Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Farrah Taylor

Do you write in different genres?

Yes, I write romance fiction, young-adult, and middle-grade (which is just a little younger than YA) fiction.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I don’t have a favorite. They’re all great!

LOVE SONGS was my first romance novel, and the style and approach took a little getting used to. The first forty pages came easily, and didn’t change a whole lot in future drafts, but I got a bit stuck just at the point the plot really needed to take flight.

I don’t want to say “rules,” but there are a lot of guidelines an author needs to follow in order to give readers and the highs and lows they yearn for when picking up a contemporary romance. And thankfully, I had a great editor, Stacy Abrams at Bliss, who helped me understand how to hit those spots and craft a better story.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

This was fun. My mom is a novelist and poet, and teaches poetry to middle-school kids. I asked her to help me brainstorm titles, and she came up with LOVE SONGS FOR THE ROAD, which I loved! (Luckily my editor, Stacy Abrams, loved it, too.)

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

The working title for the book was the much trope-ier THE ROCK STAR NANNY. I liked the double meaning there—Ryan is both the rock star’s nanny, and she’s a total rock star as a nanny. So in a sense I did come up with the title before writing the book, but then the title changed later, and I’m glad we came up with something slightly literary. I hope the book is both a trope-filled page-turner for lovers of romantic fiction and a story that might click with readers of other kinds of contemporary women’s fiction.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t think in terms of messages, because I don’t want my storytelling to be preachy. But I was definitely conscious of wanting to look at social media and how it impacts privacy and relationships. LSFTR’s two main characters are a celebrity and a “normal person,” and both of them have been scarred by the way their relationships have been picked apart on Facebook and Twitter. I hope their experiences will resonate with readers.

What book are you reading now?

Believe it or not, I’m reading Moby-Dick. It’s probably the most revered book in American literary history, and I’d never read it, so I knew I wanted to at least try. Honestly, it’s been a bit of a nightmare. I read 300 pages of it in 2011, then put it down, and never picked it up again. I started over in August, and now I’m closing in on the last 150 pages of the book (it’s 624, total…believe me, I checked).

I can’t say I’m enjoying it, exactly. There’s very little story, and about 80% of it is tangents. At a point of frustration, I bought a Kindle version of a tiny little book called Why Read Moby-Dick? (which is a question I ask myself every other paragraph!), and that has helped provide some context.

There are some great passages, and I loved the first fifty pages or so, where Ishmael shares a bed with Queequeg (this book was way ahead of its time, people!), but I wouldn’t do it again, unless it was with a book club with a case of white wine and a half-dozen of my best girlfriends.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I’m working on a young-adult novel (or middle-grade, I’m not sure yet) about a boy who was born blind but is extremely gifted, both musically and intellectually, to the extent that he almost has super-powers. It’s a realistic book, though. His name is Laeth. And he will fall in love! I’m just not sure with whom, yet.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

Jessica Cantor, who happens to be my editor Stacy Abrams’ sister (the book was copyedited by their mom, Nancy Cantor!). I think Jessica did a great job in finding just the right photo that captured the summery setting of the book. She’s had a lot of practice, having designed every Bliss cover since the imprint started in 2012.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to writers is to complete projects, whether or not your work is published, or not. Novelists, especially, are guilty of nearly killing themselves to complete a first draft, then putting it down and never returning to it. What they might not realize is that they’ll learn just as much as they transform the book from first draft to second draft as they did when starting with the blank page, and that the book will become so much better if they take that next step.

Other novelists write a million drafts of their first novel, endlessly revising without either publishing the book or moving on to another project. To them, I say, let go and move on. Your second novel will be better than your first, and your third, hopefully, will be better than your second. Complete your project to the best of your ability, and go on to the next idea.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

I know it’s a big trend to do book soundtracks now, but I couldn’t not do one for a book called LOVE SONGS FOR THE ROAD.

The hero of the story is Marcus Troy, an internationally known rock star with a heart of gold, but a complicated past. Though Marcus was named after a friend of my husband’s (yes, Marcus Troy is his given name), when I wrote him I was thinking a lot about Chris Martin, who seems like a smart guy and a good dad who didn’t chase fame, but was simply too talented not to become famous. So I had to put some Coldplay on here, and in fact I thought about “Hurts Like Heaven” as a possible title for the book. Most of the other songs are thematically right for LOVE SONGS, but I didn’t over-think it. I just wanted to create a mood, and while I picked a mix of contemporary and vintage tunes, it was hard not to notice that mid- to early-90s songs seemed to work quite well. Who knows why? It was a more carefree time, perhaps.

There are a couple great road-trip songs on here by Liz Phair and Deer Tick, and some super-cheesy anthems like Jon Secada’s “Just Another Day.”

There’s also a real-life, never-released song, “I Lock the Door,” by a band I loved in the 2000s called The Foster Family. This song and its lyrics feature heavily in the plot of LSFTR so I hope readers will enjoy discovering that it’s a real song.

Anyway, I hope everybody enjoys listening to this…I sure had fun putting it together!

“When You Were Young” – The Killers

“Just Another Day” – Jon Secada

“Wicked Game” – Chris Isaak

“These Arms of Mine” – Otis Redding

“20 Miles” – Deer Tick

“Divorce Song” – Liz Phair

“I Lock the Door” – The Foster Family

Love Songs For the Road
Farrah Taylor

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing - Bliss

Date of Publication: January 13, 2014

ISBN: 9781622661640

Number of pages: 220

Cover Artist: Jessica Cantor

Book Description:

A rock star. The nanny. A love that could rock their world.

The only thing rock star Marcus Troy loves more than making music is his kids. So finding just the right nanny to take on tour with them is important—as is proving to his ex he deserves joint custody. Falling for his employee wouldn’t just be fodder for the paparazzi: it could ruin everything.

Too bad the perfect nanny turns out to be beautiful, vibrant Ryan Evans. Ryan’s never left her small Montana town before, so she jumps at the chance to see the country. And as much as accidental fame doesn’t gel with shy Ryan, what does is her relationship with her capricious, smoking-hot, shockingly good dad of a boss. Marcus is nothing like what she expected. But when the whole world’s watching them, will life in the spotlight be too hot to handle?

About the Author:

A reading specialist with a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education, Farrah Taylor has taught first grade in Northwest Montana for over a decade. She is thrilled to be publishing her first novel, Love Songs for the Road. Farrah, a lifelong music lover who has spent far too much of her savings on concert tickets, is glad to finally be seeing a return on the investment. She lives with her husband, Ty, and son, Latham, in Polson, Montana. 

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