Writer Spotlight - Taryn Albright

Taryn Albright
Since BlogGRRRR, yes you do sense frustration, was on the blink yesterday and many readers who wanted to show Taryn some love by commenting weren't able to do so - I decided to leave this post up for another day. Here's hoping for less GRRR and more Blog today.

I'm pleased to introduce, Taryn Albright. Whoohooo!!! Welcome, Taryn!! (Wouldn't her name make a great character name? Hmmm. Oh, sorry, getting sidetracked).

Where to begin. There is SO much about Taryn that amazes me. To start with she's only eighteen, but she's already written nine, yup, that's right, n-i-n-e manuscripts already. Her's what her bio says:

Taryn started writing full-length novels in eighth grade with purple sparkly gel pen in the middle of English class. Nine manuscripts and six years later, she has graduated to industry standard double-spaced TNR. Good thing she started early! Though she reads nearly any genre you set in front of her, Taryn only writes YA dystopian, contemporary, mystery, thriller, romance, drama, inspirational, epic fantasy, and magical realism (okay, she writes nearly any genre, too). Her YA thriller SPLASHBACK is currently being queried, and she is working on a YA dystopian entitled PLAYING GOD.

Hell-o, yowza, right? But no, no, no—that's not all . . .

When she isn't writing, she loves to work out. From age 6-18, she was a nationally ranked swimmer, swimming 20 hours/week, and she also cycles almost 10 hours/week. Her other athletic passion is weight-lifting, and she will defend her "un-girly" passion to the end. Other interests include editing, reading, blogging, lifeguarding, teaching swim lessons, and meeting writers. She is a college student on her way to a double major in English and Creative Writing with a minor in Exercise Science.

She's smart, athletic, and has super strength?!! Okay, so, I don't know about you, but I am plum tuckered out after reading all the things she does.

Taryn my dear, do you sleep? Good Lord!! 

Oh yeah, sheesh (bangs palm to forehead), I almost forgot, she has three blogs going, too, because why have one, right? And they ALL sound uber awesome, just like Taryn:
  • Write On! is the happening place for writers and readers ages 13-18.
  • Noveltee(n) is a blog run by five teenage authors chasing publication and loving books.
  • And her own personal blog, A Fool's Golden Paradise, where I just took this really cool quiz that tells you what kind of genre writer you are. Apparently I am a dystopian paranormal romance  writer (yeah, it's a new genre, just saying). Anyway, back to Taryn.

What manuscript do you have out on submission now?

My YA Thriller SPLASHBACK is complete at 60K.

Give us a short pitch.

Seventeen-year-old Lottie Maverick wants to give up the sport that sucked away her life--too bad swimming's the only thing that can save her missing sister. It's been fifteen empty months since Heidi disappeared, and now some Olympics-obsessed criminal has given Lottie an ultimatum: make the Olympic team one year from now, and he'll set Heidi free.

Cool. This is a fresh and thrilling premise. Love it!!

Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?

The Sour Patch Kids in the bottom of Heidi Maverick’s sparkly clutch probably bothered him the most. 

The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub from that new boy band's concert.

The Sour Patch Kids, or the ticket stub, or the cotton candy flavored lip gloss.

As he dug deeper into the purse, those random bits of garbage tickled his hands with worry. He thought he'd picked the right girl this time. From afar, this Heidi had looked like a high school upperclassman, slutty and desperate--just the kind he usually took. He had even chatted her up to make sure her family wouldn't come looking; sure enough, her parents were another dead-beat dad and overworked mom. Look good and normal. Most importantly, she seemed profitable. So, he had signaled to his partner and spiked her drink.

This is soooo creepy-good. I don't think I like Sour Patch kids anymore. VERY nice opening!!! I am hooked.

How would your main character describe you? If you entered into a scene in your manuscript, how would you be introduced, how would the MC perceive you? Give us a short scene but keep it under 250 words : )

I didn’t notice the new girl when she walked onto the deck. January—six months til deadline, and I still had seconds to drop. But Lee made us all play nice and introduce ourselves, wasting time I could have used to train harder, faster, stronger.

“I’m Taryn,” she said to the team. Maureen grinned at her; I vaguely remembered Mo saying something about convincing a decently fast girl to transfer to our club.

