A. K. Taylor is an award winning YA fantasy/science fiction adventure writer who has been writing novels since age 16. Taylor also draws her characters and maps of the worlds she created sense then. Before this she began loving writing at age 8 and a natural world builder.
She grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections.
She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.
Now she is a compulsive blogger and a genre hopper, but her first love will always be fantasy!
In 2013 she founded Soaring Eagle Publicity. Visit www.soaringeaglepublicity.com to see what it’s all about.
Connect with her on her author site and blog at www.backwoodsauthor.com
Occupations: MG/YA fantasy/sci-fi author (now award winning), beekeeper, amateur herpetologist, scientist, artist, marksman, blogger, outdoor sportsman, and animal lover. Musician and instrumentalist who played the French horn since middle school.
Interesting facts: I love the animals that most people hate. I LOVE snakes. Snakes need love too, but I don’t cuddle with the venomous ones, BTW, so you won’t see my life story on “Fatal Attractions”. Most people hate bees (not the same thing as wasps and hornets), but they aren’t as easy to hold and pet since they are too easy to squash and they sting. I love them enough so that they will make honey.
Chocoholic and action addict. Big Vin Diesel fan. I have a lot of favorite movies: Star Wars, Dirty Harry, Legend…I’ll stop there. Did I mention I was an action addict? I don’t like being bored.
I began my writing career young at sweet 16 that began with my debut novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure. Instead of a car, I wanted my own computer, but didn’t happen till I bought my own about five years later. I started out on my parents’ ancient slow computer. I received my first rejection slip when I was 21, but it was a blessing in disguise. I chose the indie way instead!
Graduate of UGA with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Total science nerd. I love all science besides biology; chemistry is my fave. I hate political science, but that’s not science–I don’t even think it’s a pseudoscience.
- Owner and CEO of Soaring Eagle Publications LLC
- Blog Coordinator for YAPC
- Owner and Publicist at Soaring Eagle Publicity
- CEO and Publisher at Soaring Eagle Books
- For savvy tips, tools, and resources for new and aspiring (sometimes established) authors, check out my other blog Newbie Authors Guide
- Blog Coordinator at Booklover’s Heaven
- PT Book Reviewer and avid reader when I have time to read between it all. Not a fan of Romance but I love action!
Why is it called this? There is more than one AK Taylor out there, but as far as she knows she’s the only one from the backwoods, and the backwoods makes up her life!
What makes you proud to be a writer from White Plains, GA? White Plains, GA is out in the middle of nowhere. I am proud to be an author from the backwoods. Since there are a couple other AK Taylors out there, I appropriately named my site “backwoodsauthor”. I have lived most of my life in the rural and backwoods of Georgia. I am not originally from the town of White Plains and lived in other rural areas in the state. However, living in a remote area proposes some interesting challenges in book marketing like having to travel at least 30+ minutes to the nearest Barnes and Noble to do a book signing if I’m lucky. The world is really big compared to the one red light town I live close to but not in.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have enjoyed creative writing and using my imagination as far back as I can remember–well, I enjoyed creative writing when I learned how to write, lol. I have always had a vivid imagination. I also love reading, video games, role playing, movies, and even nature caused the spark. Becoming professional sort of happened.
As an experiment I decided to see if I could graduate from short stories and poems to novels at 16. I was successful, but then an entire series was born. My talent only grew from there.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My environment, both good and bad, had a lot to do with why I started to write novels at such a young age (16) and influenced my creativity. Let’s start out with the good. Living far out in the woods provided me places to create adventures and new worlds, and I loved writing short stories for school when I could write what I wanted to. Being an only child with very few friends close to my age forced me to have other ways to occupy my time. I also grew up watching, playing, reading, and loving fantasy, science fiction, action and adventure, and mysteries. A lot of these things influence and find their way into the writing. Later in life, I have inspiration from dreams. Yes, you did read that right.
