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Welcome to Heartstrings.Thanks for stopping by. I am an author of contemporary and historical romantic fiction. My contemporaries, Carly's Rule and Dusty's Fate, are both Amazon Best-Sellers. Ethan's Heart,book one of The Blackwood Brothers' series, will be released Dec. 6, 2016 followed by Escorting Darby Bloom in 2017. Stay tuned for more books in this series.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Heartstrings welcomes Skye Taylor, author of Falling For Zoe.

The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Sharon Drane for winning the $25.00 gift certificate to Amazon!

 
Welcome to Heartstrings Skye, and thank you for blogging here today. I want to congratulate you on the April release of your contemporary romance, Falling for Zoe. I've  heard great things about it. 

Vickie: I love the name of the town, Tide's Way, where your story is set. Is this a fictional town in North Carolina?

Skye: It's a fictional town, complete with a whole cast of fictional characters. But I know where it is, and I've been there. I chatted with some of the folk who live along that beguiling stretch of coastal North Carolina, visited downtown Wilmington, which is not far away, and found inspiration for some of the places and people that inhabit Tide's Way.

Vickie: What was the reason for setting the story in North Carolina?

Skye: Setting is always an important part of the book, whether it's a place in time or geography. None of the stories I've written have ever been set in a place I have not visited, even if it's a whole different century. I always want to love the place my books are set and coastal North Carolina is one of my favorite places, so it was on the short list. In Falling For Zoe, there is a hurricane churning up the coast, and that was the deciding factor for this first book in the series. But now I have this wonderful little town of Tide's Way and a whole cast of characters I love, who all have stories of their own begging to be told.

Vickie: While reading the "From the Author" section on Amazon, I see you have created a history for the Camerons going back to when their ancestors came from Scotland. Does knowing the roots of the family help you develop your characters?

Skye: Absolutely. We are all products of where we've come from, geographically, historically, socially, and emotionally. The Camerons of Tide's Way are no different. They didn't grown up in big cities or urban environments, didn't go to Ivy League schools or get born into money and that heritage shows in their lifestyles, their priorities, and their dreams for the future. They come of patriotic stock and many of them have served in the military. All of them give back to the community they feel so much a part of. And then there's that old writer's dictum, Write what you know. This is my heritage. Middle class, European descent, some of my ancestors participated in the Revolutionary War and one was even President. It's how I grew up and how my parents and my children grew up.

Vickie: Since you give your characters an in depth history, does this mean you plot your stories? If yes, do you have a plotting system?

Skye: I am most definitely a Pantser! My stories are sparked by an idea--they come from all sorts of places and for many different reasons, but once I know the beginning, I create my characters. I usually spend several days just writing backstory, starting when they were born or at least when they were young. My writing style for these backstories is more or less told the way I'd tell it if I were sitting with you over coffee and telling you all about this person I've known all my life. Sometimes going back to pick up an important incident or characteristic, but just sort of free hand, telling their life story. When I'm done, I usually have a dozen or more single-spaced, unedited pages, and I really know that character well. 

From time to time I might tweak something if I see the need, but for the most part, this character has become real to me with a life, loves and dreams that need telling. Then I plop my characters down into the opening scene, and I let them tell their story. It's sort of like hanging on to a tiger by the tail sometimes. They argue with me and do things I had no idea they were going to do. I generally have a very clear idea of where they are going to end up before I begin, but that's as much of a plot as I have.

Vickie: Now, for a few personal questions. What are your hobbies?

Skye: Well, obviously one of my favorite hobbies is writing stories. I talk a lot in real life, too. Just ask anyone who knows me. Even my emails are generally long and chatty. I also love the ocean, the beach, sailing, swimming, biking, hiking, reading--definitely reading--and sewing.

Vickie: Name three things you can't live without.

Skye: Chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate! Okay, seriously? Love and family, sunshine and warmth, and an ever-growing pile of books to be read.

