“…what I hope ultimately matters most to people is the fact that I can tell a good story.”
There’s a new kid on the book block and her name is Taylor Stevens. Her new thriller, The Informationist, has been generating lots of buzz. Its heroine, Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, is being compared to Lisabeth Salander, the star of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Yet many reviewers are taking care to point out that Taylor, a 30-something American, has brought to life a totally fresh and vivid character with a history and spirit all her own. High praise for a first-time novelist.
Not only is the central character exciting and believable, she’s also a globetrotter: the novel’s action shifts from America to Europe to Africa and according to one reviewer, its plot unfolds like a high-speed car chase.
Even more fascinating than the stunning success of an unknown author who’s giving characters like Lisabeth Salander and Jason Bourne a run for their money, is the story behind the story. Taylor is an defector from the Children of God, a cult that limited her access to books and gave her only a sixth grade education. But after leaving the cult and her former life behind, Taylor decided to pursue her love of writing and adventure.
“The fact that I couldn’t punctuate when I started writing, the fact that I relied heavily on spell check to be able to form coherent sentences, the fact that I really had no idea what I was doing, none of that seemed to be much of an issue,” she says. “I was like, ‘Yeah, well, I’ve been through worse.'”
I just love the idea that Taylor had some big obstacles to overcome, but just saw them as speed bumps and powered past them to tell a great story. And it does sound great. Here’s how one reader described it: “The depth of her character exploration, the complexity of the protagonist’s perspectives, and the twists and turns that deep African culture and social complexities lead to are just incredible.” Wow, what a great review! And what an inspiring debut story. It just goes to show that anything’s possible when you write dangerously. Write on!