Laini Taylor (Ali Smith)Laini Taylor discusses, signs copies of her “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” trilogy at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

By David Steinberg

When it comes to writing, Laini Taylor, author of bestselling young adult fantasies, used to be a perfectionist.

One downside of that drive for excellence was that Taylor couldn’t finish projects.

“I had a hard time moving past the beginnings of things. I had tended to stay and edit and revise until it was perfect,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Portland, Ore.

“It took me a long time to conquer that. I have practical strategies that I use every day when I’m writing because I still have a tendency to stop and tidy up the language. It’s very insidious.”

About 10 years ago, Taylor began attending writing conferences. The main annual conference she went to was the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Los Angeles.

Her primary, and obvious, reason was to meet editors and agents and get a contract with a publishing house.

Taylor achieved another goal by attending. “Each year I would have more work to show and submit. … You learn to become a better writer,” Taylor recalled.

After a few years, she met an agent and editor and several years later she sold her first book, a fantasy for middle readers, titled “Blackbringer (Dreamdark).”

Taylor has garnered more literary success since then. Namely with her young adult fantasy trilogy – “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” “Days of Blood and Starlight” and the recently published “Dreams of Gods and Monsters.”

Finding the paved portion of her road to writing has been long, winding.

As an English major in college, she studied literary classics and fiction and after graduation she realized she didn’t have enough life experiences that would form a foundation for ideas to write about.

“Then I went to art school and did illustrations. From there, I rediscovered fantasy. I had loved it as a younger reader,” Taylor said.

She acknowledged that she was an early fan of Harry Potter novels and that got her interested in becoming an author. “They were a huge influence. They awakened a fantasy appetite in me, and everybody. It was just really exciting,” Taylor said.

Even as a child, she had wanted to be a writer.

“I didn’t always have access to great libraries or bookstores but I was always reading, and writing, from a really young age,” she said. “I loved coming up with a fantasy world, coming up with characters. But I had never come up with a story. it was more like role-playing (in her imagination).”

Her success as an author is helping her in another arena. “Dauther of Smoke and Bone,” the first book in her trilogy, she said, is in development as a feature film at Universal Studios. And she is an executive producer of the film. “We’ve got a director and a script,” Taylor said.

 

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