Ask the Author: Laura Taylor Namey

What would you like readers to know about you?
I’d like readers to know that I’m so grateful to anyone who picks up one of my books and that I am just over here in my writing chair working hard to make content that will hopefully make them feel something.  

What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
Since A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW isn’t out yet, I’ll say it’s a heart story about a teen Miami Cuban bakery heiress named Lila who suffers a crushing amount of loss in a short period of time. To help her heal, her parents send her to their family/friends’ inn in a small English city. There, Lila meets Orion, a teen whose family owns a tea shop. Orion understands and empathizes with Lila’s loss because he’s living his own. Even though Lila comes to England with one goal, to go right back home, take over her family’s business, and fix her losses “her way,” Orion and England have a few things to say about her best-laid plans. 

What has been your inspiration for writing it?
This story is a love letter to my Cuban family. My mother was born into a large family on a farm just outside Cienfuegos, Cuba and she came to America as a teen exchange student right before Castro rose to power. Many of my family members followed. I wanted to write a story tributing my amazing family, and all the things they taught me. I placed their spirits, food, lessons, and love into a modern story of a Miami Cuban teen who lives and loves a lot like I have. 

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
One of my favorite scenes to write was the meet-cute between Lila and Orion. I won’t spoil it, but it’s definitely fun. 

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I am inspired by Markus Zusak, Mary Pearson, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Celeste Ng for a start. I love the differences in theme and storytelling, but all of these authors make me feel so many emotions with I read them. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

Read 25-50 books in your desired genre and age group. Pick your top five and study how each author is using pacing, setting, plot devices, and character arc in certain places to evoke a sense of emotion and resonance. As soon as you have some of your own words in book form, try to pair yourself with another writer or critique group. I recommend getting eyes on your work fairly early in the process, as this will become the norm. Even if it’s scary! It always is, but feedback and stepping away from our comfort zones are important ways to grow. 

 

A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW buy links and publisher info: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Cuban-Girls-Guide-to-Tea-and-Tomorrow/Laura-Taylor-Namey/9781534471245 

Visit her website: www.laurataylornamey.com 

Twitter: @lauraTNamey 

Instagram: @laura_namey 

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