OK, the bad. I was bullied a lot just about the entire time I went to school, and it followed me into the workplace. I would write to escape and lose myself. I learned to hate reality due having to deal with that and because it was painful. The worst years of the bullying took place during the time I lived in the suburbs, so I couldn’t hide in the woods anymore. I was then at the age that playing was no longer allowed although I stuck it out as long as I could. This finds its way into the first installment of my teen/YA fantasy series where it finds controversy with the more grown-up readers. The strength of my female leads has been remarked upon by readers and when working with editors. The strength they have for their amazing adventures was the strength I had to have to survive the day for many years. Bullying finds its way into stories as well, but it’s taken more to the extreme than what might be found in high school.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? When I started writing I never intended to publish. I wrote my first full length novel when I was 16 as an experiment (I am also a scientist at heart). I taught myself how to do it. I never went to a writing class or a writer’s group. Even if there were, would they allow teens in there? I had no teachers or any mentors available to me. I don’t even know if they had them where I lived. Due to the chronic bullying, I felt that no one would ever want to read my stories and would think they were stupid, and they would laugh me to scorn. I never told anyone at school I wrote stories even my teachers; it was my top secret project. The only reason why my parents knew was because I would keep them up all hours of the night hammering away at the keys since the computer was in their room at that time. They had to yank me off from the story so they could play solitaire or get me to come to dinner. They did tell on me to other family members who later peeked. Then it leaked at church. The secret came out even when I didn’t want it to.
There was this time the computer messed up and had to be taken to the shop. The repairmen somehow came across those stories on the hard drive and started reading them. People I didn’t even know said I needed to get this published. Later I was invited with some people at my church to go to a writer’s conference in the mountains. I had been writing and drawing maps and characters for 5 years so then I was 21. I am advised to take something else I had written and leave those fantasy books at home. So I took some of my character sketches and maps. I had menial or nonexistent expectations from the other writers there or the instructors. I was the youngest person at that conference. People there said I need to get it published–the complete opposite of what I expected. They wished I had brought some samples of those books. Bummer.
At 21 I try to pitch to traditional publishers. Nothing ever happens, and it is a huge disappointment after the high I had, but then who was I kidding? They would laugh at something written by a kid anyway. Then it’s time to go off to college. I am not going to have time for this in college, so I put my publishing dreams aside. After I graduate, I find out about self-publishing. After dealing with a shady publisher, it deals a blow. I have no idea what to do next after I am able to republish the first book again. I have to figure it out on my own with no one to ask or teach me anything. OMG, what have I done? What have I just gotten myself into? Well, everything I had to learn the hard way became both a book and a blog which have been moderately successful.
After toil, frustration, tears, learning, ups and downs, and wondering if I have lost my ever-loving mind while fending off depression and PTSD, I have now become my own imprint and started a business. More series have come and the Neiko Saga continues to grow. I have many that need edits and publishing and more to write. I have epic dreams with a fishing line budget, but I am ever closer to one day achieving some of my more gigantic dreams someday.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? For me it has been about the exploration and discovery along the way. The discovery of new people, new worlds, and brave new adventures. The writing process holds for me what life does without bullies. My imagination went to new heights after laying down the action figures and picking up the pen (or the keyboard). I don’t know if I will try Dragon since it may not like my Southern drawl. I know the speaking app on the phone or automated answering computers don’t.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? After a few awards and mostly good reviews and support from readers on my books and my blogs, it is nice to know that it was worth it to take a risk and do it. I was able to find out that I truly did have a talent to share with the world even though I was reluctant and terrified. There have been the occasional few who didn’t, but that’s okay. No one is laughing and telling me to go hide somewhere.
How many published books do you have? I have 3 but another will be available Sept 19, 2016.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I usually try to come up with a working title before writing the manuscript, but there could be tweaks made to it afterward and after I stew on it awhile to make sure I am happy with it. I rarely do not come up with anything at the beginning, and “then after the manuscript” is plan B.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Well, as for genre, I am a genre crosser and a genre blender (like fantasy action adventure), but the common threads I follow are action adventure and tween/teen/young adult (this is an age group and not a genre, BTW), but fantasy and sci-fi are my first loves because I love to build worlds. I write for younger audiences because I don’t enjoy writing for grownups. Too many rules and limits besides what makes a fun, great story. I do also dabble into mystery, paranormal, supernatural, and horror but the age group and the action and adventure still apply.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Escape from Ancient Egypt
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Since I was 17 at the time let me think… I probably had just learned about Ramesses II in school in history class and saw a couple movies about him, so then a question of “what if” came along. I looked at some other kings, but they just didn’t have quite enough muscle to try to pin down Neiko, the right personality or I didn’t have enough information about them. This was the day of expensive dialup internet, so I didn’t have access to information that I have now. And, I always was a sucker for time travel.
And I just want to dive into the story now. I wrote this one shortly after my experiment novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (it was called something else then, but I am not going to share that embarrassing title). Amazingly, the story is the same as it was when I wrote the books just as it was when I was a teen, but with the polish of a professional edit of course. Not many first ever books make it to press, and I didn’t plan it that way, but it happened nonetheless. They are doing well for books written by a kid (the readers and awards say so, not just me).
