I met today’s author, Emily Taylor, during the golden days of Goodreads. On April 4th 2017, she released her first novel, a Soul to Take.
The world has changed: demons of legend now live among humans, integrated into society through Government programs, wishing for peace.
Elixia Albelin, however, isn’t sold. As an Agent-in-training, she knows firsthand the blood-thirst of demons and isn’t jumping to befriend the monsters plaguing her dreams.
But when a mission sours, Elixia’s sister is caught in the crossfire: taken. Abandoned by those meant to protect her family, Elixia is left with only one option if she wants to retrieve her sister—a taboo option that goes against everything she believes in.
She must sell her soul.
Now, bound to a beast and living on borrowed time, Elixia has to navigate the demonic world to find her sister within a cesspool of human traffickers and serial killers. Enemies control her fate, the simplest truths are questioned, and misperceptions must be shattered. Only one thing remains consistent—Elixia must find her sister before time runs out. Or become the very thing she fears most: a soulless monster.
Gritty, powerful, and exciting, A Soul to Take is a gripping debut that explores prejudice, justice, and the consequences one family faces when those two collide.
Where did you get the idea for this novel?
I’ve always been fascinated by the bonds of sisters and the fact – most relationships – are taken for granted until they’re gone. And I wanted to explore those themes within an urban fantasy setting similar to Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (one of my favourite series). The idea of ‘demons’ and contracts was born three years before I started writing when I watched the first season of Black Butler – thus the Sebastian nod. It then grew into something so much more as I built this new world and pushed my characters. Really, in the end, I wanted a novel I would read: a kick ass, pride and prejudice style romance, with fantastical elements. But SOUL turned out so much more than that.
What was your favourite scene to write?
It changed with every draft. But I think, in the end, the garden scene between a certain someone and Elixia. There’s just so much conflict between the two of them: You have Elixia denied the one thing she wants and taunt tension between her and this man as he withholds this opportunity from her, despite wanting to give her everything. It comes down to two people trying to do what they believe is best, really; and sadly, that isn’t the same thing. In the end, it implodes and pushes Elixia over the brink.
The scene is a little tribute to the rain scene in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice, as well. So that makes me a little happy – or a lot. haha
Who was your favourite character and why?
Don’t ask me that! They’re all my babies. But I think Mason has a special place in my heart. He’s another character just trying to do his best with what life’s given him. He’s very misunderstood, but he kind of uses that to his advantage in some cases. I like to think he and Elixia become great friends after SOUL. They’re very similar: stubborn and prideful to a fault.
Did you face any challenges whilst writing? How did you overcome them?
Heaps. SOUL was a very long journey. Every time I learnt something new at university, I wanted to put it in SOUL; this made for many rewrites and delays (on my behalf and the publications side, too). I strived for perfection only to realise it doesn’t exist. But I tried my hardest with my abilities at the time.
Now a little about yourself:
What music do you write to?
Anything that suits the mood. I’m a musician – I love everything I deem good (such an arrogant statement but ah well). I’ll listen to musical canon one moment, heavy rock the next, then rap or dream pop – it’s good to have a wide taste.
SOUL had a wide variety of songs hahah https://open.spotify.com/user/emilytaylorinkie/playlist/1yrSNj0a8HfQVLb3wU41fI
What is your favourite genre to write, and why?
Try as I might, I can never stick to just plain melodrama. There has to be something fantastical about it. Ordinary folk in (very) extraordinary cases – that always gets me. Despite that, I always try to reason it. So a lot of my stories end up being ‘science fantasy’ in the end, when you correctly classify them. Which amuses me. SOUL is the same. It is urban fantasy, but in my workings I do have (very bad) science justifying the mythology.
What books have you read lately?
FINALLY catching up on Kate Daniels. I was very naughty and fell two books behind. The series is still awfully enjoyable. But I’m also reading a bit of non-fiction for university.
Give us your best tip for beating writer’s block (asking for a friend):
Just write. It sounds stupid but you need to put aside all expectations – that you put on yourself and feel others put on you – and just write. It will be shit. But that’s okay. The flow comes once you get a feel of where you’re going. So brainstorm and focus on themes and conflict. Oh, and grab a notebook and go outside. Sun is good.
What is your number one rule for writing?
You’re not a writer unless you write.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
If you write, you’re a writer. If people read your work, you’re an author.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Create epic covers for epic authors.
Create films and other media content for university.
Drink tea and watch TV.
Sometimes venture outside.
My favourite section:
What genre do you have no interest in writing?
I love good stories so really ‘genre’ doesn’t have anything to do with that. I think I have a favourite movie or show or book in every genre. IN SAYING THAT, comedy is a rare skill done well – and sadly, I’m not one of the lucky ones.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to research?
Let’s just say, I’m probably on multiple Government ‘watch-lists’.
What is the strangest question or remark you’ve received about your books/writing?
Eeeh. . . I’m disappointed to say nothing comes to mind. I hope someone in future now remarks something utterly bizarre to me hahah
Describe the worst book you’ve ever read without naming it:
Ooh, that’s hard. So many. I think, just in general, trashy teen books that don’t understand the concept of ‘showing’ or unique characteristics. They’re usually published in bulk once a genre code ‘peaks’ – aka, angels, vampires, etc.
Your biggest pet peeve about the writing industry:
Ahahah Don’t have one? I’m a fairly understanding person. Work with what you have.
The cliche you can’t stand:
Bloody love triangles. They have a time and place – but not in every God damn book. YA is the worst. MC is a perfect Mary Sue and decides to ruin everyone’s relationships because she’s perfect and the world resolves around her. . . Bitch please.
The longest you’ve ever gone without writing, and why?
I’m always writing in one form or another. If I’ve gone long periods without NOVEL PROSE – it’s because I’m editing or doing scriptwriting or exploring something else.
But I can go months without novel writing – which is disappointing and a habit I’m trying to break. Months of SOUL edits really broke my good habits, will admit.
Who is your personal cheerleading squad?
My old Inkpop friends and Wattpad fans.
Describe your writing space in three words:
A catastrophic mess.
Do you have any writing buddies?
They come and go. I don’t have anyone set, but am apart some strong communities.
What does the future hold for you?
Trying to get an Agent – cross fingers.
A Soul to Take is her first formally published work and Book One of The Soul Stealers Trilogy.
Find Emily and her book!