'Electric Soul' author Taylor Saracen opens up about her quirky and fun relationship with her new book's subject Joey Mills
Each of Taylor's novels in the 'Rise Up' series feature a fresh protagonist and their experiences navigating the ups and downs of adulthood
Taylor Saracen is quite a busy woman: one second she's giving interviews for her latest book, and the very next second you can find her tending to her posse of kids. The up-and-coming author's latest novel, 'Electric Soul', is a coming-of-age novel that chronicles the journey of Helix Studios model Joey Mills before he was famous.
"The book is a view at teenage life that isn't necessarily what parents or educators want to believe is true in America today, but it is,” explains Taylor, a former middle and high school teacher. She even holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and is particularly interested in the plight of youth whose path to adulthood may appear unorthodox to most.
'Electric Soul' introduces readers to a teenage Mills who is reckless, brazen and unapologetically outspoken, and — for reasons he can’t explain — chooses to hide a key part of his true self from the world. The book is Taylor's third in the 'Rise Up' series where she discusses the trials and tribulations that the subjects of her books experienced as teens.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) recently caught up with the working mom and author, where she discussed why she tends to write about issues that would majorly resonate with the teenage population of the world, and her incredibly sweet relationship with her book's subject, model Joey Mills.
Before delving into why she chooses her subjects for who they are, it is very important to understand Taylor's thought-process behind penning down an entire series of books, which mostly feature pivotal moments in the lives of LGBTQ youth. Each novel features a fresh protagonist and their experience navigating the ups and downs of adulthood.
While the characters change and the stories vary, common themes — including the struggle for independence, identifying one’s passions, searching for acceptance and love — are interwoven through the pages of the novels. "Working with teenagers and middle schoolers helped me in understanding all the different dynamics that go on in the school and in a teenager's brain," says Taylor. Moreover, her developmental psychology course from her bachelor years really helped her nurture dynamic characters like Joey for her books.
"I really think that my developmental psychology background was a huge aid in understanding the way kids talk and communicate with each other and figure out what they think is acceptable and what's not. I mean I was a middle schooler as a teenager at some point in my life. So having a knowledge of the kind of stresses that (teens) feel really helped me to create dynamic teenage characters for my books," Taylor adds.
Taylor says that the inception of the 'Rise Up' series came about in quite an interesting place: an adult modeling agency. " I was originally going to be writing a fictional series on a porn studio, and one of my friends, was a huge fan of one of the models there. So after my day on the set, I was in the shower when I thought, 'Man, writing about (adult models) would be cooler than writing a fictional series about a studio any day!' So I approached the owner of the adult film company, and that's how it all began."
Speaking about her latest book's subject Joey, Taylor is all praises for the quirky young model. "Before I even started writing the book, I started by getting a feel of Joey's personality, and then we started to get to know each other, which made me realize Joey's one of the best people I've met. I can't speak higher of him. I wish that everybody could know him personally just because he's a great friend, a great supporter. He is just wonderful," she gushes.
But what was it that attracted her to Joey so much that she made him the subject of one of her books? Taylor says it was all in Joey's magnetic and 'electric' personality. "The more I got to know him, the more I could see the softer side of his personality, something that some people don't necessarily share with the public world. And that exactly was what led me to create the characters in the book in more natural light."
According to Taylor, all of Joey's actions come from a very warm place in his heart. "When it comes to Joey, people actually listen to him when he speaks. I called the book 'Electric Soul' based on him, because he does have an electric soul. He's still so alive and interesting but still sort-of dark, and just everything that about him made me want to write about his life. I also had a chance to speak to his mother and his sister, which made me realize that he comes from this great family. He still considers himself a mama's boy to this day."
For the future, Taylor is currently looking at a career in writing and developing scripts for adult films. She is also writing an independent novel, which she has been showing to multiple literary agents, in the hope of turning it into another interesting novel.