Author Interview: A. K. Taylor

The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of war and presently in a stalemate.

Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to up the ante and break the stalemate into their favor. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and contains a legendary and otherworldly evil within it. Not only that, she becomes trapped there and must escape the world, the people within it, and the sinister evil within.

Neiko must find her way back home and turn the tables on her enemies. Can she come back home and escape the evil that seeks to claim her?

Purchase Neiko's Five Land Adventure:
Tell us a little about yourself.

I really love being outdoors. That’s where I am when I am not at my computer writing. If it was feasible, I would have my writing desk outside. I enjoy beekeeping, just about any science, and outdoor sports and activities, archery, and target shooting (in the backyard). I wrote my first book when I was 16. I did short stories and poems before that. I also love to draw and color, so I am a bit of an artist as well. I am also a musician that played the French horn since middle school. I never pick anything easy to do; I seem to love to be challenged or I get bored. I’m addicted to action and chocolate.

What are your pet peeves (dislikes) in life?

Not too much of a fan of disorder or disorganization in any sense of the word. I don’t really like being spontaneous. I hate getting to anything late—if anything, I like to be early.

What is the best gift anyone has ever given you?

I guess it would be my laptop computer. That is what I write and do everything on. It was given to me by my husband when we were dating. It was something I always wanted and I wanted to be able to “write on the go”. I really do that.

Why do you write?

I write because I love doing it, and it is a way to channel my vivid imagination. Through writing I can share my imaginative ability with others, definitely with kids and teens…and some adults who appreciate imagination.

Does your mood affect your writing? If so, how?

Oh yeah, it does. It shows up in my writing whether I want it to or not. My sentence structure, word choice, and other things reflect my mood. When I go back for a proofread, I can remember how I felt when I wrote this and change it (if necessary) of how it’s ‘supposed to be’ or add/take away content. Sometimes my mood changes and when I get started I get into the ‘zone’. When I am in a good mood and the zone, that’s when I do my best. If it’s just not working that day, I put it aside and do something else. The last thing I want is contrived writing! I don’t like it that way!

The best thing about being a writer is…

…that I can do what I like best which is writing. I write a lot. I can write a lot of things, but for my books I pretty much stick to fantasy/science fiction action adventure. I can write just about anything, except romance. I lean too much toward the action adventure sort of things in regards to fiction since that’s what I like as a reader. I like a little romance since it can also drive the adventure, but I don’t want to focus on that as much. I like to build worlds with people and animals with my imagination and transfer them to paper or the computer.

The worst thing about being a writer is…

…not being understood by some people including family. They don’t really understand what it takes to be a writer or understand what I am doing half the time. It can be frustrating sometimes since they think I don’t do anything. Sometimes I wished I could trade places for a day.

In one sentence, what is your book about?

A war and a series of unfortunate events let’s Neiko find out that what she thought she imagined is real and she gets trapped there and must escape…

What gave you the idea for this story?

The story was based on my own child adventures in the woods and the backyard. I had the idea of combining the worlds and the thought of “what would I think if I found out that they were real?” came to mind. From this idea it just grew from there. This book is a just a gateway and a glimpse of what is to come later on.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about a year and I half. I would have finished sooner, but since I was in high school, I had to work around school, homework, and band practice, and family. I didn’t really have “friend interruptions”.

Describe the process you took to write it.

Since I was just a teenager I had to teach myself how to write a book. I lived in a small town so there were no workshops or writers groups, and I didn’t know anyone else to talk to. Teenagers rarely or don’t go to things like that. I studied how other books were written and applied basic grammar rules and researched dialogue in the books and a teacher taught a little about it in school. After that I took that knowledge and my ideas and just did it. I would brainstorm and then write that down. Developing characters, settings, and the character’s voices were easy for me since I had been doing that in play already the narration took a little time to find, but I figured it out. I even drew the characters and colored them so I took character development to a new level. Even when it was finished it was far from perfect. I made changes over the years until I finally published it. I almost never did.

What is the target audience for your book?

Middle grade and young adults (ages 7-14)…I must add in the adults who are big kids at heart as well since they like it as much as the target audience does.

What have people said about your writing?

