Taylor Hart is the bestselling author of over 55 books including multi-author series that have broken into Amazon’s Top 100. She writes contemporary romance, sweet romance, and light suspense romance novels. Her acclaimed Last Play Romance and Bachelor Billionaire Romance Series will leave you wishing for more strong heroines and swoon-worthy men.
Q. For starters, let’s go back to the basics…how long have you been writing?
A.13 years. Since 2005. It took me a while to publish.
Q.What made you decide to be a writer?
A.I grew up moving around. This made me love books. I started writing creatively when I was in junior high.
Q.Moving around because of your family’s work?
A.Yes. My father was an HR guy. But he worked for mining companies. And mining is volatile. So sometimes he would have a job and sometimes he wouldn’t. But he worked very hard.
Q.Did mining take you to Utah? Where have you lived?
A.I was born in Salt Lake, Utah. And I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado. Frisco, Colorado. Winnemucca, Nevada. Price, Utah. Susanville, California. Gillette, Wyoming. And then I went to college at University of Wyoming and Laramie.
Q.Nice! Sounds like great material for stories.
A.I love the fact I got to learn to meet lots of people and I got to experience what it felt like to be on the outside looking in. I think it gave me compassion for people and an extra amount of love to include people.
Q.You said you grew to love books because of the moving. Could you explain that?
A.Yes. I’m going to get a little bit vulnerable here, it takes a while to make friends. And so I would read and read and read and I would live my character’s life.
Q.Sure, I get that. What did you study in college?
A.I have a bachelors degree in English. Because I thought I would go to law school but I ended up getting a masters degree in communications. And I taught public speaking and interpersonal communications for many years. I was also on the speech and debate team in college.
Q.Nice! I am an English major too. Your background sounds like a terrific basis for a career in publishing.
A.Awesome! I always tell people I write even though I almost gave up writing after all the red on my papers.
Q.Fast forward to 2005. What happened then that launched you into writing?
A.Well, my husband actually came home and told me that he needed to find a new job because his boss told him they were laying people off. I had just had my third son. I found myself in a place where I couldn’t go to work full-time. I needed, I wanted to contribute and be a mom first. So I remember going to Barnes and Noble that night and walking around and stopping in the writing section. I pulled some books off the shelf and I sat there and I decided I was going to make money writing books. The funny thing is that, at that point, I couldn’t even afford one of those books. So I went to the library and I went back to Barnes & Noble and I would sit on the floor and then I found other authors and I went to conferences. And I kept writing and writing and writing and praying.
Q.Did you pursue traditional publishing first? Getting an agent and all that?
A.Yes. I actually had a manuscript accepted to Covenant Communications. And I decided not to publish with them. But I found a company called Big World Network and they were doing traditional publishing but they were offering it in serial form. I published a YA book in a series that they would put out weekly. Then I went to Author Into the Hub and met the Snow Valley girls. We wrote for anthologies together. This was a huge break out for me. We combined our efforts and we cross promote it and we helped each other beta read and market and we cheered for each other!
Q.The Snow Valley girls being… ?
A.Cami Checketts. Lucy McConnell. Jeanette Lewis. Cindy Roland Anderson. Kimberley Montpetit.
Q.Ahh, okay! What a line-up. Was that innovative then, being in a series with other authors?
A.Yes. Box sets were the big thing! And we wanted to have a best seller status! And we wanted to have fun! And we did! And we learned and we grow our newsletter list! And we tried all kinds of promotions and we lived and breathed Snow Valley 😊 we have a Town map. We have spreadsheets on characters. Snow Valley, the town, is a character 😊 I have to mention that three years ago we got to pitch to a Hollywood producer and we had a movie deal 😊 but the company that was going to produce a series of shows based on Snow Valley ended up losing funding.
Q.Wow, that is amazing! Esp. about the movie. How many multi-author series have you been in or spearheaded now?
A.Goodness 😊 you’re making me count. I’ve done a lot. A couple of rounds of Texas Titans football romances. And Navy seal romances. And Last play romances.
Q.How do you pick which kinds of books to write?
A.I love to write alpha males 😊 in a clean way. Oh yes – I need to add billionaire romance to that list baby! High five Jewel!
Q. Yes! I get that. High five back. What is the secret sauce to writing a good alpha male romance?
A.It is funny you would ask that 😊 because I’ve been talking about this with a good friend of mine, Carly Morgan, who writes in my last play masquerade romances. And one thing I think is so valuable in any romance is to find what is broken in your character. With men who are tough and strong, not just physically, but who have accomplished great things it’s an art to find where they are lacking. And usually it’s in love 😊 and usually they have been hurt. Or they haven’t seen a good reason to give up a certain amount of control emotionally and allow themselves to love.
