Q & A with Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of FOREVER, INTERRUPTED; AFTER I DO; and the brand spankin’ new, terrifically fabulous MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE (This interviewer gave it a solid five star review. :)), all published by Simon & Schuster/Atria/Washington Square Press. Her first book, FOREVER, INTERRUPTED, was included by Kirkus Reviews in “11 Debuts We Love” and was recently optioned for film with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Kirkus also named AFTER I DO a “must read.” Additionally, Taylor co-wrote the Hulu series Resident Advisors that was produced by Elizabeth Banks, and her essays have appeared in Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and xoJane among others. Thank you, Taylor, for joining us over here at WWWB. We’re thrilled to have you.
Let’s start from the beginning, your beginning.
Where did you grow up?
I was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and then moved to Acton, Massachusetts when I was twelve. Massachusetts feels like home, but I’m also very proud to be from Ocean City, MD.
What were you like as a kid? A teen?
As a kid, I was a total goody-two-shoes. But once my teen years hit two things changed: 1.) I became a bit of a ham and 2.) I discovered boys. Thankfully, I’ve found some balance since then.
Avuncular. So specific, so fun to say.
I can really get down on the dance floor.
Best meal you prepare?
It’s not really a square meal, but I make a mean chocolate éclair.
Do you always finish a book you’ve started or will you put one away you don’t like? Don’t worry, we won’t tell. :)
As I get older, I become more and more okay with the idea of putting a book down and moving on to one that grabs me.
Book on your nightstand right now?
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino. I started it last night and will finish it today because I am that obsessed. Everyone needs to read this romantic, juicy book.
Which writers inspire you?
Rainbow Rowell, Curtis Sittenfeld, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Jen Lancaster are all favorites of mine, but there really is no end to the books that make me think and, ultimately, lead me to becoming a better writer (and human.)
Your stories are utterly fresh, relatable, and compelling. Where do your ideas come from?
Thank you! They come from wanting to capture feelings and find answers more than anything. I tend to fixate on a question: Is there such a thing as fate? Or How would it feel to lose the love you just found? And then I extrapolate from there.
Is there a specific passion that fuels your choice of premise?
My passion is capturing what it feels like to love, be it romantic or otherwise. I love to watch two people realize what they meant for each other—and that goes across all media, books, TV, movies, personal essays; everything. I am endlessly inspired by both the tenderness that can exist between two people and the excitement of falling in love.
What are traits helped you make the journey from a woman writing stories for her friends to a bestseller with three books under her belt (and all the impressive rest)?
I think the big thing—and it's big—is to be ready to hustle. You have to be willing to ask for favors for opportunities that you might not have originally been considered for. You have to be willing to work hard before even getting paid. I wrote my first book on nights and weekends while I was working a full time job and you really have to believe in yourself. So many times, my goals have seemed embarrassingly big and I was too scared to tell anyone about them. It wasn't until I took myself seriously that anyone else did.
What does your writing process look like? How long does it take you to write a book?
I start with a premise and I know the ending before I begin writing. Everything else is to be determined. That’s what makes my first drafts so excruciating. I wake up every day unsure what’s going to happen in the story. Luckily, my first drafts only take about six weeks. That gives me a number of months to edit and refine.
Salty or sweet? Oh, God. No contest. Sweet. Always sweet.
Coffee or Tea? Again, no contest. Tea Lovers of the World Unite! I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen just for tea.
Movies or TV? Both! But I guess TV if I have to pick.
Eating in or eating out? Eating out but only because of the dishes. I love cooking.
Dog or cat? Dog! My dog is the love of my life, basically.
Night owl or Early bird? I think I’m a natural night owl who has been nurtured into early bird habits.
Thank you, Taylor, so much dropping in. Welcome to the WWWB family! We will be supporting and rooting for you forever more. We are so happy for you for all your success. Undoubtedly, there is much more to come, and no one deserves it more. :)
Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions...
Featured by People, Cosmo, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, and USA Today.
"Entertaining and unpredictable." -Kirkus
"A heartfelt, witty and scintillating journey from one parallel universe to another... I loved every word." - Renee Carlino, USA Today Bestselling Author