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Author Spotlight: Taylor Bennett

Thanks for being patient with me during my hiatus. Buying a house and getting settled can absorb a lot of time, but I am so happy to return with interviewing a wonderful author and friend. She is so inspiring, and she just released a book.

Taylor, I'm so happy you can join us to talk about Barefoot Memories.

Tell me about your book

Barefoot Memories is the final (*sob*) book in my Tradewinds trilogy—a set of three contemporary YA books set on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui.

Barefoot Memories picks up where my last book left one. Readers can expect the return of favorite characters like Olive (my very and quick-witted, yet still slightly awkward, MC), Brander, and Jazz, as well as a few new surprises…one of which has four legs and a tail!

This book is a bittersweet farewell to everything I’ve loved most about writing the series, and it’s my hope and prayer that it’s a worthy conclusion to a series that is incredibly dear to my heart.

I love this! I've loved following your journey throughout the trilogy, and am so excited to hear reader's reactions to the final installment. You'd mentioned in your social media that it's been a labor of love. What is the hardest part of the writing process/writing this book?

Saying goodbye! I had no idea how difficult it would be to bid my beloved characters farewell. I’ve been fully immersed in the world of Tradewinds since I was fifteen years old. Olive, Brander, and Jazz have seen me through over half my high school career, my gap year, and—now—my first year of college. They’ve grown and changed with me, and typing “THE END” on Barefoot Memories was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!

Oh, absolutely. Finishing a series can be so hard because of all the memories associated with it. Favorite scene to write?

It’s been a while since I was drafting Barefoot Memories, so it’s a little hard for me

to remember which scenes I loved writing and which made me feel like I was

dragging an ornery donkey through quicksand (we all have those chapters, right?)

but I know one of my favorite scenes ended up being one in which Olive and her

dad (with whom she doesn’t have the best relationship) are playing cribbage. My

own dad and I have played a lot of cribbage together, so it was fun to use

something from my own life as a way to bring Olive and her Dad closer.

LOL. I love the imagery of the donkey in the quick sand. And I love that! Favorite character?

OLIVE!! Olive is my dear, beloved, angsty-teenager-with-the-heart-of-a-cinnamon-roll character, and I absolutely adore her. She’s denitely not perfect (who is?!) and has a lot to learn about life, love, and the Lord, but she almost feels more like a good friend than a mere figment of my imagination.

So true. Characters are real people. They're part of us, and we're part of them. OK, last question. Advice for writers?

READ. I know that advice is everywhere, but that’s only because it’s true! Nothing helps us grow as writers—or even just as people, for that matter!—like reading can.

Reading in a variety of genres (and don’t forget those classics!) stretches our

literary muscles and bolsters our vocabulary. Plus, unlike a lot of other things

writers can do to grow their craft (like studying grammar rules…) reading is FUN!

Couldn't agree more. Thank you so much for joining us, Taylor. And everyone, go check out Barefoot Memories!

Taylor Bennett is a dandelion-wishing, world-traveling lover of books, words, and stories. Based in the PNW, she dreams of seeing the world and writing stories set in unique locations.

Although she dreams of traveling to many different places, her favorite destination thus far (aside from her charming hometown in Oregon) is

Lahaina, Hawaii. Her love for this tropical hamlet led her to write about it, hence her debut YA novel, Porch Swing Girl, the first in a series of books set in Hawaii.

Book Blurb: What if the biggest decision of your life wasn’t yours to make?

With the New Year upon her, Olive Galloway is determined to put the past behind her and uncover the new future waiting for her in her island home.

However, her best friend Jazz seems dangerously close to giving up on her alcoholic mom—as well as her own dreams. Together with an unlikely ally, Olive helps Jazz regain her confidence and enter a high-stakes race, but there’s still trouble on the horizon. Their friend Brander is due to come home from a whirlwind music tour on the mainland, but he’s holding tight to a secret that could change their friendship forever.

Offered the chance to fulfill all of her wildest dreams with a single word, Olive realizes that she could be headed back to the mainland sooner than she’d imagined. Caught up in a whirl of possibility, Olive struggles to decide between returning home to fulfill her childhood wish or building a new life in Hawaii. The choice could change her life forever.

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