On Monday, I asked for your writer story. I wanted to know how you got into the world of writing, what you write now, and what you love and hate about writing.
I’m pleased to say that I received some incredible stories. It wasn’t easy to choose just one, but I fell in love with the story of Stephanie and Holland Taylor, a mother-daughter author duo from Portland, OR.
I know you’ll want to keep up with them at www.redbirdsandrabbits.com. Sharing is caring, so be sure to share this writer story.
I’ve been writing forever, but things took an interesting turn last year when I started co-writing with my 11-year-old daughter. She had an idea for a series about girls her age who come to America to start a new life. From that original idea, we created The American Dream series. Each book centers on a young lady from another country who moves to the U.S., and we’ve had an amazing time—truly, it’s been filled with so much laughter and joy for both of us—researching, drafting, revising, and editing together. Our first manuscript is just days away from publication (our goal is to have it out there this weekend!), and we’re thrilled with the book cover we’ve commissioned, the way the story and characters have taken shape, and all of the fun we’ve had dreaming of our career as Very Serious Authors.
In all of the years that I’ve been writing, I have definitely leaned toward realistic, contemporary fiction; I just prefer it over all other genres. I’ve also discovered that—in spite of my dark sense of humor and a fascination with all things twisted—I am an eternal optimist. Give me cupcakes with sprinkles, phone cases covered in glitter, hot pink fingernails, and white sandy beaches. I don’t need your dark, dystopian fantasy worlds with monosyllabic teenagers fighting one another to the death for survival. Especially since I started teaching at-risk high schoolers, that gloomy future vision feels all too real to me, and I don’t want any part of it. I’d prefer to spend hours sitting shoulder to shoulder with my daughter, dreaming of a world where people are open to believing that we’re all citizens of the world. When I write on my own (because I still do), I want to live on a tropical island in the Gulf of Mexico with a colorful cast of characters as they try to welcome progress without destroying their own little slice of paradise. I want to watch as my multi-generational characters interact with one another, get into foibles together, court romance, and ultimately survive both the outside world and Mother Nature’s wrath—because all of that could really happen and I love that. Plus, it involves white sandy beaches, so…
As I enter my forties, I find that writing—and maybe, more importantly, learning about writing—has become my full-time hobby. The processes of discovery, research, revision, blogging, daydreaming, and finding inspiration are all totally enthralling, and I have honestly never loved writing more than the moment when I began to share it all with my daughter. No matter what happens with our mother-daughter writing adventure, we’re both having the time of our lives!
Do you see why I chose this story? Was it how much we have in common (love for the Gulf of Mexico, hot pink fingernails, and dark sense of humor)? Perhaps. But it was that Stephanie writes with her daughter. Writing is one of the most memorable, beautiful things we can do. To create stories together as a mother-daughter duo touched my heart, and I hope it made an impression on you.
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.