Good day, book people. We’ve made it to the end of another month and the beginning of another seasonal change. Yay us! I often wonder what authors do all day long. Do they have outside jobs? Do they have a strict writing schedule? Do they spend hours reading and performing research? Is everything they encounter in their daily lives fodder for their books? What exactly happens on the average day in an author’s life? Realistically, authors’ daily routines probably differ as much as my daily routine differs from yours. However, I’m pleased to welcome editor, reviewer, blogger, Elena Taylor — author of All We Buried and she has graciously agreed to provide us with a glimpse into her daily routine. Thank you, Ms. Taylor (no relation), for stopping by today and sharing with us.
A Day in The Life of Author Elena Taylor
|Polar and CoalTrain take a Break
My dog Polar is a very smart dog. He understands that Dad is up very early, and Mom is up very late. He gets Dad up with the sun for a walk, then he crawls back in bed with me for a little cuddle and a snooze until a reasonable hour.
Once I can open my eyes without a struggle, I like to sit up in bed and read for about an hour. Most of the time it’s a mystery that I’m to review—either as a blogger or for the New York Journal of Books—if it’s not for a review, it’s usually either nonfiction about crime, as research for my next book, or I’m reading for pure fun.
My reading time is one of the best parts of the day. Outside the window, there’s nothing to see but trees. And the only sound is that of the river running through my backyard. Polar likes to lie against my leg and I’m often visited by a cat or two. I have a cup of coffee and get myself fully awake to face my writer’s day.
Then I wander down the hall, usually followed by the dog and a cat or two (if you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right!). I get another cup of coffee and head into my office. My office is a small room at the back of the house. I have a window looking out over the river, and an L-shaped desk that I built for the space. Polar fits underneath it perfectly.
The first thing I like to do is work on my own writing. If it’s the first draft, like I’m writing now, I shoot for a certain word count. With my current project that’s 1000 words a day. According to the post-it on my computer, my word count today is 27,968, so in about fifty days I’ll have a full draft of roughly 80,000 words.
My goal is to finish in the beginning of November.
If I’m working on rewrites, I do a certain number of pages a day.
That may sound weirdly arbitrary, and it probably is, but for some reason, I have to break my work down like that. I think it has to do with the fact that the industry goes by word count, whereas readers go by pages. For a first draft, I think like the industry and for rewrites, I think like a reader.
After I finish my word or page count, I take a break, have something to eat—by the river if it’s not raining—then I come back to my computer and work on client projects. I often find a cat under my desk waiting for my return.
One of the other hats I wear is that of a developmental editor, I look at big picture stuff on works-in-progress. Everything from story structure to pace to dialogue to character development as well as specific quirks every writer has. As I work, I often see kayakers float past the house and a lot of squirrels run around in the trees. It’s pretty exciting out here in Snoqualmie Valley.
Throughout the day I take mini breaks for coffee and catch up on social media. I respond to emails and generate content for my newsletter. And play with the cats and the dog. The dog is good about sleeping next to me, the cats like to climb around on my desk and require more attention, but they are so cute I get sucked in every time.
Then comes my favorite part of the daily routine. In the afternoon I head over to the stables where we board our horses. It’s a bit of a drive, but the location is totally worth it. I catch up on the day’s news with NPR on the radio and let myself shift from fiction to the real world.
I spend an hour or two (or three) getting the horses out. In warm weather there are baths, in cold weather, I hang out with them in their shed to stay out of the rain. Living in Western Washington, “Mud” is considered a season.
My two geldings are hilarious, Radar, the youngest, likes to play with traffic cones and will grab one in his mouth and run around with it. Our older horse Jasper is a regal Palomino Paint who rules the pasture like a benign dictator. He loves to graze and never misses a chance for snacks—a characteristic he and I have in common.
Back home my day varies depending on deadlines and how much I accomplished in the morning. Sometimes I work later into the evening, sometimes I only work another hour or so. Mostly I do the business side of writing. I write blog posts and book reviews. I put together mailings for reviewers or do other things related to promotions.
In the winter it will already be dark, making me want to eat soup and join the entire family, four-legged and two, in bed. In the summertime, our beautiful northern latitude keeps it light until ten o’clock, and I feel a little guilty if I don’t work later.
In the evenings, I have to admit, I love to watch television. I’m a sucker for TV mysteries. Grantchester, Frankie Drake, and Endeavor are some of my recent indulgences. I also finally watched Downton Abbey. I was late to the party, but I’m glad I waited. I absolutely loved it and binging it took my mind off our current situation.
Oh, and I bake too much. Nothing smells better than fresh bread and I have finally discovered the world’s greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Though just to be sure, I should probably bake another batch or two to make confirm they really are that good.
A friend recently asked me how I come up with the stuff in my novels. The adventures of my characters look nothing like my daily life. I suppose my imagination and my daily life are the yin and yang of my personality. I love adventure with my fiction and peace and quiet in the real world. Other than the occasional attack of my toes by a cat, peace and quiet is exactly how I get to live.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Now I’ve got to run. The horses are waiting.
on Tour September 1-30, 2020
For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.
Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?
Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.
Published by: Crooked Lane
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1643852914 (ISBN13: 9781643852911)
Series: Sheriff Bet Rivers #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads
PHOTO CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN
Elena Taylor lives on the banks of the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in a town made famous by Twin Peaks. When she’s not writing or working one-on-one with writers as a developmental editor, she can be found hanging out with her husband, dog, and two cats. Her favorite place to be (besides home) is the stables down the road, with her two horses Radar and Jasper.
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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elena Taylor. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on September 1, 2020, and runs through October 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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