I’d like to introduce Tayla Durham, a friend and author of Twisted, a young adult fantasy coming out today, October 15, 2013.
Rachel- Before we get started, please tell me a little about yourself.
Tayla- I'm an eighteen-year-old author. I began writing at the age of ten and since then have written about 11 novels. Twisted is the one to be published. Other than writing I enjoy spending time with horses, drawing, and taking photos. I’m awful at anything that involves putting something into a net, I can be competitive, but usually I just get bored when playing games like that.
Rachel- In one sentence, what is Twisted about?
Tayla- A thief who is taken out of prison to combat a king’s enemy.
Rachel- I have to say, I’m impressed that you have already published a book when you are just 18 years old and still in high school. How did you make it happen?
Tayla- A whole lot of determination. I knew that I wanted to get a book published. I knew that I could do it. It took a lot of encouragement from friends and family and a lot of effort on my part. I wasn’t going to quit, though it was pretty difficult to keep going at times.
Rachel- Where did you get the idea for your story?
Tayla- Before I wrote Twisted I was writing another book about kelpies. I finished it and my older sister took it from me so I couldn’t read it for a month so my poor brain could recover. Desperately bored I think I spent two weeks writing random things. Also at about this time I’d written a short story about one of the characters in the book who was in prison and then taken out of the prison, which gave me the idea for Aster’s imprisonment at the start of the book.
I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I remember thinking that I wanted characters like the dementors. And this should come as no surprise, my older sister and little brother watched The Fellowship of the Ring maybe a month before I began the first book of Twisted. I was entranced by the Nazgul. All of those combined came together on March 8, 2011 in four words, oh what a world…
Rachel- Do you have a favorite character from your book? If so, why are you drawn to him or her?
Tayla- The Secret Keeper is my favorite. He’s so mysterious! I love his attitude and general sense of forbearing as if he owns the air he’s in. I also love how he has levels, you can tell that there is more to him that what a first glance will give. What I also like about him is how complex he is and his stubbornness! He fights me practically every day on how the chapters are going to go over.
Overall, I like his story, his sense of self, his insecurities and his strength. The Secret Keeper can be spidery, but he’s a lion at heart. I’ve drawn strength from him. Also it helps that he is incredibly witty. My emotions really come out with him. I laugh and I cry with his POVs.
Rachel- I notice that most of your main characters are male. Generally authors’ main characters are the same gender as themselves. What made you decide to tell your story from a male point of view?
Tayla- I’ve always liked writing from the male point of view. It’s easier for me for some reason. The only girl who POV I have is Allie Taylor and she is so like me in the girly emotions and senses that she can drive me crazy because I experience that all day. I’ve never really seen a reason have my main characters be the same gender as me, I’d get really bored.
Rachel- I think anyone who reads your blog must be aware that you are fascinated by wraiths. What draws you to them?
Tayla- I've always been drawn to the darker characters (don’t judge me!) they seem more interesting and have more depth sometimes than the corny main characters. It makes me curious to know how they became that way, it’s why I can be so frustrated with The Lord of the Rings at times. The Nazgul have no background. You see in the beginning how they were (nine rings to the race of men) and then on Weathertop what they had become, but no explanation on how they got that way.
I guess I just like the mystery and sense of danger that they bring. I’ve read so many books that the main characters are all beginning to look stereotyped and copied off another book, when I came across wraiths I was startled. I’ve only read three books where they’re mentioned. (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Fablehaven, and Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold) So wraiths aren’t common in literature.
Wrapping up of that incredibly long explanation, I’d say I’m fascinated by them because no one else is. When one walked into my story and hissed hello (okay, it was more like here I am. Love me or hate me) I was hooked.
Rachel- Give me a peak into your average day.
Tayla- My average day begins with me growling at my alarm. It’s my iPod so I can’t smash it like I want to. I usually get up at about 5 so I can have writing time before the day begins. I write from about 5:30 to 7:20 then I go work on school, which I suppose needs an explanation now, I’m homeschooled, which is why I have so much time to write. Aside from schoolwork and practicing my violin I’m either reading or writing.
Rachel- What does your writing process look like?
Tayla- My writing process is very organized. I like to have things where I can get them. I usually open up a new document or load the half of a chapter I wrote the previous day and go from there. Generally I only write a chapter and a half everyday which can be easy or really difficult depending on the day.
Rachel- What are some of your favorite books?
Tayla- Lord of the Rings for sure, no surprise right? I like the Harry Potter series up to book four, but I cannot stand Umbridge. Love Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur is among my top favorites, the character’s voice is so pure and I don’t get bored halfway through. Shadows of Valor by Elsie Park, I was in suspense and I really connected with the main character’s insecurities.
Rachel- Can we expect to see more books from you in the future?
Tayla- Oh yes. I write books so people can read them. Plus it’s like when you create a piece of art, it’s no good where only you can view it. If you have a talent, share it. My talent is writing and I don’t plan on staying quiet about it!
Rachel- Where can I buy Twisted?
Tayla- Currently the only place is Amazon, but I plan on having it in book stores at some future date.
Rachel- Thanks for your time Tayla. I can’t wait to read Twisted for myself.
Visit Tayla Durham’s blog to learn more about herself and her book: http://twistedviolinist.blogspot.com/