Saturday, October 06, 2012

Writer's Workspace: Tara Taylor Quinn

PHS is very excited to visit with US Today bestselling Super Romance author Tara Taylor Quinn and learn about where she creates her books.

I am a versatile writer.  The space matters; it has to work for me.  But the place…it versifies.  This isn’t by choice.  Or even by personality or muse or inner direction.  My work space became what it was because of the forces inside of me.  I had to write.  And I was a mother.


I’ve been writing since I was six years old and had my first short story published in a school publication.  At fourteen I knew, and announced to the family, that I was going to write for Harlequin some day.  During high school, while other girls dated, I read Harlequin romances, preparing for my career.


I wrote a couple of manuscripts.  They weren’t good.  Even I knew that.  But I was compelled to write, so I did.  I always would.  And I always believed I would get better at it – good enough, in fact, to write for Harlequin.


And then I gave birth.  I loved that baby MORE than I needed to write.  I still do, but she is her own person with her own loves and interests and I was still a writer.  I started writing again, full time, full manuscripts when my daughter was two.  She was kindergarten age when I sold my first book.  But she wasn’t in kindergarten.  She was in a special program at the university for gifted kids.  By the time she was eight, and I was under constant contract with constant deadlines, she took college entrance exams and was accepted into college.  If she was going to attend, someone had to chaperone her.  That someone was me.


And so I learned to write sitting in hallways outside of college classrooms.  I couldn’t choose the rooms that the college chose to house her classes, I couldn’t choose the buildings.  I couldn’t choose my hallways.  But I could choose certain things.  I could choose my inner environment.  And somewhat, my outer environment as well.  At the beginning of each semester I would scope out every class, find the nearest place with a plug for my laptop, where I could still see if my daughter was out of class, and there I would nest.  I had a backpack made specifically for laptops.  I had a cushioned seat for the floor – if there were no benches or seats close.  I carried my diet coke.  And I had headphones.  I’d put on those headphones and put on whatever album was the right music for the book I was writing and I’d be transposed away to the place I needed to be.  The writing place.


My daughter has long since graduated – from community college, from university, and from law school.  And I still have my writing space – a place with a cushioned chair, with pictures of my daughter close by so that I can look up and see that she is there, and with headphones so that I can be transported into the place I need to be to tell the story.


I’ve had some lovely offices, with book covers up along the ceiling.  With bulletin board filled with quotes and favorite things.  And I’ve worked sitting outside with a laptop on my lap.


Currently I have two offices – a desk and my computer and hard copy files in my mother’s house.  And a small, stash away desk in lieu of the glove compartment in our RV.  Tim and I are house hunting – which means office hunting!  In both offices I have chairs with cushions, a computer, and headphones.  In the RV I also have my favorite scent burning close by – something I love, but don’t have to have.  In both places, I have pictures of my daughter, in various stages of her growing up, right next to me.


The key – find out what you need from the inside out.  Listen.  Provide.  And the rest will take care of itself.
You can learn more about Tara Taylor Quinn on her website Her latest book for Harlequin Super Romance --A Daughter's Story has just released. It is part of the Comfort Cove series. And she will have a FREE ebook novella releasing in December -- The Good Girl which is also part of the Comfort Cove series.


  1. Wow! You really captured me with your memories of your daughter. How fabulous that you allowed her to follow the special program to match her abilities - even if you had to sit on the floor! And what a strangely appropriate title for your next book!

  2. Me too, Scarlet! And I also use my iPod, with the current 'soundtrack' for my book as a playlist, to transport me into my story world. Those opening bars hit and I'm there...