Taylor Bennett is a seventeen-year-old author whose debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, was released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1. Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor is also an accomplished violinist. She enjoys reading, writing, and taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She also loves to connect with readers on her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Listen to the song inspired by Porch Swing Girl.
What started you on your writing journey, and how old were you at the time?
I started on my writing journey before I even knew how to write. When I was young, I would spend hours scribbling pages of gibberish and stapling them into stories. By the time I actually knew a bit about spelling and story structure, I was writing short stories for family and friends.
I got serious about my writing at the age of thirteen, when I wrote my first “novel,” which was little more than a collection of unengaging conversations between girls at a boarding school. Still, my love for writing and my determination to become an author was solidified. Two years later, I first got the idea for my debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, and I began to write.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that blesses us more than our original plan. Have you experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Absolutely!! Ever since I was young, I planned on going to college and getting my degree, just like my parents did. Now, in my senior year, I’ve decided to forgo the traditional route. I still have two (hopefully more!!) books to write, and I would hate to be unable to give them — or college — my full attention.
It was a hard decision to make, especially since everyone told me it was a bad choice, but I eventually had to trust that God had everything all worked out. Now that I’ve made that decision, I can see His hand in it. I’m content in where I am now, and I’m excited to see what else He has planned for me!
Let’s talk about your new book, Porch Swing Girl (Mountain Brook Ink, May 2018)! Please tell us about it.
In Porch Swing Girl, teenager Olive Galloway is desperate to leave her grandmother’s house in Hawaii and follow her dad back home to keep him from doing anything drastic. The entire family is grieving after the death of Olive’s mother, but Olive is sure her dad will destroy everyone’s life, if he’s left to his own devices.
Trying to find a way back home, Olive ends up working at the Shave Ice Shack with one of the local kids, and she forms a few fast friendships. But, when one of her new friends reveals a terrifying secret, Olive must make a choice that will cost her everything.
What led you to write this particular story—and the series?
After realizing that my first “novel” was nothing more than a good learning experience, I entered a creative dry spell. None of my other ideas for stories really excited me…until I woke up one morning with the words Porch Swing Girl running through my head.
Instantly intrigued, I couldn’t help but wonder who this girl on the porch swing was. After an early-morning walk-turned-brainstorming-session, I had a basic plot outline formed, and I was ready to write. I actually never considered turning it into a series, until later.
When I met my publisher, Mountain Brook Ink, they were excited by Porch Swing Girl, but they wanted more — they wanted a trilogy! I was surprised and thrilled — I had already spent so much time with Olive and my other characters, I was eager to spend more time with them.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Carbs! Carbs are my comfort food. Bread, rolls, cake, fries…it doesn’t matter — I love them all! If I had to choose, though, my sweet tooth would probably take over — I absolutely love cake with vanilla buttercream and vanilla ice cream. Yum : )
What is your favorite Bible passage or story?
I love Jeremiah 1:4-10! It’s such an encouraging bit of scripture, and it really inspires me. I love being reminded that God put His words into the mouth of Jeremiah, who was most likely only a teen at the time, and enabled him to be a prophet to the nations. Since I was also young when I began using my words to tell stories that (hopefully) inspire others, this passage means a lot to me.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I like to think that I’m a super heroine behind dark glasses, but that thought right there is proof that I’m really still a little girl trying to walk in high heels!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any.
I have a super sweet chocolate lab mix, as well as a green parakeet named Pippin (no, it’s not a Hobbit reference) and a cuddly calico cat I’ve had ever since I was a toddler. I’m a big cat person, though, so I’d say I spend the most time with my cat.
Thank you, Taylor! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
Thank you for having me! I had a lovely time : )
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