Rhode Island Authors Showcase – Featuring Kelly Swan Taylor!

The Rhode Island Authors Showcase is back! Each day in November, I’ll be featuring a different RI author. Each post features a giveaway – a book, an anthology, or something else! All you have to do to be eligible for the daily drawing is leave a comment on the blog post. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner one week after the blog post (to give you time to catch up).

By commenting on each post, you’re also entered to win our bigger prizes: GRAND PRIZE is a $250 Amazon gift card, BONUS PRIZE is a $100 Amazon gift card, and the CHEER UP YOU WON SOMETHING PRIZE is a $50 Amazon gift card. The big prizes will be chosen, again using a random number generator, on December 7.

Kelly Swan Taylor

Kelly is our next-to-last featured author, and I had some questions for her:

Where is your hometown? Providence, Rhode Island (although I moved around a lot growing up, so I don’t really have one)

What genre(s) do you write? Contemporary, Sports-themed, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense – Middle grade and young adult (my sweet spot is the gap between MG & YA: upper middle grade/lower young adult)

What have you written? The Winning Ingredient – YA (2021) (holiday novella releasing later this year: Mistletoe & Pandoro); The Wright Detective series – MG (Nancy Drew-inspired mystery series): Book One: The Mysterious Locker Notes (2022), Book Two: The Trophy Case (2022), Book Three: A Haunting in Greeneville (2022)

Who are your favorite authors? Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series), Melissa Payne (Memories in the Drift), Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me)

What were your favorite books growing up? Sherlock Holmes, Choose Your Own Adventure, Nancy Drew. And any “teen” series book (these inspired me to write the books that I do)

What do you like best about writing? The first draft process is my absolute favorite part of writing. I am a pantser, so I never plot anything out (even the mystery, thriller stories I write). This allows the story and the characters to develop on their own. I love discovering the plot and seeing how my characters evolve.

What do find most challenging about writing? I’m a perfectionist, so making sure the final draft is as “perfect” as possible is what stresses me out the most about publishing. Over my short time as an author, I am slowly learning to give myself more grace and accept that I am human. In the end, as long as my readers connect with my stories and characters, that is what is important.

Where do you draw your inspiration? Because I am a kidlit author, I draw a lot of inspiration from my own wonderful childhood. I had a lot of freedom to explore my world and be creative. I also moved around a lot, so my circle of friends and experiences is widespread. Most of my novels take place in fictional worlds that I can craft and therefore create deep roots for my characters. I didn’t have those roots as a kid, so I am now able to design them myself from the ground up. Also, I played a lot of sports as a kid and am a runner and marathoner. So, most of my books have at least a hint of sports action in them. This emphasizes teamwork, goal setting, and a positive environment for mentorship—great lessons for kids.

You’ve just been given the chance to collaborate on a book with Rebecca Stead. What’s the title going to be? Rebecca Stead is a Newbery award winner who writes kidlit. Therefore, it would be a dream to collaborate with her. I’m not sure of a title yet because that usually reveals itself during the writing process. But it would be fun to work together on an upper middle grade contemporary story with a bit of mystery, very much like The Wright Detective. What I love the most about Rebecca’s writing is that she always gives her characters the freedom to explore their worlds and just be kids. I once read that she set her Newbery winner, When You Reach Me, in the 1970s because it was a simpler time where kids could safely be on their own and given more freedom. I grew up like this and try to do that with my characters. They are given the space and time to make mistakes and learn from them on their own. As a writer of contemporary fiction, I believe that there is magic in the everyday and that kids can be heroes in everyday life.

Learn more about Kelly and her books by visiting her website https://linktr.ee/KellySwanTaylor

Kelly is giving away both a copy of her young adult novel The Winning Ingredient and Book One in her sleuthy middle grade series, The Wright Detective: The Mysterious Locker Notes (plus bookmarks, etc.). For a chance to win, just answer this question: Who is/was your favorite fictional character you read about as a kid/tween/teen?

Kelly Swan Taylor is the author of the popular young adult novel The Winning Ingredient and the sleuthy middle grade series The Wright Detective. When she’s not concocting unique recipes in her kitchen or hovering over her keyboard, this attorney and former laboratory scientist spends her time as a competitive runner. With experience racing from sun-drenched Hawaii to frigid Iceland, her first publishing credit was in Simon & Schuster’s best-selling book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Running for Good, highlighting the historic 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons. Growing up immersed in beloved “Teen” novels, Kelly now crafts her own sweet stories that bridge the gap between middle grade and young adult fiction that is so often forgotten but so sorely needed in the market today. In fact, she is so passionate about bridging this gap that she founded the imprint Link Press, dedicated to bringing these stories back to young readers. As a believer that there is magic in the everyday, she has a soft spot for the kind and sincere yet flawed character, who tries to do the right thing, stumbles along the way, but eventually becomes a hero in everyday life. Kelly resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her architect husband, Jonathan, and her spirit animal and trusted kitty, Otto.