Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi all! My name is Taylor Hobbs and I’ve published two books (so far) with The Wild Rose Press.
My first book is called Cloaked and it is about a criminal-in-training who yearns to crack her mentor’s guarded façade but is unprepared to confront his dark past. As Charlotte’s sense of right and wrong blurs, she discovers just how far she will go for him and the sacrifices he requires.
My recent release is called Sonder Village and it is about a disgraced painter who buys an abandoned village in Spain. Remy tries to rebuild the ruins of her property and her life, but dangerous secrets dating back to a Galician military coup in 1846 refuse to stay buried.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
The idea behind Sonder Village was based on a news article I read in 2015 about entire abandoned villages up for sale in Spain. All the properties seemed to have a rich history and a story to tell. This concept also provided the perfect opportunity for me to play with setting as a character!
How do you deal with creative block?
Read, read, read! There are so many wonderful stories out there. I like to read novels twice—once for the immersive experience, and again to learn from them. It helps me as a writer to break down why I love a certain story. What makes it work? What character traits draw me in? How is it paced? Then I turn a critical eye to my own story and can finally see where it is lacking. Once I’ve identified the block, it is easy to remove, and the story can flow again!
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Letting your readers down with a poor ending. A person is dedicating precious time and energy to follow this imaginary adventure and trusting that the author will help them navigate safely through it. The worst thing an author can do is betray that trust by pulling the rug out from underneath a reader. This includes character arcs that don’t make sense, cliffhangers with no sequel, and “it was all a dream.” A quality ending does not need to be a happy ending by any means, but it needs to feel complete and worthwhile. Growth must happen because otherwise what was the point of the book?
How has your creation process improved over time?
Writers usually fall into two groups—pantsers and plotters. ‘Pantsers’ fly by the seat of their pants when drafting a story. The idea behind this method is that they are free to follow creativity’s whimsy wherever it takes them. ‘Plotters’ break down key points in their narrative—story arc, chapters, and scenes—and methodically work through them one by one until the novel is done. The whole story is laid out from beginning to end before the draft is started, which doesn’t leave as much room for bursts of inspiration.
I pantsed my way through my first two novel attempts and, unsurprisingly, they were a mess. They were necessary to hone my craft, but those books will never see the light of day. Once I decided to get serious about writing a novel that would get picked up by a publishing house, I realized I had to change my approach. Another author recommended a great workbook called Writing the Breakout Novel and it elevated my writing. I tried the workbook for the first time with Cloaked, and that story became my debut. Writers, don’t be afraid to change up your process if you aren’t seeing the results you want!
What are your plans for future books?
I’m almost done with a book called What I Would Do For You. It is about what happens to a family when a child can never grow up. It is a dual narrative focusing on a mother with two daughters, the eldest of whom has severe disabilities. The story navigates the complicated bonds of sisterhood amid an uncertain future. I’ve been wanting to write this story for a long time, as my own older sister has profound disabilities.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I live on a 38-ft sailboat with my husband, daughter, and dog! We are currently located in North Carolina due to the military, but we will be setting sail for some long-term cruising around the Caribbean within the next year. I blog about our family adventures at www.cannonstocruising.com