Interview: Brooke Taylor
Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: TCM commercial music
Brooke Taylor's debut novel, Undone, will be released later this month. Earlier this year, she and I started recommending books back and forth. Last month, Brooke interviewed me for the Class of 2k8 blog. Today, I'm interviewing her.
What started the story that became Undone?
It all started with a license plate that read CCCCCF8 (Seize Fate). I loved the abbreviation F8. (Little known fact: That is what all of the various Word documents with all the different versions of the story are named.) F8 had a gamer feel to it and that quickly gave birth to Serena, my introverted gamer girl main character. She and Kori kind of took hijacked the story from there.
How many revisions did the novel go through between the first draft and publication?
Well, there was F8old, and F8new, and F8suckyversion. Seriously, there were a lot of revisions. A lot. More than I'm willing to count and most all were self-induced. I think my agent pretty much saw a close version to what will be in print, but we even did a revision. And I did a minor one for my editor as well.
Without giving too much of your story away, did it or any of its characters endure big changes along the way?
The characters never really changed - Kori and Serena are exactly who they were when they first came to life for me. The plot changed though. The original version was paranormal, but while those aspects were commercially appealing, they really distracted from the heart of the story. I'm glad they never made it to the final version, but the final version would've never evolved if they hadn’t been there to begin with. Odd how that works out . . . or was it F8?
How did you become a member of the Class of 2k8?
One of my fellow writer friends, Teri Brown, sold her novel Read My Lips about a month before I did. She put her name on the list and told me she was waiting to hear back. I'd known about the Class of 2K7 and was quick to get my name on the list as well. I love the group because it is so diverse and yet we're also all in the same situation - trying to figure our way through the publishing maze.
Are you a part of any other writing groups? Are you a solitary writer, or do you actively seek feedback while writing something new?
I've got a great critique group. We call ourselves the Why? Eh? Err...s. Not only are we YAers but those are also the sounds we make when reading critiques. Even though I belong to the group, I'm more of a solitary writer. The reason is I revise a lot. (See above.) Seriously, I revise constantly. I'm revising my answer to this interview even now, and I'd feel bad if I asked someone to take the time to do a crit for me when there is a good chance I'll scrap the chapter completely. (Little known fact: My cut-out files are often about 4 times as long as the finished MS!) But even though I don't always ask for line-edit types of crits, I do appreciate getting feedback on my work. I listen to everything, and if I don't agree with it, I try to see why the point was brought up and come up with some way to address it.
Are you currently working on anything?
I am hard at work on my next project - but mum's the word. I can tell you this - it is undergoing revisions and more revisions.
Do you have a day job, or are you writing full-time? What was your favorite job as a teenager?
I do have a day job, but it is pretty boring. I'm kind of spoiled when it comes to exciting jobs so it has been kind of hard for me to have this boring day job. For example, my first real, got-it-all-by-myself job was when I was seventeen. I spent the summer working at a dude ranch in Colorado as a Wrangler. I led trail rides to the top of the Continental Divide. I also had to take part in a hokey talent show every week where I, along with all of the other wranglers, had to sing cheesy songs. (Little known fact: I was forced against my will to have my butt branded with the ranch's logo.)
You took me up on my recommendation of Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn. I'm so glad that you liked it!
You've improved my bookshelf tremendously. I just wish I could read as fast as you do!!
What books do you recommend in tandem with YOUR book? How do you think they connect to Undone?
So far I've recommended two books to people who've read mine and commented on it. I recommended Looking for Alaska to a male reader, because he loved Kori and I think Alaska and Kori could totally hang. I also recommended he read Shift by fellow 2k8er Jennifer Bradbury because he was looking for good YA reads for guys. And then for one of my fellow writer friends who was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed reading Undone even though it was a YA book and commented on how she really felt like she was back in high school I recommended Speak. (She's a fully converted YA devotee now - it's all about awareness.) Another book I would totally recommend any Undone fan is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume - the friendship between the two main characters is almost exactly like a friendship I had in high school - one that in many ways inspired Serena and Kori's friendship in Undone.
What are your ten favorite books of all time?
Looking for Alaska, Speak, and Summer Sisters are all on that list. The Beach, White Oleander, and several books by Elmore Leonard have blown me away. I don't think I've ever devoured a book faster than Twilight, and speaking of sexy vamps, Dracula was one of the first real books I read for pleasure (that wasn't set in Sweet Valley) and I read it and re-read it and read it again. The Chronicles of Narnia will always have a special place on my bookshelf. The Outsiders (Yes, I had a crush on all of them and memorized the poem, what of it?)
Visit Brooke's website.