Author’s Spotlight: Taylor Harding-Jenkins Interview

Taylor Harding-Jenkins, author of Free Expensive Lies and He Fell from Venus

1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

Well, my name is Taylor. I am an anonymous writer, so obviously Taylor isn’t my real name. I am anonymous for the reason that I have been targeted by a bullying campaign and I do not want to be the target of any new hate on social media, especially given the fact that Instagram or Facebook or whatever Dorsey or Zuckerberg’s fabulous creation is a limitless space of hate towards people like me. I was born in France, but I identify as a British citizen. And I am also a trans woman. This is another reason why, for my protection, I prefer remaining anonymous. And, well, about me, I love running, walking, playing video games on my free time, and I will pass my pilot licence in a few years. Still saving money for it. I hope to pass my professional pilot licence afterwards. And I am also skilled in, let’s say, “manipulation”. I am a manipulator. But a good one, I am not evil. I’m even trying to democratise this, so… like Charlotte, I should say that I am a master manipulator, but this is more into, erm… showbiz purposes. I am not using my skills on my everyday life.

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

So, my recent book is about the story of a master manipulator. It was initially published last February but withdrawn because we found an agreement with a publisher, but I broke the contract. The book is called Free Expensive Lies Act I, it’s a series that I started working on whilst in France back in 2013, and we are finally to publish it within days. There will be two versions, the Highlight, made of 150,000 words for those who are not courageous enough for going through the Integral version, made of 290,000 words. It is a psychological thriller, but completely different of everything that is currently on the market. I mean, I never really paid attention to any other works; I just write for fun and to vent, this is why I never really pay attention to any other writer’s work.

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

Charlotte is my main character. Well, she’s a bit like me: fearless, allergic to the human race, doesn’t care to say out loud what she really thinks, and knows that she’s the best so people cannot do anything without her. I think she’s somewhat the reflect of myself, fearless, attached to my convictions, and most importantly, anti-system, but not anarchist, she loves the truth beyond everything, even if she has to use lies and manipulation to reach what she wants. Clearly, Charlotte and I grew up together as I depicted her in my previous book, He Fell from Venus, and we brought a lot to each other. And her strength is, she’s a strategist and a warrior, meaning she will always fight for her interests and what she thinks is right, and protecting whomever she loves. And that’s also her weakness, love. I guess Charlotte is the result of my depression caused by my gender dysphoria, but surprisingly, we grew up and learned from one another a lot.

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

Yeah. I guess the scene when she is raped. I lived it through personal experiences, but I won’t talk about it.

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

Well, I had an agent. And he was talented enough to convince me to actually self-publish. Like I said, I am not someone following the trends and the rules, I write for myself, for my readers, not for an agent who will make profit of it. This book is my book, my text, so intends to whatever I want of it. Not having it cut by an agent or a publisher for commercial purposes and making me one of those countless New York Times Bestseller.

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

Well, everything, and everyone was against me in this 10-years adventure. After, 10 years are very long, I went through so many things, starting from my transition, passing from the loss of my father caused by the French government’s corruption, to my rape, to that bullying campaign, this book clearly helped me to pull my head out of those dark waters. I couldn’t imagine that 10 years, my life would be changed that much but, in the end, I think writing is a personal thing, it’s like intimate. It helped me to challenge all those events in my life and find a way to the light. So, my advice for other writers is, just write. Write to soothe your pain. It fucking works.

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

No I’m trying to make a series. Like, Act 1, the Act 2 is written and ready but will be published in 2024 (obviously, unless Putin does not invade the entire Europe in between), and I plan to go through all Charlotte’s life in 8 different acts. I plan to publish one act every 2 years. In between, I’ll probably focus on some standalone, but… I already have a busy life, so it may be hectic.

8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

I have no favourite authors since I do not read fictions. Believe it or not, but I genuinely hate fiction. My readings are mostly scientific treaties, or political treaties. I recently read On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, my favourite books are by far The Prince by Nichollo Machiavelli and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. To be honest, regarding fiction, my expectations are ways too high and I don’t think an author other than me can reach those. For me, reading must be useful and bring you something. But I find JK Rowling absolutely talentless, this obviously disregards her latest comments; Stephen King as bland and, well… Reading the mention on the cover “The blah blah blah bestselling author” is repulsing me right before enjoying a real book. It’s another reason why I hate the classic system and literary agents, they make a world of enjoyment appallingly competitive and it’s disgusting.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

Well, only the future will say.

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

No, I mean, I am not at all a politically correct person in my life. If I have to say fuck off to someone, I will do it right in his face, I don’t give a fuck. The things I cannot stand are racism, homophobia, transphobia, any potential thing or reason on why a human may justify their hate for another human being. Regarding writing styles, well… not really, I’m open to everything, as long as it doesn’t make me yawn and close the book three pages later. #HarryPotter.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

No. I do not read reviews. And I dismiss them. People are absolutely entitled to their opinion, but they should bear in mind something: before throwing something at an author’s face, they should probably try to dig deeper and try to find out the reason on why and what made that book. I wrote my book, and I am the sole author of my book. I do not force people to love me. If they do, I’m okay with it, if they don’t, they can kiss my arse. I write for myself before everything, for my well-being, I do not write book to swallow dicks or comments or anonymous hate from a woman having her periods or a random guy who wants to be an arse for free. Because, generally, reviews aren’t positive and motivated by a certain hate.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

Well, I don’t plot. But I have some ideas in mind, I usually work on my scenes when I close my eyes on night before sleeping. And then I write them the next day or when I can. Regarding music, well, I’m kind of listening to everything, but I love Mozart. He’s my baby boy, especially his “Requiem” or my favourite opera, “The Magic Flute”. And, yes, I write most of the time on my iPad, but when I’m settled or when I’m off, I like going to my nearby Caffè Nero and write on my MacBook Air. Yeah I am a fan of Apple too…

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

Just listen to your heart and that’s all that matters. Write for a purpose. It’s the most important.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

So, I’m finishing Free Expensive Lies Act II, and, well, I’ll have an entire year to edit it the way I want, then I need to proof it, then… a lot of work ahead. In the meantime, I recently got promoted in my job as a manager so it takes a certain time, and, I want to save money for my pilot licence, my gift for the publication of Free Expensive Lies II. Without disclosing my age, I always said that, once I turn 30, I want to be in the commands of an A320. And I am a woman of my words, so, I will do it.

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

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