted to write a book?
I’ve always written short stories, and once wrote a book unintentionally back in high school. A 150 page story in my composition notebook. But to intentionally and consciously write a novel came about in my early twenties, probably about twenty one or twenty two.
A really close friend and I were always sharing stories during that time, whether it be fan-fiction or our own created characters and worlds, and she really adored one character of mine. After sharing the idea with her about putting that character into a book, she immediately jumped on board. I hope to someday finish that novel just for her.
Her confidence and support for my seemingly impossible goal is what pushed me to be where I am now.
5. Tell us about your book, A Song of Memories. How did the idea come about?
When I came up with the idea, I happened to be watching a horror movie at the time. A simple and generic haunted house story.
Then it hit me, I wanted to write a scary story about a haunted house and a detective.
But I didn’t want it to be as simple as the movie I just saw, with a plot you would see several hundred times before. I wanted to create a monster that scared me.
I wanted this book to touch upon horror, and of the psychological phenomenon behind looking into one’s self in times of crisis, of the potential self-reflection and what outcome can arise from it.
Creating this idea was honestly faster than how most would probably plan out their stories. I took a ‘Stephen King’ approach to this story. Just write and go with the flow of that one simple idea.
The first day I sat down and outlined the story, I ended up creating my psychological horror-mystery in a matter of hours, and finishing the project in about three months.
With only one minor change because of some technical issues. (Which ended up being the best change for this story and series.)
6. Talk to us about the writing process?
My process is a little bit of both plotting and pantsing. While I do outline my stories (Using this formula: The opening, character things, the motivator, some middle stuff, the all time low, the climax, and epilogue) ... most of the time, they usually deviate from the path I laid out. It’s almost as if the characters write themselves out and I’m along for the ride.
Normally, I start out with the character creation process, and then dump them into the story I want to write, I form their voice, what journey they wish to undergo (for personal gain or for the sake of adventure) and where they fit in the expanding world before them. Their ambitions and character growth develop from there.
7. And what made you choose self-publishing? How did you find this process?
At first, I wanted to traditionally publish. After going through submitting and querying for a few months, I felt that I was getting nowhere, and honestly, felt a little defeated. It made me question if I was the one doing something wrong.
While I had a friend reading my story and giving her suggestions, I took a break from writing, letting myself bask in the fact that I did what I had set out to do, and that, of course, was finish writing a novel.
The term self-publishing came up while I was looking into different publishing houses, after glancing over it I set some links about the topic aside and pressed on.
After seeing that some of the authors I follow and admire on twitter were self-publishers, I started asking myself, ‘what is it exactly?’
It took a couple months for my friend to finish reading my book, and during that time, I used this opportunity to study up on it and slowly warmed to the idea that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to grow!
8. Are there any lessons you’ve learned from the writing or self-publishing process so far?
I’ve learned so much! When I first started writing, I wrote to tell stories for myself and my friends, some details weren’t needed, or using the vast collective of the rules of writing wasn’t necessary. (I was also intimidated by learning what I might’ve been doing wrong!)
Since following fellow writers and studying up online, it turns out what I thought was going to be a frightening and complicated process, wasn’t that at all.
It took work to refine what I knew, took a lot to set aside time to practice, but I’m glad for it in the end. With learning how self-publishing works, I am still learning!
But so far, the biggest thing has to be: have patience and be realistic. A lot of books are being published (through traditional means and by fellow self-publishers), don’t make it hard on yourself by working yourself to death or setting yourself up for disappointment.
Take your time and have fun with your work!
9. How have you been marketing yourself & your book, thus far?
Mostly by using Facebook and Twitter. Most of my family use Facebook and they’ve been a great help promoting within the family and their friends and I operate on twitter, occasionally sending out tweets. I’ve also bought temporary ads to assist me. Marketing can be quite difficult.
10. Do you enjoy any blogs or podcasts? (writing-related or otherwise!)
I watch quite a few channels on Youtube! A.G Writes’s youtube channel, another called Bard Owl Writing, Hello Future Me, Uniweb Productions, the list can go on!
11. Are you enjoying on Netflix/Amazon Prime (etc) right now?
While I don’t own have a streaming service of my own, a really good and close friend of mine showed me a show called, ‘Shadow Hunters’. Another of my friends recently introduced me to the show ‘Lucifer’!
I mostly use Youtube or Crunchyroll to watch shows or videos.
12. Fiction and blogging aside, do you do any other form or writing, or have another creative outlet?
I sometimes (shamelessly) write fanfiction, more so for my own self to enjoy. Aside from that, I am also an artist, both traditionally and digitally. I paint, I craft, anything that can keep my hands and thoughts busy!
13. What advice do you have for your younger (writer) self?
This question has been brought up quite a bit as of late! While I usually would say, ‘I would never want to meet my younger past self,’ or tell them to do anything otherwise, mostly because if I did that, everything I have learned and have experienced would go to waste…
I would actually be happy to say to my writer self, ‘Don’t stop writing, don’t put that pencil down, keep tapping at those keys. Forget the negativity you are experiencing now, because you will find a group so supportive it’ll make your head spin. You’ll find many who feel the same as you do, filled with a creative outlet and fueled by passion to tell a story, who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, to test their limits and go beyond their own self.
So don’t stop doing what you love, don’t silence the voice calling to you to put their story down. Be brave, push on.’
14. Where can we find you online, & where can we purchase your books?
As of right now, I can be found on Twitter (@taylaur_rose), Facebook (Taylaur Robertson), I just made an Instagram account (authortrrobertson) and I am currently working on a website.
You can find my book, “A Song of Memories: A Detective Milo Reid Novel", (and my future novels) on Amazon.