She was short, maybe five four, but Janet Evans had proven short could be fast. Long torso, and strong limbs. Curvier than most swimmers—probably a butterflyer, then. She wore Nike’s newest design, so she cared about her swim suits. Fashionable. Like Heidi. I blinked away those thoughts.

Mo called her over to where we stood and gave her a one-armed hug. “Taryn, this is Lottie Maverick.”

“I know—I mean, nice to meet you.”

Great. Another fan.

“I’m a swim-stalker,” she shrugged, blushing a little.

Lee called out the warm up just then, and I dove into the pool. No time for small talk, but at least Taryn might get Maureen off my back.

Nice job. We get such a great sense of setting here and it's clearly one you know well : ) Do swimmer-stalkers wear shark fins on their backs? Just curious. 

What is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.

This was a really hard question, but I’m going to go with cacophony (for most) and quite (for least). I overuse quite, and it frustrates me—especially now, during edits.

As the night dipped closer to morning, she fell into a restless sleep of nightmares and dreams, a cacophony of stories in all of which Tony was the star. (That may or may not be an actual line in my WiP.)

Even though traces of her bright red, “Sinfully Scarlet” lipstick still streaked her mouth, her thumb hovered inches from her parted lips as if she hadn’t quite given up sucking it. (Ditto.)

I’m quite sure the sentences are in your wip ; ) I like cacophony, too.

What are you working on while you wait?

PLAYING GOD: In a dystopian future where humans are gods, a shy teen exploited by the government discovers the awful charade by which writers seem to create portals to other worlds.

Ooooh, that sounds really interesting. I love portals. Can they write me one that leads to Hogwarts, pleeeeease?

What book have you read in the past year that’s inspired you and why?

I read about 25 books per month, and each inspires me in some way. I’ve reviewed Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer on my blog because it was so unique and so not what I was expecting. It has been pitched as a book version of Glee, but it’s not. It’s a tale of friendship and rivalry and who stands by you down at the wire.

Another one would be Five Flavors of Dumb. It’s also unlike anything else out there. There’s a hot guy—but he stays a jerk. There’s a mean girl—but she’s layered and ends up the MC’s friend. It says a lot about common enemies and overcoming prejudices.

Those both sound great!!! Thanks, I will check them out.

Do you have a literary-character crush?

Um, of course. If I had to pick just one it would be Kartik from Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty. A second would be Etienne St. Clair (of course) from Anna and the French Kiss. Third is Benedict from Much Ado about Nothing. And my secret shame is a huge crush on Ender Wiggin.

The secrets out now : )

Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?

I have swum competitively for eleven years now and been ranked as high as 4th in the nation. 

WOW, that's great!!! I see where the inspiration for SPLASHBACK came from.

I also have the Washington state high school record for bench press. And I skipped fourth grade.

GAH! Stop, please, I can't take anymore. Just teasing—not! No, really, really, I am—teasing that is.

Taryn, I look forward to watching all that you do in the future and wish you lots and lots of success with SPLASHBACK and your other works. Taryn has her query stats for SPLASHBACK posted on her blog here, along with the query, which is neat to read (good luck with the revision/resubs!!)

It's been a pleasure, Taryn. Thanks for the interview and keep us posted! 

**Need more writers to step into the spotlight. If you are that writer or know someone who meets the criteria (see page above), please email me.


  1. Nice to meet you, Taryn! Thanks for sharing some of your story and good luck with submissions (and all your other endeavors)!

  2. Hi, Taryn! =D Good luck with Splashback & Playing God, and omgsh, Kartik... He's pretty much my top literary crush, too. ^_^

  3. YES to Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing. Just because he's from a classic doesn't mean he's un-crushable.

  4. Wow Taryn! I'm impressed you could write with all the swimming because my daughter is training and she wouldn't have the time. That's awesome that your book ties into your swimming interests. Good luck with it and your blogs. They sound really interesting.

  5. With those opening paragraphs, you will definitely score a request. Aaaaaaghhh, I need to know what happens next!! Like, desperately! :) Anytime you need a beta reader, just ask, hehe. :) Kidding. Except...not really. :)


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