Vickie: Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share with your readers?

Skye: There are dozens of recipes I love, but here's one you might find handy. When I was in the Peace Corps, many (perhaps most) of the food supplies I was accustomed to were not to be had, but flour was always available, so I started making Scones. My kids would mail me packages with dried fruits that I could add for variety, and I could always toss in mangos, pineapple, or banana. I didn't have the recipe to start with and had to figure it out by trial and error. This is what I came up with:

2 cups of flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/3 cup of sugar (this can be left out if adding savory flavors)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 egg

That's the basic recipe. If I add dried fruit, I boil them for a bit in the water and add all at once. If I add fresh or frozen fruit, I decrease the water accordingly and add the fruit last. The consistency is about the same as cookie dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Bottoms should just be turning brown.

One of my favorite things to add now that I am home with an endless array of choices, is a cup of fresh picked wild blueberries (store bought has too little flavor) or a cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen, and 3/4 cup of white chocolate bits. YUM! Another favorite is to add a tsp of almond flavoring and then sprinkle slivered almonds over the top of the batter before baking.

Vickie: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?  

Skye: My sister and I were in Scotland, in Iverness at the time they hold the annual Gaelic festival, and we were invited to join some of the locals at a pub where they were celebrating the last day of the Mod (the name of the festival). We donned our party clothes, which was dress down--to jeans and sweaters, told the desk clerk where we were headed and set off. We were welcomed with warmth and great cheer, plied with who knows how many drinks and taught how to dance one of the many reels they were engaging in. But by 4:00 am we were exhausted, although the Scots of all ages seemed ready to party on indefinitely. We made our precarious way across the suspended pedestrian bridge of the River Ness. How much of the staggering was the drink and how much the bridge is debatable. But then we arrived at our hotel only to find the place locked up tight. 

Thinking maybe our room key would open another less obvious door, as is often the case with a bed and breakfast, I circled the hotel to check. No doors, but there was a nice round hole in a window at ankle height. I reached in and discovered the window was unlocked. My sister scrambled through the narrow opening and found ourselves on the dishwasher chute. Pitch black, couldn't see a thing, we kept our hands on the walls as we made our way around the kitchen looking for a way into the hall. Then booked it to our room, slammed the door behind us, with our hearts racing at warp speed. All I could think of was that if we'd gotten caught, my mother would have been appalled to get a trans-Atlantic call to announce that her daughters were in Gaol in Iverness, and I'd never hear the end of it. By the way, I was in my thirties and surely beyond such antics.

BIO




Skye Taylor lives on a barrier island in northeast Florida where she divides her time between writing novels, walking the beach with her dog, MacDuff, and trying to keep her to-be-read pile from taking over her little bungalow. In a previous life, she raised four children, coached gymnastics, ran Christian Renewal retreats, and a dozen other things. She considers life an adventure and when her kids were all grown and on their own, she spent two years in the South Pacific with the Peace Corps (2002-2004). She's jumped out of perfectly good airplanes and earned a basic sky diving license. She enjoys dressing up in period costume and joining the many historical re-enactors who make the 17th and 18th centuries come alive in events that happen year round in her wonderful little city. She loves to travel and has visited twenty-eight states and fourteen countries on four continents and the South Pacific as well as frequent trips to visit her kids and grandkids. Having been born and lived most of her life in New England where her children grew up, she is now a transplanted Yankee soaking up the sun, warmth and history of St. Augustine, Florida. She's a member of Florida Writers Association, Romance Writers of America and Ancient City Romance Authors where she currently serves as secretary. Skye Taylor has published two books. WHATEVER IT TAKES came out in 2012 and FALLING FOR ZOE, book #1 in the Camerons of Tide’s Way series on April 4th of this year. She is currently working on the second book in the Camerons of Tide’s Way series, LOVING MEG, which will be out in 2015. 

Check out her website at: www.skye-writer.com.

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