Interview With Taylor Bennet, Author of Porch Swing Girl

Friday, May 25, 2018

Guys. YA author Taylor Bennet's novel Porch Swing Girl is finally here! =D I've been staring at it longingly on my Goodreads shelf for too long, and now and I finally have it! AND OH MY WORD IT IS SO GOOD. Seriously, if you don't have a copy of Porch Swing Girl, go grab one. Now. I mean, it's Hawaii. And shave ice. Who could say no?! And LOOK AT THAT COVER. Just look at it. 
Luckily, I got to interview the author of this amazing story. Taylor is not only a great writer, but she's also a super great person. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her writing through this interview. =) 
When and why did you start writing?
I honestly don’t have a good answer for this, because I’ve literally been writing since before I could write (if that makes any sense at all!) My earliest memory of “writing” would be from when I was around four years old. I got the grand idea to write my mom a book for her birthday but, because I didn’t know how to spell, let alone type, I asked my dad to help out. In the end, I dictated a rambling narrative while Dad sat at the computer and typed it up, word-for-word. Another early writerly memory is of sitting at my mom’s old electric typewriter and pecking out pages full of gibberish for hours at a time. So basically, I’ve been in love with words for my entire life. But I never got serious about publication until I was in middle school.
What is your upcoming novel, Porch Swing Girl, about? 
Porch Swing Girl is about a sassy, stubborn teenager named Olive Galloway (yes, she’s the Porch Swing Girl) who gets dumped at her grandmother’s house in Hawaii after the tragic death of her mother. Olive is desperate to chase her dad back home to keep him from doing anything drastic, but an empty pocketbook keeps her stranded. She starts working at the Shave Ice Shack with one of the local guys to raise the money needed for a ticket home, but she discovers that one of his friends is harboring a painful secret. And suddenly, Olive begins to question every decision she’s made since coming to Hawaii…
What is the hardest part about writing? The best part? 
The hardest part of writing, for me, is coming up with a strong plot. I’ve lived a “fairy-tale life” as I like to call it and, admittedly, I haven’t gone through a lot of hardship. Sometimes (all the time) I want to go easy on my characters and give them a life just as glorious and beautiful as mine. But, alas, happy days don’t make for compelling stories. Thankfully my editors (and my mom!) are more than happy to help me brainstorm.

The best part about writing is definitely having the freedom to “visit” new places and make new friends. I happen to have a chronically overactive imagination, and I was always the kid that wanted to play pretend and act out scenes from storybooks. Truth be told, I’d still do that if I could get away with it 😉 But then I discovered that I could—by writing! I can create characters, settings, and hop onto the pages to play the what if game as long as I want.
What message do you want readers to take away from your writing? 
I want readers to see God’s grace and goodness in everything. I want to show them that, even in the darkest night, God is still good. His love and grace cover over everything in our life. And we, as Christians, can be the light of the world. We can brighten the darkness and make life beautiful because of Him and what He’s done for us.
What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to aspiring teen writers? 
Wait. Don’t feel like you need to get a publishing contract before you turn eighteen. That was my goal, actually, and it was a good one to have, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should strive for the same thing. The teen years are so full of change—of decision-making and pressure and just…life—that there’s no reason to rush your writing career. Take it slow. Write because you love it and see where that takes you.
About The Author
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. Buy her novel Porch Swing Girl here

Isn't Taylor the greatest? =) Have you read Porch Swing Girl yet?  Have you ever been to Hawaii or eaten shave ice? Be sure to leave Taylor a comment! =) 


Friday, May 18, 2018

I’m finished with my hiatus sooner than I thought I would be, so I’ll be posting regularly again. 
When I was little, I was afraid of the dark. I wouldn’t admit it though. I was afraid of being alone at night, of crawling out from under my cozy covers to the cold, scary world that laid beyond my bed. Darkness held a world of too many bad possibilities, in my mind.

I’m sixteen years old, and I’m afraid of the dark. But the darkness I’m afraid of isn’t a lack of light at nighttime. No, I’m afraid of the darkness that seems to envelope our world. All I have to do is check the News app on my phone to terrify myself. All I have to do is remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ to make my blood run cold. All I have to do is think about school shootings, unloved people, unborn babies being murdered by the thousands, soldiers dying for our freedom, orphans all alone, kids in child prisons, peoples’ freedom being taken away….

My list could go on. I could talk about murder. I could talk about unheard cries and unseen tears. I could talk about pain and suffering and injustice and unfairness and darkness for far, far too long. And that hurts to have to write that. I hate that I can say that everywhere I look, there is darkness.

Darkness is everywhere. It runs rampant, like a plague. A disease that we human beings cannot cure. It affects everyone and everything on this earth. Darkness pulls us all down, down, down, like the London Bridge in that old nursery rhyme. We all fall down…

Our world is dark. Our world is fallen. Our world is sick and twisted. And there is nothing we can do about it.

But there is Someone who can.

He goes by many names, many titles. Prince of Peace. Christ. Lord. Healer. King of Kings. Rescuer. Savior. Messiah. Yeshua. Jesus.

Today, I clicked on the News app on my phone and saw the headline. A school shooting had occurred here in Texas. Ten dead. Ten hurt. Too many to suffer. To much pain. Too much broken. My heart is hurting right now as I think of the horrific events that I swipe through on my phone. And yet one verse rings through my mind over and over again.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

-John 16:33 ESV

“Take heart… Be brave. Be strong. Chin up. Courage, dear hearts.”

“I have overcome the world… I won. I saved. I defeated. I rescued. I healed. I’m here.”

We can’t fix our world, but He can. We can’t save ourselves, but He can save us. We can’t… But He most certainly can.

On this broken, dark, fallen ball of dirt, we will have troubles. Trials. Tribulations. Pain. Suffering. Hurt. Tears.

But take heart, my friends.

For when the night passes… Morning comes.

When darkness falls… Light shines.

And our Lord and Savior has overcome the world.

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