Friday, 27 November 2020

I Interviews

Interview: Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Blogger Donna Hatch recently wrote about the allure of the historical fiction genre and the reasons for it’s broad appeal. “In a recent survey, 80% of people who called themselves avid readers listed historical novels as one of their top three favorite types of books to read. Why the broad appeal? First, historical novels provide a fantastic escape. Second, historical novels appeal to the closet history buff. Third, historical novels help teach others about a particular time in history.”
With six completed novels spanning the Medieval, Colonial, Regency, and Quaker eras, author Jennifer Hudson Taylor has proven that she writes what she knows. Her main motivation for writing parallels her readers intention for absorbing all things classical; she loves-has an outright passion with-life in the distant past. It’s not just the historical elements that she is obsessed with, either. The craft of writing is something she frequently speaks about, captivating her listening audience as easily as she has her readers.

I asked Taylor about her new series, The MacGregor Legacy, and character specific questions regarding the first release in the series, For Love or Loyalty. We also chatted about her European ancestors, changes in the self publishing world, and what she does when she gets stuck in an unproductive rut.


MN- Tell me a little about The MacGregor Legacy.

JHT- Malcolm MacGregor vows to free his family and exact revenge against Duncan Campbell. When the opportunity arises, Malcolm decides to use Duncan’s daughter as the bargaining price. Lauren Campbell is the perfect answer, until she begins chipping away at the bitterness in Malcolm’s heart and changing everything. Her bold faith and forgiveness ignites guilt he would rather avoid and a love he doesn't deserve.


Lauren Campbell never expected to discover such a caring and protective man behind the façade of Malcolm MacGregor’s fierce reputation. When they arrive in America, things turn against them, and Lauren finds herself in a fate worse than death. Now Malcolm has the dilemma of freeing the rest of his family or rescuing Lauren, but time is short and with little means, he needs a miracle.


MN- This is your second series set in Scotland. What is it about historical Europe that you find intriguing?


JHT- I have always been fascinated by the European history and when I got the opportunity to enroll in extra European classes in college, I jumped at it. At one time, I considered a minor or double major in history. I think it intrigues me because my ancestors are from Europe and I’ve never been there. I dream of it—often.


MN- Without giving away any spoilers, I wanted to ask about the main female character, Lauren. Here she has been kidnapped and sent on a voyage across the Atlantic, and she has a very forgiving spirit toward her kidnapper. There are reviewers that say this isn't realistic, but I paralleled her ability to forgive so easily with our Heavenly Father and his mercy toward us. Any truth to that being part of the plan in developing Lauren's character?


JHT- That is definitely part of the plan. If you stop to think about Lauren’s childhood, she had to be willing to forgive often in order to love her father. She developed a forgiving spirit long before being kidnapped by the MacGregors. Not everyone forgives in the same way or as easily as others. People need to keep in mind that what isn’t realistic for them can be realistic for others.


There is a part of me that can relate to Lauren. I was born to teenage parents and my father was an alcoholic. I hated many of his ways, but I loved him dearly in spite of those ways. I had to learn forgiveness early in life. Other people would say things to me like “I don’t know how you do it” or “how can you stand it?” They couldn’t understand because they didn’t have to walk in my shoes. There is a survivor’s mode that people develop in order to cope with their situation in life. Those who say the plot isn’t realistic may not be able to identify beyond what is realistic for them.


MN- Just as Malcolm dealt with regrets in the book, readers will no doubt nod and thump the book as they recognize times in their lives when they have messed up. Many times, it seems almost impossible to forgive ourselves and move beyond the guilt. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with-and moving past-our own mistakes?


JHT- I think it is harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. My mother always said I was my own worst critic. The feeling in the first few days is the worst. As with everything else, time makes the sting dull a bit. I try to remember that God’s mercies are new each morning. When the next day dawns, remember that you have a new slate and you were forgiven for the day before. Do as Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “Go and sin no more.” Instead of beating yourself up with useless guilt, deal with the conviction, repent, and move on. Learn from your actions and decisions.


MN- On a recent radio show, my co-host and I discussed different signs that indicate we need to take a break from working on a project. One of those signs is when a person stays busy, but is not productive. Have you ever gone through a season where you were active but not making progress, and if so, what did you do to recalibrate and get back on track?


JHT- This has happened to me more than I care to admit. Once I become aware that I am spinning in circles, I sit down and look at my schedule and the results of my activities. I start evaluating, praying, and making decisions on what needs to be altered and dropped from my schedule and what new things I have been meaning to try and keep putting off.


MN- The amount of historical research that you have posted on your website is impressive! At what point in your life did you realize that history was an interest of yours?


JHT- I have loved history since I was a little kid. History is a passion I share with my dad. He would take me to historical places such as museums, and vacations that included trips to lighthouses, Kitty Hawk where the first plane flew, Old Salem, Yorktown and Williamsburg, old forts, and reenactments. He is one of the few people that can talk about a documentary as if it is on the same caliber as a Hollywood movie. Even now, when I go home they often have the TV on the History Channel.


MN-It's a new year and many will resolve to change some aspect of their life to coincide with the new year. What are some of your goals for 2014?


JHT- By the time this article is released, I will have self-published my first e-book, Awakened Redemption, an Inspirational Regency romance. This means I will be new a hybrid author. I have many reasons for doing this, but it goes back to what I mentioned earlier. When I find myself spinning in circles, I sit down and evaluate what I’m doing, what is working and what isn’t, what I want to try that I haven’t tried. The publishing industry has changed and is continuing to change. The stigma that used to be against self-publishing is no longer as harsh as it used to be. People can’t say that hybrid authors are choosing to self-publish because their works are not good enough to be traditionally published—since they are traditionally published.


MN- The one book you could read over and over and never grow tired of is......


JHT- I can’t think of any books. I do read some of my favorites multiple times, but I need to take long breaks between those reads.


Author Bio- Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & social media marketing.

Both her debut novel, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary, received a 4 1/2 star review from RT Book Reviews. Highland Blessings won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book and she has had reviews appear in USA Today Book reviews. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, parasailing, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

To connect with author Jennifer Hudson Taylor in multiple social media networks, to sign up for her newsletter, or view her many books, you can visit her website and get plugged in. 

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