Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Author Spotlight with Taylor Thomas

 Introducing the Author of Samhain Island...

Taylor Thomas

Taylor grew up outside of Washington D.C. in Prince George's County. She went to Catholic school her whole life and gained interest in the arts. In school, her accomplishments were winning a contest for year book cover, nativity scene drawings and door decorating contests. In college, she worked at Southern Maryland News Net where she interviewed various people throughout the region. She has written many manuscripts, most of them unfinished, and then decided to take her mother's advice and write a lighter, shorter book. That book was SAMHAIN ISLAND: Episode One which is part of a large volume of short novels yet to be published.  The series will be a group of Young Adult Halloween-centered short stories based around an impulsive city girl, a wisecracking Krampus and an overly perky girl from a family of monster hunters all stuck on the same spooky island.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor to learn more about her as a writer as well as her intriguing book series. 

Favorite Fictional Character? 
My favorite character changes from week to week. As of right now, I'd have to say Decim from Death Parade. His progression as a character was very well written and satisfying at the end. 

Your Current Read?
I'm currently re-reading DRACULA by Brian Stoker

Besides writing, I like illustration and researching ancestry

Who is a strong woman that inspires you?
I can't pick just one. All the women in my family are strong, hard-working, and successful in their passions and in taking care of their families. They all inspire me to make every day count.

If you could spend a day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My granddad

Do you have any hidden talents? 
I'm good at conflict resolution.

Things you keep at your desk?
Color sharpies and sticky notes. I also have a large binder in which I keep my notes for SAMHAIN ISLAND. It has everything from plot charts to royalty payments to marketing.

How long have you been writing and what initially inspired you to write?
I've been writing since I was twelve. It started when I would try to draw characters from T.V. shows and movies. I copied them, but then started to add my own little quirks to them, I started to make original characters and then added stories to them,

What's your cure for writer's block? 
I just write. The writing might be horrible when I don't feel inspired, but at least I'm writing.

What motivated you to write SAMHAIN ISLAND?
I worked in a Spirit Halloween store during my second year in college. October was hectic, but during August and September it was slow. I would stand at the counter or walk around just because it was the only thing to do when there were no customers. The decorations and costumes really got me into the Halloween spirit, so I started to think about different characters and stories. I put the idea on the back burner for a couple of months, and then started to work on it during the summer of 2015.

How long did it take for you to write SAMHAIN ISLAND?
It took me a month to write the first draft, and then I sent it off to my awesome editor, Michael Keenan. After I received his edits, I started the difficult process of rewriting and revising. The whole process took me four months while I was also working and going to school.

How did you come up with the title?
I'll give some background about Samhain (pronounced Sah-wen) before I explain the title. Samhain is related to Halloween. Samhain was a pagan festival marking the end of harvest season and was seen as a liminal time when spirits could more easily come into our world. Samhain was appropriated from invaders a few times, but overtime Samhain and the Christian holiday of All Saints / All Souls merged to create the modern holiday of Halloween. The reason my book is called SAMHAIN ISLAND is because of the fictional Maryland island the series is set on. It's kind of Salem-esque; it's known for it's urban legends and so-called monsters. That's all I can say for now.

Can you briefly share with aspiring writer's your publishing process?
I used Create Space, and loved it. The people there were very helpful if I ran into an issue. It was hard trying to format the cover, but I managed, and it turned out great.

Who designed the border?
I did, except for the border.

Are any experiences in your book based on someone you know or events in your own life? 
In my book series, the protagonist's family owns a video store. That draws from my life because my family owned a chain of video stores in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area from 1980 until about 2000 and then my father had an online movie rental business. I grew up around films and decided to incorporate that into my story. They say "write what you know" so I did. I feel like the video store in my novel gives a homey and warm feeling, a contrast to some of the darker themes presented in Samhain Island.
Another thing that draws from my life is the story of the Goatman which I mention in Samhain Island: Episode One. It's an urban legend from various states in the United States, but it is especially prevalent in Maryland. From what I was told as a child, the Goatman drives behind lone cars on the country roads of Prince George's Country outside of Washington D.C., where I grew up. My friend and I would always pretend he was behind us when my mom was driving down those old roads. I added that same feelings an urban legend can cause- mystery and creepiness- to my novel.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological or logistical) you faced bringing your story to life? 
The challenge I ran into when writing this book and writing the following books in the series was keeping track of the information I gave to my audience. I don't want to make continuity errors later.

What advice do you have for new writers?
Always write; doesn't matter if it's your own novel or fan fiction. It is just important that you always write and hone your skill.

 SAMHAIN ISLAND is riddled with conspiracy theories, urban legends and various monsters. This is the island Tremaine Boppel moved to with her family. She's happy to start over in a new town, but what's in that tower by her apartment? Why will the tenant never come out? She is about to unearth that there is more to this island besides silly stories and shadows.


Order SAMHAIN ISLAND: Episode One 
by Taylor Thomas (Click Link Below)


Barnes and Noble

Do you want a FREE copy of Charlotte Haines new book INTRODUCING CHARLOTTE?  


Charlotte Haines is an amazing author that I have interviewed and am going to review for an future Author Spotlight.  She was nice enough to let me share it with you for FREE, all we ask is that you post a review on SmashWords and mention my blog. I would also love to post your reviews on my blog as well and give you a shout out. After all we are a community and need to help each other out.

Email me or DM on Twitter @CherylAMnty23 and I will message you the code for your FREE ebook.

Just wanted to give a quick update on my own novel, Questioning the Universe before I sign off. I have had a very busy few weeks and haven't worked on it too much. I am nearing the point that finally I feel comfortable sending it off to be edited. 
As a writer is your work every truly done?

With that being said, as I wrote the last few lines of my book, I realized I am saying goodbye to Matt* all over again and have done so with a heavy heart. So I leave you with this important message....

Until Next #WednesdayBlogDay... May your week be full of love and inspiration. Always remember YOU MATTER! XoXo- Cheryl


  1. Enjoyed reading it :-) And thanks for the weekly greetings. Cheers!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed reading. I really appreciate your shout out. Hope you have an amazing day (or night)!

  2. Cheryl thank you for your comment my first book is about my life growing up with an abusive mother and how it shaped my life I wrote this book to help people and to let them know they are not alone I have a web page

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I applaud your subject matter and your willingness to share your story. I will check out your website. I hope you have an amazing day!