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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Author Interview with Lauren Nicolle Taylor


Author of The Woodland Series

In The Woodlands, Rosa's father plays an important role in the formation of her character, but then only mystery surrounds him. Are we going to hear more about Rosa's dad in the next book?

The mystery of Rosa’s father does unravel slowly and in more detail over the course of the series. If you want to know more, read The Wall and find out! :-)

 What made you decide to set your story in Russia?

Three reasons. Firstly, my love affair with woodland creatures; I wanted to write about wolves and bears, so I chose a country where those animals could be found. Secondly, when I pictured the story I saw fierce, snowy winters and tall, heavily wooded forests. Thirdly, The Russian wilderness is extremely remote and it seemed the perfect setting for a society to establish a new settlement far removed from any reminders of the world before.

 Dystopian novels are very popular right now.  What's your favorite one written by another author?  What's one thing that sets yours apart from the others?

I love Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. The world she creates is so vivid and brutal. Her characters are edgy yet heartfelt. I love the romantic element: Two strong people who don’t warm to each other immediately but are drawn to each other despite their differences.

As far as what sets mine apart, an aspect of my book that is very important to me is most of the characters in The Woodlands are of mixed race as one of the prime philosophies of Woodland society is the idea of ‘All Kind’. ‘All Kind’ is the term used to describe the perfect Woodland citizen whose racial characteristics are blended to the point that you can’t tell their origins. For example, Rosa is half-Indian, half-Spanish.

How has your life experience influenced your novels?

I draw a great deal of inspiration from my own experiences when writing. I’ve found the dystopian genre a great way to explore hard issues in a slightly removed fashion, making it more accessible. It was cathartic for me to write using my own experiences, one step removed, about teenage love, first time pregnancy and young motherhood.

Can you tell us a little about your experiences working with Clean Teen Publishing?

This is my first publishing experience but I have to say it has been a very positive one. The advantage of Clean Teen has been the lack of waiting. So far every decision from cover art to edits has been extremely prompt and downright speedy! This meant I went from unpublished to published author in one month. The other thing I would say about this indie publisher is the approachability and personable nature of the staff. I can ask any question and have my answer within the hour. I also had input and final approval over the cover art which was important to me.

 What are you writing now?

I’m currently revising the third book in The Woodlands Series, The Wounded, which will be released early next year. Expect some more twists and turns, crazy action scenes and intriguing new characters.

I also plan to write two novellas, one from Rash’s perspective and one from Deshi’s in the New Year.


How can fans contact you?

Fans can contact me a number of ways:

Via Facebook

Via Twitter

And via my blog

The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor


(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen...

When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa.  She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.

But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.

The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.


THE WALL by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Book 2 in The Woodlands Series

Joseph, wake up, wake up, wake up.

She says it over and over. It’s her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesn’t stop while he’s sleeping. Rosa’s been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. She’s also sure they didn’t rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts.

The Survivors must want something from them… but what?

The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards.

She’s left so many people behind and isn’t sure how to start over.

There’s freedom in the Survivors’ world, more than she’d ever dreamed of, but there’s also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family she’s built on the outside.

Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?


Excerpt from The Woodlands:


The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.


Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey- washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.


My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.


They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.


“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.


“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”


He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.


Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead. 


About Lauren Nicolle Taylor


Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.

After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.

In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.

Where to find Lauren: Blog / Facebook / Twitter



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