Monday, April 23, 2018

Taylor Bennett on Porch Swing Girl

Taylor, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a seventeen-year-old daydreamer with a love for literature, music, travel, and, most importantly, my Lord Jesus Christ. I live in the beautiful state of Oregon with my mom and dad, as well as a handful of rambunctious animals. Though I’ve been telling stories since before I could write, I got serious about pursuing publication just before I entered high school. When I’m not writing, I’m most likely playing violin, taking walks, or snapping pictures for my Instagram.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My homeschooling experience was unique because of my amazing teacher—my mom. She was my first and only teacher, and she was the best one I could ever have asked for. When I “went to school” every day, she didn’t just make it educational—she made it fun. Though we weren’t one of those families where I studied science by feeding chickens and learned math by counting their eggs, I had plenty of hands-on educational opportunities.

I also had a lot of fun. We went on field trips to the beautiful Oregon coast and every week ended with a “Fun Friday,” where learning and playtime connected. I might have dressed up as a pioneer or Southern belle, then spent the day getting an in-depth look at life in a past era. Or maybe it was time for me to don a lab coat and become a mad scientist for a day…whatever my mom came up with was always a hit—and I was learning, too. Even if I didn’t always realize it.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Aside from allowing me to travel and explore the world more than a publicly schooled child, homeschooling prepared me to write by teaching me how to write. When I was about eight years old, my mom discovered the Institute for Excellence in Writing and I began studying English under the astute and sagacious Andrew Pudewa. After only a few years under his instruction, I was fully enchanted by the world of writing.

What caused you to start writing?
I started writing before I could write—when I was just a tiny toddler with a brain full of ideas and a love of stories. I would sit with a parent and dictate stories while they typed them up at the computer. When I was finally old enough to write by myself, I was indomitable. No one could keep me from scribbling out pages and pages of prose. I wanted to make my own stories—and more. The older I got, the longer my stories got, until I attempted my first novel at the age of thirteen.

What inspired Porch Swing Girl?
Porch Swing Girl was inspired by just that—the title. I woke up one morning with those three words rattling around in my brain. I’d been chasing after half-baked story ideas for weeks, trying to find one that I could grow into a full-fledged novel, but Porch Swing Girl—elusive as it was—was the first thing to truly spark my creativity. I spent a few hours asking myself questions about this strange girl on the swing. Before long, I knew exactly what I wanted to write.

Would you give us a synopsis?
 Of course! Here’s the back cover copy…a synopsis might give away too much šŸ˜‰

What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.

Who will enjoy Porch Swing Girl?
Porch Swing Girl will be enjoyed by teen-and-preteen girls who love contemporary fiction, as well as a good cry. While Porch Swing Girl is considered a YA book, the cleanness and lack of mature content make it appropriate for younger readers, as well. Girls who dream of traveling the world, walking on the beach, and trying new, unusual things, will be intrigued by the book’s Hawaiian setting. If readers are drawn to quirky characters with a bit of sass, they will fall in love with Olive Galloway, a grief-stricken teenager with a short fuse and a big heart.

Do you plan to write more books?
I absolutely plan on writing more books! Sand Castle Dreams, the sequel to Porch Swing Girl, is already in the works, and my publisher and I are throwing around ideas for a third book, as well. If Porch Swing Girl and Sand Castle Dreams both perform well in the market, we’ll discuss the possibility of another series, too!

Where can people connect with you online?
People can connect with me just about anywhere! I blog once-a-week-ish on my website, and I’m kind of an Instagram nerd. You can also find me hanging out on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m also working at getting my YouTube channel off the ground.
Do you have any final thoughts?

If you’re interested in learning more about Porch Swing Girl, you can read a sample for free by signing up for my newsletter. ( You’ll instantly be sent the first chapter. I know this might sound like a marketing ploy (okay…it kind of is…) but I promise I won’t flood your inbox with emails that beg you to buy my book. In fact…I have been known to forget that my newsletter even exists!

Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog!! I had a great time šŸ™‚