We’re down to our last two interviews of the year, and I’m excited to introduce you to indie author Aubrey Taylor. Everyone goes indie for different reasons, and Aubrey’s story is no different. But before she tells us about that, let’s get to know more about her and her writing.
Thank you so much for joining me! What do you write? How did you pick your genre?
Thank you for allowing me to share today! I write historical fiction. Specifically, I’m working on a German-perspective 20th century series entitled Gott Mit Uns. I don’t feel that I chose this genre, rather, God placed it definitively into my heart. As I was doing research for my debut novel, Sani: The German Medic, I began to see glimpses of how much more there is to the story beyond the themes we commonly encounter about the Second World War. However, I longed to go back to the years before the war and explore what led up to it.
Which was harder: the first book or the following books? Why?
It gets harder with each book! Sani is about one soldier’s wartime experience. Now that I have a whole family of Schmidts, I have to figure out what’s going to make the most gripping novel each time. I can’t tell everyone’s entire story, and that creates a problem when I get attached to a certain character and want to keep going with them.
It’s the same thing with historical events. I can’t possibly include everything that happened, especially when we’re talking about such a volatile period of history. What is just begging to be included? A great example comes from Sani: there are accounts of the German Army reopening churches that had been closed by the Soviets, but I can’t say whether this was actually done by the infantry division on which Frederick’s path through the war is modeled. I was so fascinated by these accounts, however, that I couldn’t resist including a chapter on this in the book.
What conference do you most want to attend?
I belong to a group of Christian writers who are in the “mommy” stage of life, just as I am. I love the idea of a small, intimate retreat with these ladies, and that might be what I really need at this point, rather than a large conference.
How do you combat writer’s block?
Flying by the seat of my pants is the best way to combat writer’s block. Sometimes I just have to sit down and write. If it has to be revised, fact-checked or pulled out entirely later, I’m good with that.
How do you prepare to write your books: pantser, plotter, both, something completely different?
I do both: plot and pants. I mentioned the pantsing above. I take time to work through the main character’s story arc beforehand, and continue to do so as I’m writing. It seems that with every book, the secondary story arc kind of emerges as I go along. I then have to slow down and develop that alongside (and sometimes within) the primary arc. I’m also already plotting years into the series, two or three books away. That’s the cool thing about series writing. You get great ideas for the future that you can work in to what you’re doing right now.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
Self-publishing was really a matter going forward with the knowledge that God had given me something to say because He wanted me to share it. I didn’t feel that He would have me stressing over trying to share it while being rejected indefinitely. There is so much opportunity in the self-publishing industry. Even if your market is smaller and you have to do more of your own legwork, it is really a (positive) challenge to trust God to get your writing where it needs to go.
I’m also aware that German-perspective fiction isn’t something that publishers here in the States are looking for (although I am tempted to wonder if the release of Netflix’s adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front could change that). Even if WWII fiction is a hugely popular genre, and the interest in WWI is growing, we usually like to see protagonists of a certain type, and not all of my Schmidts fit that description.
I fully respect and admire writers who are under a contract. However, even though I don’t actually think of myself this way, I guess it’s hard-wired into me to want to blaze my own trail. When I was in 5th grade, everyone in the class was asked to choose an explorer to research and write a paper on. I must have been sick the day the list of explorers was handed out, because I managed to pick one that wasn’t on that list. Naturally I only found that out after I’d already written the paper, and to this day I’m not really sure why he didn’t qualify.
What advice do you have for new authors?
God has given you something to say, so be faithful: write, read, walk through the open doors, knock on doors you think might be for you, don’t be discouraged if they aren’t, and don’t stress yourself out trying to meet the expectations of other people. Concern yourself with pleasing God. He’ll do more than you can think or ask. Keep your expectations in Him and discover what His definition of success is. But, be teachable. While we don’t have to meet everyone’s expectations, we can learn a lot from those who have been in the industry for any length of time. We’re not meant to go it alone!
How do you self-edit your manuscript?
If I know I’ve typed something wrong, I can’t just let it sit there. I have to fix it right away. Granted, I used to type for a living, so my WPMs are pretty high and I don’t always look at the screen. A lot of stuff gets missed the first time around. I reread my manuscripts occasionally and am always fixing things as I go through. Unfortunately, I also write like I talk, so even though something might have sounded great in my head, it reads poorly on paper. Of course, I run a few spellchecks throughout the entire process too!
Aubrey lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. She’s busy keeping the home, caring for her family, doing research for and writing her books. She enjoys music and is involved with the worship ministry at her church as well as German choral and dance groups, and plays gigs occasionally with friends as a singer and acoustic guitarist. After all that, she finds time to sketch, craft, and hike. She is a lover of Jesus, the Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats, and has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
You can find Aubrey online via her website and social media pages: