Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Jennifer Taylor. I’m 58 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in southwest Florida, but grew up in the mountains of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I majored in Creative Writing, but went back to school and received my degree in Human Services. I’ve worked as a certified nursing assistant, a data entry operator, a stay-at-home mom, and a professional singer and dancer. Because of my musical background, I always have at least one musician in my books; my hero Ian is an apothecary by trade and a musician at heart. I enjoy making up lyrics for him in the books, and it seems each new book in the series contains more and more lyrics than the one before!
I have two adult daughters and an adult son, and three glorious grandbabies. My husband and I have been married for 38 years. We share our space with an entitled Great Dane named Bridgette. We call her “Queen B” or “B-Hole” depending on her behavior!
Mostly, I spend my working days writing historical romance full-time for Wild Rose Press-my favorite job by far.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The third book in my Rhythm of the Moon series, Echoes of the Moon, will be released later this year. My heroine Bethan is an identical twin, and responsible for the care of her mentally ill sister. She never thought she would find love, but of course she does, with challenges, of course! Here’s the back cover blurb:
Bethan Owen would give her life for her identical twin. With the care of Elunid’s troubled mind resting on her shoulders, she knows the love of a man will never be possible. But she can’t fight her attraction to the mystifying Henry Stephens, who, despite his lowly occupation as a night soil man, captivates her with his courtly manners and vitality.
Henry’s entire life revolves around building a fulfilling life for his mentally challenged son. When the vibrant and beautiful Bethan captures his heart, his world changes, but the secrets he harbors remain. Will he be able to give himself completely to the one he loves? When Elunid’s behavior becomes more unstable, she makes a vicious enemy. Bethan is forced to make the greatest sacrifice, exchanging her life for her sister’s. Can Henry save Bethan and keep their love alive? Or will the dangerous adversary destroy all that is dear to them both?
My first book, Mercy of the Moon (2014) will be an audiobook sometime this year. I’m so excited about the narrator’s engaging voice. She’s perfect for the 18th Century England time period.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I grew up in a very musical household. My mom sang, one brother is a professional drummer, and the other is a gifted guitar player and composer. We had music on all the time. So even as a child, lyrics inspired the writer in me. When I was 12, I read Wuthering Heights, and that was that!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I attended college at Graceland University, I had a gifted mentor. Jon Wallace encouraged me to take writing seriously, and to strive for excellence. I began to think of myself as a writer then, and to dream of the ultimate goal of being a published author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Mercy of the Moon: I had begun writing the story about Maggie, a midwife in the 18th Century, and Ian, a musician who happens to have bipolar disorder, but I didn’t have a setting. Then I took a trip to Rye, England, an ancient port town on the southern coast. One night I stood in cobbled Mermaid Street, with the wind blowing around me, and I closed my eyes. There was such an overwhelming sense of timelessness-it could have been the 13th, the 15th Century. I chose to have a fictional town-King’s Harbour-but Rye still continues to inspire me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Since Maggie is a midwife, her life is ruled by the rhythms of the moon.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I guess you could say my writing is lyrical. Poetry and lyrics were my first love, so imagery is very important to me. When I revise I have to watch out for accidental rhymes within a sentence. I think what makes my writing style unique is that I mix the sometimes macabre with humor and music. And in the series, I have a hero who struggles with mental illness, yet is still heroic.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The series has its share of supernatural: it opens with my midwife’s sister being buried alive and surviving. Maggie and Ian work together to bring her sister back to consciousness, and in the process, their attraction grows. It’s discovered that Maggie’s sister had help in returning from the grave alive. In the midst of this rather dark theme (!), I mix a lot of humor and music to lighten things up.
Obviously and thankfully, I’ve never been buried alive, but one thing that is based on reality, is why I was inspired to have a midwife. My great grandmother was a midwife/post woman in the mountains of Idaho. And it sounds a little crazy, but I’ve always been able to tell when someone is expecting, and the childbirth scenes come easily. It’s in my genes, I guess.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
While travelling has been an inspiration, it’s not necessary for me, thanks to the Internet. I try to soak things up to use in future books, though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The wonderful cover artists at Wild Rose Press design them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Hmm…interesting question. Don’t give up on finding love despite your challenges and flaws, and love can survive and even flourish in the roughest of times.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’m amazed at the talent and at the diversity of works coming out of the romance genre these days. Diana Gabaldon and Susanna Kearsley continue to be a huge inspiration.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The members of my local Romance Writers of America group, Sunshine State Romance Authors, have been tremendously helpful and generous with their knowledge and support.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think so. I love Bethan and her identical twin, Elunid. Henry and Bethan are such good people, so worthy of love.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
How much I love what I do!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ooh! Michael Fassbender or Benedict Cumberbatch for Ian (hero in Book 1 and 2), and Aiden Turner for Henry in Book 3.
Heroines? No idea!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Join RWA or find a writer’s group who takes writing seriously, but can criticise in a kind, but honest manner. Develop a thick skin-you’ll need it. Even when Life gets in the way, don’t give up. Keep plodding away, and enjoy the journey.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for your support. It means so much to me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m rereading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon, and a book on midwifery, written by a 17th Century midwife named Jane Sharpe. It’s fascinating.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Bike Lesson, by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Commercials. But I’m not a big crier. Decaf makes me cry. My grandchildren make me laugh. Mostly, I laugh at myself.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
So many people…but currently, I’d love to meet midwife Jane Sharpe. It was so unusual for a woman to be able to read, let alone write a book in the 1600’s. It’s such a fascinating mix of superstition and medicine, and it’s clear that she was extremely well-read, and generally didn’t. And one tough cookie.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to dance-70’s and 80’s music, please! Singing makes me very happy. I’ve been working on repainting my gnomes. They look a little worse for wear right now. I have taken up the keyboard-I took two years of piano, and wish I’d never quit.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones, Outlander, loved Penny Dreadful. Just discovered Miss Fisher’s Detective Agency. I love the 1920’s era attitude and the costumes are so fun. Miss Fisher’s got moxy, and the writing is great.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Pizza, lettuce wedge salad, raspberry pink, and music? Sting, Basia, Debussy, celtic music from Anuna and Clannad, the Cure. I have playlists for my characters and certain emotions I want to immerse myself in.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Sit in a dark room and mutter to myself. I’d go insane.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
That Jennifer! She made us laugh!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, thanks so much for asking, and thanks for having me:
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Pinterest: Author Jennifer Taylor
Jennifer Taylor spent her childhood running wild on an Idaho mountainside. Although she’s lived across the U.S., she’s still an Idahoan at heart and a notorious potato pusher. Music plays a big role in her historical romance series, and she can often be heard singing at her desk…unless she’s writing a midwifery scene, where screaming is more appropriate.
Jennifer feverishly lobbies for the return of breeches and would love to see her husband of thirty-four years in a pair.
She lives in rural Florida with her husband and an entitled Great Dane.