Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!
This week I’m happy to bring you another new author I’ve just had the pleasure of meeting, Abbie Johnson Taylor. She’s been participating in my weekly poetry challenge each week. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE.
We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions and learn from each other.
First, please meet my guest, Abbie Johnson Taylor:
Author, Abbie Johnson Taylor
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and is currently working on another novel. She has a visual impairment and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes.
Before that, she was a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. She taught braille, facilitated a support group for the visually impaired, and served on the advisory board to a state trust fund that allows people with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment.
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m so looking forward to our chat.
Hi, Abbie. It’s great to meet you. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am writing under a pseudonym of sorts. My legal name is Abigail Louise Taylor, but I’ve published most of my work as Abbie Johnson Taylor. Johnson is my maiden name, and when I got married to Bill Taylor, I decided to use both names out of love and loyalty to him.
He passed away several years ago. Since I still love him, and the process of changing my name back to Johnson is too complicated, Taylor I will be. For the foreseeable future, I will continue to publish my work as Abbie Johnson Taylor.
What a sweet thing to do, Abbie. So, do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
All my books are different. We Shall Overcome is a romance novel about a young woman with a visual impairment who falls in love with a policeman and must learn to trust him while the local sheriff must overcome a stereotype regarding his teen-aged daughter’s disability.
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver is a collection of poems mostly inspired by my caregiving experiences after my late husband suffered two strokes that partially paralyzed his left side.
That’s Life: New and Selected Poems contains material inspired by life events.
My Ideal Partner: How I met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds is a memoir about how I met and married my late husband and cared for him after he suffered two strokes until he passed.
That’s a great collection of books. Tell me, do you base your characters on real people?
Yes, some of my characters are based on people I know. In “We Shall Overcome,” the character of a doctor was inspired by Hawkeye on MASH, and my main character’s father was inspired by my own.
In “The Red Dress,” a novel in progress, my main character’s self-centered roommate is based on a girl by the same name who bullied me in junior and senior high school. By the way, I’ve seen her from time to time as an adult, and she’s always been friendly, so I’m glad to see that bully grew up.
Wow! So, am I. There’s always hope that a bully will change and it sounds like yours did. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
I had been a registered music therapist, working for ten years with senior citizens in nursing and other facilities, when I was bitten by the writing bug, so to speak, in 2000.
For the next five years, I wrote short stories, poems, and my first novel, We Shall Overcome, when I could. It wasn’t easy because I was often working forty-hour weeks.
When I married Bill, he persuaded me to quit my day job and write full time, convincing me that we didn’t need my income in order to live. I’m glad I did. I consider him my hero. If he hadn’t come along or if I hadn’t married him, I might never have developed the courage to change careers.
I have to ask. You’ve led such an interesting life. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes, in “We Shall Overcome,” there’s a scene in which a policeman approaches my main character, while she’s walking home, and asks her if drivers are stopping to let her cross streets with her white cane. This actually happened to me. Because of my own visual impairment, I also use a white cane.
By the way, there is a white cane law that requires drivers to stop to let a visually impaired pedestrian with a cane cross streets. Anyway, I’d just jaywalked the street in front of my apartment building and stopped to talk to a neighbor in a wheelchair when she told me a cop was behind me. I turned and thought for sure I was going to get a ticket.
To my surprise and relief, he asked me about drivers stopping to let me cross busy intersections. Stunned, all I could do was tell him that sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t, and he said he would bring it up at roll call. Needless to say, I haven’t jaywalked since.
I’m glad to hear that! Thanks so much for stopping by, Abbie. I enjoyed learning about your books. <3
How to contact Author, Abbie Johnson Taylor:
Facebook: Abbie’s Corner of the World
Thanks for stopping by to meet Abbie. Until the next time. <3