People have said my writing is interesting, action packed, original, inspired imagination, and vivid. Adults have even mentioned that my writing has taken them back to their childhood and reminded them about their own imaginations.

How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

I want them to love to go on another adventure with Neiko and her friends. I want them to remember the characters, even though there are a lot of them. MG and YA really like the host of unique and memorable characters, and that’s the way it was when I was that age. I want them to hate who they’re supposed to hate and love who they’re supposed to love. I would like readers to tell me who they love best and why.

What’s your next writing project?

My next writing project, as far as this series is concerned, is Escape From Ancient Egypt which will be released sometime this year. Something happens in Neiko’s Five Land Adventure that leads to this one. What happens in this story will have consequences on down the road and each story is tied together. I hope to also participate in IBC anthologies and I have a small nonfiction book coming out sometime this year. I will also begin writing Book #5 Trapped in Ancient Qari as well.


Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of five Kindle copies of "Neiko's Five Land Adventure"!!

Deadline is 11:59 pm EST, April 27, 2012.

Winners will be announced on April 28!

A.K. Taylor is a YA fantasy/science fiction adventure writer who has been writing since age 16. Taylor also draws her characters and designs her covers and illustrations which she also began at 16. Taylor has also written a nonfiction piece about self promotion. Learn more about A.K. at her facebook page, on twitter, or at her book blog.

Review: Summoned

"Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental" by Susan Leigh Noble

File Size: 414 KB/630 KB
Language: English
BN ID: 2940011465079
Purchase: Kindle, Nook

There are some interesting concepts in this book and some slightly different takes on the normal fantasy genre. For me though it’s more a young adult book as the plot was not as deep as I normally enjoy but it was simple to follow and you don’t have to decipher what is going on at any point in the book.

I found the main character, Lina, likeable and at points I was really drawn into the book. Oddly the character that interested me most was not a big part in the book, a young lad called Coy who I did enjoy. He has a lot of potential and I hope he is used more in the books that follow.

I liked Summoned; the characters are enjoyable the combat simple to follow and the plot unfolds easily as you read on.

I didn’t enjoy the excessively short sentences early on but as the book progressed the author’s confidence did and they started to disappear.

For a fantasy book it’s fairly short at around the 80,000 words mark. This said it told the story well and did not need to be any longer. The prologue really piqued my interest and now the characters are established I hope there is more of this to come in the later books as I am a big dragon fan.

A good opening book, with potential to build as the series grows but for me it fits better as a young adult fantasy book and in this category it fits well.

Reviewed by: C.P. Sennett

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

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Review: Seven Point Eight

"Seven Point Eight (The First Chronicle)" by Marie Harbon

File Size: 769 KB
Pages: 456
Publisher: Magnetic Lion Productions; 2nd edition (June 1, 2011)
Language: English
Print ISBN: 978-1-46107248-5
Purchase: Kindle, Paperback

This book was a very intense read. With so much specifics into quantum physics it can be easy to get lost in. However, the real trouble I had with this book was how jumpy it was between points of view and even decades. I often had to reread the beginning of a section over again to realize whose story I was reading. The story also breaks up between 3rd person narrative and what seems like a personal diary account from the characters themselves. I did think it was an interesting touch that added some great insite into the characters, but it was just a little abrupt in delivery.

In essense, this is almost two stories molded into one. One story, that follows Ava, takes place in the 1980's and beyond a hidden (and unexplained) clue at the very end of the book, I have no idea how she relates to the other story (the real meat of the story it seems) that takes place in the 50's and 60's, with the characters Paul, Tahra, and Max. I wish Ava's story had continued as it simply stopped but I do know that this is the first in a series so I'm sure she will return and readers will learn how she relates to Paul, Max, and Tahra. All of the characters were developed well, in backstory and progression.

Now, despite all that, I did enjoy reading this book. No doubt the author put extensive research into the story as there is so much scientific detail. While sometimes it felt the science dragged the story with long monologues of explanation, at the same time, it helped me to understand the later events that related to it.

There wasn't a lot of 'action' in the book, the tension coming from the "unknown" factor, playing well against the emotional state of the characters. I do look forward to reading more of this series to find out more about the characters and how the story ends.

Reviewed by: Anastasia V. Pergakis

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.