Q.I love that. Strong yet vulnerable.
A.Exactly. And I think that you have to show the inner struggle for both characters and you have to show how both characters find themselves completed and something the other one can offer them. And it makes them vulnerable and they don’t like it. So they have to overcome both an external and internal journey.
I love my last play football romances! Last play is an established brand! I recently opened up my last play to other authors who are interested in forming mastermind groups and learning some skills that I have learned with a combined goal of having everyone in the group break Amazon top 100. I love mentoring and helping other authors grow! I love giving other authors opportunities that I wish I would’ve had early in my career. Because having a mentor to help you can shave years off your learning curve.
Q.Yes, I can see that about mentorship. Breaking top 100… I am sure you can write a book about this. I met you at your Breaking into Amazon’s top 100 retreat last year, which was a life-changer for me btw, so thank you.
A.I loved meeting you! And I have loved seeing your success! You have taken what you learned and you have rocked it! I am so impressed with you! And I’m so happy for you.
Q.Thank you! Can you tell me the top three things an author can do now to level up to Amazon Top 100 someday?
A.Great question. 😊 1-Write a compelling story. This takes a serious study of your craft. Don’t just put junk out there. Have a critique group and be willing to learn about story structure. 2-Surround yourself with writers that have the same goals. 3-Keep developing your skills. Do not get discouraged when you realize you have to learn a new skill as an indie author. 4. Sorry I had to do a number four. 😊 Cheer For other people’s success as much as you cheer for your own! Be excited for them be happy for them root for them and be grateful for everything big or small. 😊
Q.I was going to say, feel free to do more than three…
A.Hahaha…we are writers. 😊
Q.You have 18k on your newsletter list. How did you build your list?
A.Another great question. I have built my list and several ways. 1-I put my first Last Play free for a long time. Then, I put my second Last Play called The Rookie free for my newsletter subscribers. So that was a really great “magnet” to have fans subscribe and get a free book. 2-I have done a ton of cross promotion with other authors in my clean genre. And we have done rafflecopters and contests. I have also used Bookfunnel contests. 3-I have done some of those paid newsletter builder things. However, I have found that if I do just a romance, then I don’t really get the clean, sweet, Christian fans. So I try to focus on building my list through avenues that have my target readers. Not that all romance readers won’t want to read my books. But I like to focus on fans that want inspirational clean romances.
Q.You write in genres that traditionally speaking are not as familiar to women writers, I would imagine. How do you research sports or law enforcement or fire or EMS if you want to write alpha males well?
A.I’m smiling. It’s true – how do we interview or find people to interview? I have actually interviewed a Navy Seals. He moved into our neighborhood and I got to have his family over for dinner and ask him a million questions. And dang it was powerful emotional stuff! I also have had the privilege of interviewing a professional football player. I met him through a friend. Oh – I forgot I write in firefighter romances and I have interviewed three firefighters! And I do have to say that I do watch those football documentaries about the players’ lives and it has actually brought me closer to my husband writing football romance because he helps me work out my plots. 😊 He helps me know what injuries they would have to make my book work. My husband also tells me all the things that are wrong and in my football romance too. Sometimes I ignore him. 😊 And billionaires—I imagine! And it’s a blast!
Q.Why, did your hubby play football? He is a lawyer, correct?
A.Yes – he is a lawyer but he is a die-hard football fan!
Q.Ha ha, that is very helpful. Okay, just for kicks. What was the highest monthly income you have netted?
A.29k. But not every month. 😊 That was December 2018. That November and December, I put out five books. But my back list is about 55 books. Because you know, your new releases increase your backlist sales and reads.
Q.Fantastic. My last question has to do with a photo I saw you post on Facebook recently. You were standing in front of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints temple with a glowing smile. And I thought, for a busy author/publisher, she makes time for her church and family. What is the secret to that life balance?
A.No secret. Always put God first. Always. And if you need help figuring out how to get that balance—ask Him and He will help you. He will magnify you, He will give you more to give and He will strengthen you because He is the answer to every life question. Go to the Savior. Get on your knees and talk to God.
Q.That is beautiful. Thank you so much. That was a wonderful way to end this interview. You deserve every success and thanks again for inspiring me and others to be better not just as authors but as people.
A.Thank you for asking that question Jewel. It’s a good reminder for me too. I so appreciate the opportunity to chat with you 😊 and I want every success for all those authors out there that are trying to put good out into the world! Never give up! Hugs!
To learn how to write and publish fast for profit, check out my book Rapid Release.