The highlight of my weekend was having the opportunity to be featured on a blog called Venture Galleries.
All finalists for the Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book of 2013 were offered the chance to do two blog posts on their site--one a Dream Interview and one a Dream Review. (Sierra is a finalist in the Romance category.)
A very creative idea! I've enjoyed seeing what all the finalists have come up with. However, while fun, it was a challenging task. Especially since, at the time, I was caring for my daughter and brand new grandson. Hence, my Dream Interview was written during the wee hours of the morning with my little grandson on my lap.
Venture Galleries said last year's favorite Dream Interview was an author being interviewed about his book by Natalie Portman--while she massaged him! So clever! After much thought, here's what I came up with:
(See my Dream Interview on Venture Galleries, here.)
My dream interview with my favorite High School English Teacher
By Taylor Dean
Me: Hello, Mr. Peckham?
Mr. Peckham: Taylor? Taylor Dean?
Me: I’m surprised you remember me.
Mr. Peckham: Of course I remember you. You and your sister were two of my favorite students. And when one of my students becomes an author, I take notice. Congratulations on your success. My wife loves your books.
Me: Thank you. It was in your Advanced Writing class that I fell in love with English. I remember that I actually wanted to keep the workbook. I was ridiculously sad on the day I had to turn it in. You gave us the option to purchase it, but I remember not being able to afford it. Still to this day I wish I had that book.
Mr. Peckham: Seriously?
Mr. Peckham: I can’t say that anyone has ever said that to me before. Ever.
Me: I guess I should’ve known right then.
Mr. Peckham: Known what?
Me: That writing was the career for me.
Mr. Peckham: But, you didn’t?
Me: No. All the signs were there, but I didn’t recognize them.
Mr. Peckham: What were the signs?
Me: I was constantly making up stories in my head. To the point of distraction. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t.
Mr. Peckham: The world loves a daydreamer.
Me: That’s just it. I wasn’t exactly daydreaming. I was imagining my stories in my head as if I was writing them, word for word. All the time. Sometimes my stories kept me up at night.
Mr. Peckham: And that’s when you knew you should write?
Me: Nope. It never occurred to me. Then one afternoon I couldn’t stand it anymore. One of my stories wouldn’t stop playing in my head. I suddenly felt the need to commit it all to paper or else I would explode. At the time I was a young mother with four small children and I didn’t have much time for myself. I grabbed a pen and paper and hurriedly handwrote ten pages. I still have them and they’re awful.
Mr. Peckham: Yet that was the beginning.
Me: No, actually. Seventeen years passed before I revisited the idea of writing my stories. Nearly all of my children had left the nest. My youngest was gone all day at school and track. I wondered what I should do with my time. I’d always been a stay-at-home mom and I felt as though my job was leaving me. I decided I would try my hand at writing a children’s book, but then I remembered those ten pages sitting in my files. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to write that particular story. I had no idea if I could write a novel, but figured I’d give it a try.
Mr Peckham: And you did it. You became an author.
Me: Well, no, not really. I spent the next year writing every day, creating a monstrosity of a novel, 165,000 words long. It was so drama-filled, it would have exhausted the most loyal of reader. That’s when I learned to edit. But, I loved every single minute of it.
Mr. Peckham: So, that’s when you knew?
Me: Still no clue. I told no one I was writing. It was my little secret.
Mr. Peckham: What changed?
Me: My sister came to visit. When she found out I’d written a book, she put her hands on her hips and said, “I want to read your novel.” I finally gave in and nervously let her read it.
Mr. Peckham: Did she like it?
Me: She stayed up all night and finished it. She said she couldn’t put it down, that it was the best book she’d ever read. That’s when I knew.
Mr. Peckham: Not till then?
Me: Not till that moment.
Mr. Peckham: Which book was this?
Me: Sierra. It’s my personal favorite. I went on to write five more books before I finally felt brave enough to publish.
Mr. Peckham: Six books? That’s amazing.
Me: I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. I feel like a fraud.
Mr. Peckham: How so?
Me: I’m really just a stay-at-home mom having fun on her computer. That’s all.
Mr. Peckham: And I’m really just an average Joe with a penchant for English and a need to support my family. It doesn’t change the fact that I am an English teacher.
Me: Point taken. I’ve taken up enough of your time. It was great to see you.
Mr. Peckham: Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to hear from my former students . . . wait . . . before you go, I have something for you. (He walks to a cupboard and pulls out a book.) This is for you. I think it’s high time you owned your own English workbook.
Me: Thank you, Mr. Peckham. (My eyes fill with tears—I’ve wanted this workbook—dreamed of this workbook—for thirty years.)
As I’m walking out the door, Mr. Peckham stops me, “Taylor.”
Mr. Peckham: You are a writer.
Now, here's the thing with my Dream Review--I don't have to make one up, I've already received a Dream Review for Sierra! How amazing is that?
(Okay, so I don't love that the reviewer says Alex is dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks, but other than that, it's perfection!)
And to everyone else who has written a wonderful review of Sierra, I love your reviews too, but I had to choose just one!
See my Dream Review on Venture Galleries, here.
Taylor Dean’s Real-life Dream Review for Sierra
This is my favorite review of Sierra and, frankly, I couldn’t write or ask for anything better. I’m not sure I will ever receive a more amazing review!
Let me begin by saying that any review I leave here will never do this book justice. Not since Hunger Games has a book so captivated me and taken me on such an emotional roller coaster! I thought I had read romances before, and books like Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities, I had always considered the peaks of romantic literature. Let me say this. This is the most romantic book I have ever read in my 38 years on this planet! In case you have not guessed by now, I loved this book!
When I began this book, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was horrified right off the bat, but I was so intensely drawn into the story that I savored every word on every page. Alyssa and Alex are fantastic characters, and Taylor Dean has made them truly three-dimensional. I connected with both in ways I never dreamed possible that I could connect with fictional characters. Alex gets my award for the most romantic character in a book–right alongside the Dumb as a Box of Rocks Award. No spoilers–read the book yourself.
I found myself tingling in unexpected ways and moaning (even when there were students in the room with me). More than once, I found myself crying over this story, and once I even threw the kindle down on the desk, determined to not finish it. It was too painful to read. Why? Well, let’s just say that while I have not experienced anything like Alyssa did, I long for so much of what she and Alex expressed. And the book was so real to me that I found myself longing for what I don’t have. Very rarely does a book ever affect me like this. I am a romantic at heart (which the majority of people would never guess), but so far, I can’t find anyone who wants to share that romance with me. At least I was able to have some vicarious pleasure with this story.
Let me end by saying there is basically no profanity. No misuse of God’s name–always makes me happy. And no sex before marriage. What? Really? What an amazing idea in this day and age! And I am glad the author had the decency to give the characters privacy in the bedroom. In fact, that makes it even more romantic, in my opinion. This book brought out the true romantic in me that often gets neglected.
~Ruth of My Devotional Thoughts
Thank you so much to Venture Galleries for the opportunity to be featured on your blog!
Check out some of the other Dream Interviews and Reviews on Venture Galleries. Some of them are really quite entertaining--to include an interview with the Devil, and an interview with the characters of Supernatural!