Dream Interview of Taylor Dean a Best Indie Books of 2013 Finalist
September 20, 2013
[It’s that time of the year again when The New Kindle Book Review is running its Best Indie Books of the Year awards. Top five finalists for the 2013 awards in various genres were announced September 1, 2013. In keeping with our tradition established last year in the first year of the awards, we have asked each of the finalists who care to participate to provide us two pieces: a dream interview and a dream review. Although these will appear under my byline and Caleb Pirtle’s, the posts are the work of the finalist authors. We hope you enjoy them and use them as an introduction to the works of these fine writers.-SW]
Up next in the interview series is Taylor Dean, author of Sierra, a finalist in the Romance genre.
My dream interview with my favorite High School English Teacher
By Taylor Dean
Me: Hello, Mr. Peckham?
Mr. Peckham: Taylor? Taylor Dean?
Me: I’m surprised you remember me.
Mr. Peckham: Of course I remember you. You and your sister were two of my favorite students. And when one of my students becomes an author, I take notice. Congratulations on your success. My wife loves your books.
Me: Thank you. It was in your Advanced Writing class that I fell in love with English. I remember that I actually wanted to keep the workbook. I was ridiculously sad on the day I had to turn it in. You gave us the option to purchase it, but I remember not being able to afford it. Still to this day I wish I had that book.
Mr. Peckham: Seriously?
Mr. Peckham: I can’t say that anyone has ever said that to me before. Ever.
Me: I guess I should’ve known right then.
Mr. Peckham: Known what?
Me: That writing was the career for me.
Mr. Peckham: But, you didn’t?
Me: No. All the signs were there, but I didn’t recognize them.
Mr. Peckham: What were the signs?
Me: I was constantly making up stories in my head. To the point of distraction. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t.
Mr. Peckham: The world loves a daydreamer.
Me: That’s just it. I wasn’t exactly daydreaming. I was imagining my stories in my head as if I was writing them, word for word. All the time. Sometimes my stories kept me up at night.
Mr. Peckham: And that’s when you knew you should write?
Me: Nope. It never occurred to me. Then one afternoon I couldn’t stand it anymore. One of my stories wouldn’t stop playing in my head. I suddenly felt the need to commit it all to paper or else I would explode. At the time I was a young mother with four small children and I didn’t have much time for myself. I grabbed a pen and paper and hurriedly handwrote ten pages. I still have them and they’re awful.
Mr. Peckham: Yet that was the beginning.
Me: No, actually. Seventeen years passed before I revisited the idea of writing my stories. Nearly all of my children had left the nest. My youngest was gone all day at school and track. I wondered what I should do with my time. I’d always been a stay-at-home mom and I felt as though my job was leaving me. I decided I would try my hand at writing a children’s book, but then I remembered those ten pages sitting in my files. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to write that particular story. I had no idea if I could write a novel, but figured I’d give it a try.
Mr Peckham: And you did it. You became an author.
Me: Well, no, not really. I spent the next year writing every day, creating a monstrosity of a novel, 165,000 words long. It was so drama-filled, it would have exhausted the most loyal of reader. That’s when I learned to edit. But, I loved every single minute of it.
Mr. Peckham: So, that’s when you knew?
Me: Still no clue. I told no one I was writing. It was my little secret.
Mr. Peckham: What changed?
Me: My sister came to visit. When she found out I’d written a book, she put her hands on her hips and said, “I want to read your novel.” I finally gave in and nervously let her read it.
Mr. Peckham: Did she like it?
Me: She stayed up all night and finished it. She said she couldn’t put it down, that it was the best book she’d ever read. That’s when I knew.
Mr. Peckham: Not till then?
Me: Not till that moment.
Mr. Peckham: Which book was this?
Me: Sierra. It’s my personal favorite. I went on to write five more books before I finally felt brave enough to publish.
Mr. Peckham: Six books? That’s amazing.
Me: I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. I feel like a fraud.
Mr. Peckham: How so?
Me: I’m really just a stay-at-home mom having fun on her computer. That’s all.
Mr. Peckham: And I’m really just an average Joe with a penchant for English and a need to support my family. It doesn’t change the fact that I am an English teacher.
Me: Point taken. I’ve taken up enough of your time. It was great to see you.
Mr. Peckham: Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to hear from my former students . . . wait . . . before you go, I have something for you. (He walks to a cupboard and pulls out a book.) This is for you. I think it’s high time you owned your own English workbook.
Me: Thank you, Mr. Peckham. (My eyes fill with tears—I’ve wanted this workbook—dreamed of this workbook—for thirty years.)
As I’m walking out the door, Mr. Peckham stops me, “Taylor.”
Mr. Peckham: You are a writer.