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? You must believe in yourself and your talent and take calculated risks because no one else will. Always remember that you are your own worst critic. Getting that inner critic in check is tough at times, but it must be done.
Who is your favorite author and why? It’s a close tie between Brian Jacques and Terry Brooks, but I do read others. Mostly it’s the worlds and characters I have come to enjoy more than anything, and I like the adventure that goes along with it.
When being stuck in the past has a whole new meaning…
What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…
Following an intense battle between the Indians and the Crackedskulls, Neiko and her comrades enjoy victory while her enemies suffer a crushing defeat. Victory is short lived for Neiko when Francesco pays her a visit at her home and sends her away in order to collect on his threat of revenge. She is banished into the ancient world of ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II the Great on a one way ticket.
Lost and trapped in this ancient world, it doesn’t take very long for trouble to find her. Taken by a rich man, she is reunited with three her friends that had been missing, and an eleven-year-old mystery is finally solved, but one of Neiko’s friends is still unaccounted for. After escaping from the rich man and journeying to Thebes, Neiko and her comrades have actually jumped from the pan and into the fire.
Things go horribly awry when Pharaoh finds out about Neiko and becomes infatuated with her. Francesco comes to Egypt on orders to bring her back, but he has other plans. Can Neiko and her friends thwart Francesco, return to the 21st century, and escape from the past and one of the greatest kings that ever lived?
If you love the action, adventure, and time travel intrigue of Back to the Future and Time Machine (except without the time machine) and modern Native Americans in ancient Egypt, but the story of the Ten Commandments and the Prince of Egypt in reverse with a battle of wills and the motives of passion from Pharaoh, you’ll love Escape from Ancient Egypt!
- Finalist: Wisebear Digital Book Awards
- Winner of the Bronze Medal Award and Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards!
- Winner of the UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge!
Praise for Escape from Ancient Egypt:
“Neiko has the potential for becoming a literary role model for young girls. The Escape From Ancient Egypt storyline is good conceptually with lots of action and we did find ourselves anxiously wanting to know how the author resolved Neiko’s dilemna. Taylor also does a nice job of drawing the reader into the fictional world of ancient Egypt literally with her fantastic artwork interspersed throughout the novel.” By Wisebear Books
“An exciting and action packed book from start to finish. This is the story of a young girl who travels between different times and places, and leads a life in each. Neiko finds herself in some scary and challenging situations in each place, and the book has a good amount of suspense as the reader awaits her next move. The writing is fantastical and highly imaginative, without being too far-fetched that the reader will lose interest.” By Biblio Phanatic 5 Stars
“There is never a dull moment, and the book is punctuated with wonderful illustrations which break up the chapters. It reminds me of those books you read as a kid where you had to choose the ending and second guess what was coming.” By N Bookwitch 5 Stars
Escape From Ancient Egypt by A. K. Taylor is book two in the Neiko Adventure series. Although penned as a series, each book stands alone with action adventure all its own. ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ is for those young adult readers who enjoy time travel to ancient Egypt with a Native American Indian twist.
The book starts out with a wonderful map drawing of Egypt Ca 1300 BC drawn by author. The seven photo illustrations were produced by a separate artist. Her book cover design is by Mallory Rock.
In chapter one, Neiko (main character) emerges from a portal and makes a log entry concerning Hawote, a “hidden land that coexisted with the United States, Canada, and Mexico”.
Forty-three chapters reveal realistic characters, imaginative fantasy with action suspense drama, easy to follow dialog that will keep the reader engaged anticipating the next carefully placed photo that brings visual enhancement to the story.
In order to give you the reader a feel for the author’s writing style, I quote a passage from chapter three and share a description of the illustration photo in this chapter.
“Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator, and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by— from west to east—backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.
Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question.”
There is a photo of an Indian within this script. “The man chattered in a language she didn’t understand—God knows what he was saying to her. He thrust at her a fine scarab necklace. Neiko looked at him puzzled with her right eyebrow raised. The language didn’t sound like Arabic since she watched a lot of action movies. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head and signed “map” and “phone” and spoke the words in every language that she knew of but got nowhere.”
As you can see Neiko is far from home. You must become a detective yourself and read this book to find out how and why Neiko travels through time? What mystery involves Neiko and some of her friends? How does a Native American girl fit into ancient Egypt culture and what is a girl to do when the Pharaoh takes a romantic interest? What will it take to get Neiko out of the past and back home?
‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ was the finalist in the ‘Wisebear Digital Book Awards’, winner of the ‘Bronze Medal Award’, ‘Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards’ and Winner of the ‘UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge’.
I invite you to read the first book in this series titled ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ as both books stand alone with their own adventure.
Cold Coffee Press/Cafe endorses Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor. I reviewed this book from Kindle/PDF format. The review was completed on September 8, 2016. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press http://www.coldcoffeepress.com
What if the fate of two worlds were in the hands of one person: you?
The childhood secret of a troubled teen warrior is used against her by her enemies. It turns out what Neiko imagined is real, and she becomes trapped in the same world she imagined by an otherworldly evil that is worse than the devil. Getting home is the least of her problems.
The Indians and the Cracked skulls are locked in the turmoil of a war that has raged for centuries, and it is presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to take her down, but in doing so they inadvertently open the door to another universe and to an otherworldly evil. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and the dark being is not a figment of her childhood imagination-he is terrifyingly real and she faces him for the first time. To make matters worse, it is now in her world and he has evil plans especially for her.
After several standoffs with the malevolent Ramses the Dark Pharaoh in Hawote, she is trapped in Qari by his strange and powerful magic. Trapped in another universe in a place that is not exactly the way she imagined it, and she must somehow find a way to teleport home. That is easier said than done; the odds are overwhelmingly against her and her scorpion-cobra companion as they must travel to find the answer and help but at the same time avoid Ramses’ allies, traps, and tricks. Can she come back home and turn the tables on her enemies?
If you love the hidden worlds and magic of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, travel to other worlds like Warriors of Virtue and The Never-ending Story, and a strong female protagonist with a bow (only that she’s Native American and a nerd at heart who doesn’t want to completely grow up!) like the Hunger Games, you will love Neiko’s Five Land Adventure!
- Winner of the 2012 Indie Reader Approved Award
- Nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole
Praise for Neiko’s Five Land Adventure:
“Plenty of action and inspired imagination.” By Wulfstan Top 100 Reviewer
“From the first word, Taylor delivers a fresh, vibrant tale of two different worlds.” By Steven Knight Book review and author of “Born of Blood”
“An imaginative journey that is that is much of an adventure for the reader as it is for Neiko.” By CC Cole Book Reviewer and author of the Gastar Series
“A great middle school or read to me book with tons of adventure and characters.” By Paper Mustang Book Reviewer
“A fantastical twist to the childhood game of Cowboys and Indians and a wonderful coming of age story.” By Indie Reader Reviewer
“Neiko’s five land adventure is a gripping young adult fantasy tale. You get an exceptional feel for the protagonist, Neiko, as you travel through the rich worlds between reality and imaginary (well not really imaginary as Neiko soon finds out!) alongside her and her cohorts (I particularly liked Quickstrike)” by Michael Dadich, Award Winning Author of the Silver Sphere
After crash landing into self-publishing with nothing but the clothes she had on, author AK Taylor fought for survival with trying to market her books on a small budget. After two years of trial and error, reworking, refining, and reaching out, she has created the first survival guide for book marketing compiled of great tools and resources that can be used by any author during the rough times.
Comparing the book marketing wilderness with the real wilderness is how Taylor viewed the publishing world around her. Growing up in the woods and learning survival skills has given her this unique viewpoint for a different kind of world. When she started her search for information, a book marketing survival guide didn’t exist–until now.
New Author? Confused about social media and where to begin? Need a field guide or manual? Here it is! Pick up a copy today!
Praise for The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide:
“Wish I had picked up this survival guide MUCH SOONER! Easy to read, well organized. I find myself referring to it often, and I have no doubt it will help build the endurance a new writer needs in order to survive and flourish. Happy to highly recommend this one!” By Audrey Kane, first time author
“I found this book incredibly useful. I have been searching for a book to help me get my head around Google Adwords. In terms of the amount of support it gives others, it would be worthy of five stars.” By J. James Goodreads Reviewer and Indie Author
Coming Soon (on Sept 19, 2016)
A summer trip to the Klondike can be deadly…
Randi Braveheart and her friend go to the Mineral Creek mining claim for summer vacation and to visit her father, Will, during the second half of the six month mining season. The time of happy reunions, summer fun, and gold mining come to a close after a night of sabotage, the theft of the first half of the season’s haul, and a death threat.
Will the motley crew of miners and teens survive until the end of the season?