Today I’m interviewing super cool and talented author, Taylor Bennett!
Before we get started here is a little bit about her:
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.
You can connect with her and/or buy her book at these links:
Onto the questions! 😀
1. If Porch Swing Girl were to be made into a movie, who would you cast to be Olive, Brander, and Jazz? (If all three are too difficult, you can just pick one. 😊)
Honestly (probably because I don’t watch many movies…) I can’t think of any actors or actresses that would really fit my characters. Plus, I love the idea of giving opportunities to new, up-and-coming talent. For that reason, I would most likely hold open casting calls and pick up raw talent, hoping that they could get their start in Hollywood from Porch Swing Girl.
2. What was the hardest part of the writing journey in Porch Swing Girl?
The hardest part was definitely the editing process! I had no idea how difficult it was to actually write a cohesive, suspenseful story…but I sure did after I went through a few (out of six) rounds of content edits! Surprisingly, I’m actually more of a “plotter” than a “pantser,” which means that I prefer not to write by the seat of my pants. Now, as I’m writing the sequel to Porch Swing Girl, I have the entire story already written out as a rough list of scenes…much more convenient!!
3. If you had to choose, what are some books you would say are similar to Porch Swing Girl?
Hmmm…I’ve been told that it’s similar to The Fault in Our Stars, but I actually haven’t read that so I can’t say if that’s true or not 😊
It’s somewhat similar to This Quiet Sky, by the amazing Joanne Bischof, except Porch Swing Girl is longer and less sad.
Honestly, though, that’s a tough question because, while there is a romance thread in Porch Swing Girl, it’s not necessarily a romance book like most of the other YA novels on the market today. Does that make sense? Maybe?
4. While you were writing Porch Swing Girl is there a song that you associated as your book’s “theme song”? If so, what was it?
Oh my goodness!! Porch Swing Girl had so many theme songs. It actually got its own playlist. One of my favorites, though, is a song called “I’ll Think About You” by my favorite band, We Are Messengers. This song is poignant and touching and it perfectly sums up exactly how Olive is feeling at the start of the book.
5. What is one thing you hope a reader will take away from reading your book?
I really want readers to know that God has their back—what it says in the Bible is true: God will never leave you or forsake you, He has a plan for your life, and He will cause everything to work together for your good if you love Him and put your trust in Him. It can be so easy to lose heart, but I hope this book reminds readers that God will never abandon you—no matter who else does.
6. What was the most exciting part of Porch Swing Girl? (Writing? Editing? The contract?)
Aargh! What a tough question! Every part of this process has been sooo exciting. I’d probably have to say the most exciting part was when Miralee (my editor) first responded to my query and asked if I would be interested in writing a Porch Swing Girl-inspired trilogy. At that point, I hadn’t even written the whole first draft of Porch Swing Girl, but I already knew that I would love to have an excuse to spend more time with my amazing characters.
7. If you could live in a fictional place, where would you choose? Where would Olive choose?
Ooh, I would love to live in the Hundred Acre Wood. I’m a proud Winnie-the-Pooh nerd (if such a thing were to exist) and I love the idea of spending time playing Poohsticks and hunting honey with my favorite stuffed animals 😊
Olive definitely wouldn’t object to spending time in the Hundred Acre Wood either, but she’d also like to go to Neverland—where children don’t grow up, fairies flit from bush to bush, and everyone can fly with only faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.
8. It’s a rainy day outside and the only thing to do is watch a movie… do you and Olive agree on what to watch or not? Which ones would you both choose and why?
We definitely agree! We’d both go for something touching and emotional, with a positive message throughout. Most likely, we’d watch Soul Surfer, especially because of its Hawaiian setting 😉
9. What is one way you and Olive are similar, and what is one way you are different?
Olive and I are both very determined—we have big goals and big dreams, and we don’t like it when others try to get in our way. Admittedly, this can be somewhat of a character flaw, and it’s definitely something that Olive learns to deal with throughout the story.
Olive and I are different because, while I have an adorable, lovable chocolate lab mix, Olive is positively terrified of dogs! She has a good reason, though, but that’s another story…
10. If Olive were a musical instrument what would she be?
Definitely a violin! Violins are notorious for being difficult to play and can sometimes sound a little “whiny.” Either people love them or hate them but, more often than not, they can learn to love the instrument after they listen to it for a while. Now, I’m not saying that Olive is whiny exactly, but she definitely has a unique personality—one that can come off as slightly abrasive to those who don’t know her. And, just like a violin, she can be very complex and difficult to understand 😊
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.
I should be getting my paperback copy of Porch Swing Girl any day now, and I’m really excited to have it join other favorites on my book shelves. 😀 (and you can read my review of Porch Swing Girl here!)