In the Spotlight: Interview with Abigail F Taylor

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Abigail F Taylor’s new novella, The Night Begins, will be released on February 7, 2023, as part of the Luna Novella series, by Luna Press Publishing. You can order it through the publisher’s website, or through all the usual retailers, in print and digital.

The YouTube launch for the 2023 novellas, is on YouTube, and you can watch it here.

Let’s start from the beginning. Who were the writers who inspired you to become an author?

My father, a poet, used to take me and my sister to readings and parties where everyone talked about their creative process and argued over the best books. It felt exciting to hear all these people dive deep into the etymology of languages. Gail Carson Levine, Donna Jo Napoli, and the Dear America series swept me up into these fantastic worlds with characters that felt so authentic and real that it was like a hand reaching out to me, and it solidified the desire in me to become a writer. I cherished the escape they provided and I knew I wanted to pay it forward.

What is the very first piece of fiction you ever wrote?

I was six-years-old and it was for a school assignment. The story had no plot, but I remember that it was about a duck who owned a ranch and performed rodeo tricks with his favorite horse.

What is the hardest part of writing, in your experience?

Spelling and grammar! I try my best but I’m a little dyslexic and attempts with self-editing are appalling. It’s particularly meddlesome when I get into a good writing flow and come to a word that looks strange or misused somehow. So, I’m put off track as I go searching through the online dictionaries. I’ve had to learn to just allow the mistake to exist and leave it until the chapter or scene is finished.

Tell me about your book, The Night Begins. What was the inspiration behind it?

I wanted to explore the devastating effects of toxic relationships and how difficult it is to split away, especially when there’s a deep, ingrained love for the abuser. What better way to explore such a difficult subject than to take the phrase, “they get under my skin” and make it into a blood-thirsty creature? So, I turned to all the familiar Celtic and Indigenous folktales I was raised on and started writing.

Think back at your debut book. How did you approach the ‘getting published’ process? Any tips, resources that you can share with our readers?       

The Night Begins is my debut and it wasn’t easy! I struggled getting through the trad-pub door with various contemporary paranormal fictions, eventually gave up on the path I was on, and searched for a different one. I set a goal for myself to write a genre that I didn’t think I was capable of doing well and to leave the query trenches behind. After over a decade with no success and several books shelved, I decided to approach publishers without representation from an agent. The success was immediate! I think a lot of times we get swept up in the idea of being an overnight ‘It Book’ that we forget there’s more than one road that leads to Rome. My big tips, then, are: Don’t be afraid to go without an agent. Write outside your comfort zone. Read outside of it, too. I’ve learned so much about pacing through the men’s adventure and romance categories, substance through classic literature, plot and character arcs through westerns, style with thrillers and mysteries, etc. Every genre has something incredible to provide the writers’ arsenal and they are all worth exploring.

What is your take on social media, when it comes to being an author? Do you think that an author should have at least one channel of communication with the readers?

Social Media is like going to a dive bar, meeting up with regulars and chatting about a bit of everything. It can be an incredibly useful tool to help readers and authors to connect and build relationships, which is wonderful! Like all the best dives, however, there’s going to be outbursts of drama that can seem fun to watch happen from the sidelines but it’s easy to get trapped in. Without social sites, I wouldn’t have met some of my dearest friends (artistic and otherwise) and I will continue to use them. It’s just one of those things you have to remember is a bit wild and will probably bite once and awhile.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently, I’m working on a new horror/dark fantasy novel set in the 1960s. The protagonist, a part Choctaw Vietnam vet, hitchhikes across the south with a defrocked priest, and a father-daughter monster hunting team, where they encounter cults and paranormal beasts along the way. I’m also working on a chapbook of poems and collections inspired by my grandparents and their childhood. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a historical setting!

Do you have other work coming out in 2023?

Not yet but who knows what the year ahead will bring!

You can order The Night Begins and the Luna Novella books, here.