If you’ve ever come across the wonderful land of BookTok, we’re sure Taylor Jenkins Reid – the New York Times bestselling author – has crossed your radar! Over the last ten years, she has released a multitude of incredible books including Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones & The Six, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and many more. With her HUGE success, it comes to no surprise that two of Taylor’s books are being developed into feature films, and two more are being adapted for television. Recently, her newest title “Carrie Soto is Back” hit the shelves…
This incredible book follows Carrie Soto – one of the best tennis players in the world. Six years after her retirement, she finds herself sitting in the stands and watching her record being taken by another player. Then, she makes a monumental decision. She will come back to the court and attempt to reclaim her record.
Exclusively for our QBD Blog readers, we have a special Q&A with Taylor to share! Let’s dive in:
You have presented different facets of fame in your books: film (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo), music (Daisy Jones & the Six), and sports (Carrie Soto is Back), to name a few. How do you decide on a theme to write?
I just go where my interest takes me. One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the course of writing these four books about fame is that I can and should trust that little part of my brain that lights up when I think about various settings in the world. When I listen to a duet and get an idea for a book about rock singers, when I’m on the shores of Malibu and get an idea for a party, when I’m watching Serena Williams at the US Open, I get this little flutter of an idea. And I’ve learned how to tell myself, “OK, see if there’s anything there. Why not?”
Forever Interrupted, your debut novel, is a contemporary romance book. You then released three novels that revolved around the similar genre before you departed and switched to fictional biographies, and explored more eras in your next novels. How has your creative process changed throughout the years?
I think my faith in myself to take on bigger and bigger things has expanded. I remember around the time of writing my second or third book, that I thought about writing a historical novel and felt immediately overwhelmed and intimidated by the research. “Oh I could never,” was basically what I kept telling myself. But that was a mistake. Because it turned out that I love research, I love losing myself in a time and place, and there was a lot of joy and inspiration on the other side of that.
Since you have a dedicated fan base all around the world, do you feel any pressure when writing or releasing a new book? If yes, how do you overcome it?
I don’t feel pressure when writing a book – probably because I’m very good at compartmentalizing. But once the book is about to be released, I always find myself nervous. I take my relationship with my readers very seriously. People that have read more than one book of mine, or who are willing to pick up a book just because I wrote it… I take that honor to heart. I would never want to squander it. So I work to do my very, very best each time. To tell a story that I believe in. And hope I can entertain them.
It is intriguing that your novels have a connection with one another—the Taylor Jenkins Reid universe. Was this intentional or did it happen by chance?
It was intentional but it has definitely grown far bigger than I ever intended. I wrote a lot of fictional celebrities and magazines and movies in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and so when it came time to write Daisy Jones & The Six, I found myself thinking it was silly to create more, when I already had good ones I could use. But then that opened up quite a can of worms. And now I can’t stop. Mick Riva is everywhere.
In a New York Times piece, you shared that you “wanted to be a bigger name.” Now, that seems to have become a reality. What is your message for aspiring writers who look up to you?
I suppose I’d say that if you can learn one thing from me, I hope it is to be willing to go for it on the page. For a long time, I was afraid I wasn’t good enough or that I didn’t know what I was doing. But the thing is, the first step is always just trying. And writing is low stakes. If you try and you hate what you see, then just never show anybody. I’ve done that plenty of times! But at least try. Let yourself see what you’re capable of. We have to, if nothing else, be willing to see what we can do.
What’s next on your writing agenda?
I have a few things I have to tie up and then, for the first time in over ten years, I do not know what I’ll be writing next. It’s scary and thrilling all at once. I’m just as curious as you what lies ahead.