Sunday, June 10, 2012

Interview with Taryn Albright

I have a house guest! And not just any house guest--it's my critique partner, the one-and-only brilliant Taryn Albright. At nineteen years old, she has an agent, is an intern for another literary agent, runs an editorial service (Teen Eyes) with her best friend, and is an assistant to the much-buzzed-about-debut author, Gennifer Albin. PLUS she's a full-time college student, nationally ranked competitive swimmer, and an all-around awesome gal. I have a complex just being her friend. ;-)

I decided to be a mean hostess and torture Taryn with a slew of agonizing writing-related questions. She decided to be a nice guest and oblige me.

So here we go!

What is your biggest fear as a writer?

I fear losing my love for writing, or being called predictable, like I have formulaic plots. For some reason I don't fear "selling out" or being highly commercial. I write to entertain, not to be profound, though my greatest hope is that I can manage both. Still, first and foremost, entertainment is my priority.

In what area of writing do you feel the most self-confident?

Drafting! Haha :) Revisions=not fun.

What advice would you give yourself as a writer, if you could travel back in time two years?

Ohhh fun question. Hmm, two years ago I had just finished high school. I wasn't very serious about writing. I don't know if I'd tell myself anything . . . my writing journey has been very smooth and organic. I wouldn't want to change the way I did anything.

What is your favorite thing about being a literary agent intern?

Ohh gosh. I love discovering projects that I think are awesome, but that's very rare. There have only been two that I've read and thought I WANT TO SEE THIS AS A BOOK. Honestly, my favorite thing is how my boss-agent is coming to trust me and the way I'm able to get experience in what I want to be my career. This is a lame answer ;)

You are currently on submission with a novel. Tell me a little bit about that book.

BEGGING TO BREATHE is a swimming murder mystery that takes place over the last day of nationals. Tessa Crichton has found her archrival Julia drowned, and due to Tessa's previous near-drowning experience, her memory has holes around the time of Julia's death. Because of their rivalry, Tessa is the top suspect. Commence intrigue, secrets, and kissing.

How you do you handle the ups and downs of being on submission?

I stay super busy. I have a freelance editing service, Teen Eyes, I have my internship, and I have a few awesome critique partners who ask me enough questions to keep my mind off submissions. I'm working on another project right now, but it's actually a reminder of submission, not a respite.

How would you describe your relationship with your agent, Vickie Motter?

Vickie and I are pretty close. We actually live like 15 minutes away from each other, so we meet up often for coffee/to trade books. She's responsive and fun, new but skilled. Her enthusiasm for my projects is tangible :)

What advice would you give writers who are still in the querying trenches?

 It only takes one yes! Also, MAKE SURE you have objective eyes on your manuscript. (Teen Eyes is great for that! *shameless plug*) 

You are only nineteen years old, and yet you have accomplished so much. What advice would you give to aspiring teen writers?

Get involved online. People are way older than you, but in "writer-years," we're pretty similar. A 50-year-old may be writing her first book, whereas a 18-year-old could be Kody Keplinger and published. Don't put it off. I am of the opinion that advice to TEEN WRITERS should be no different than advice to any writers.

You just attended the Book Expo of America in New York City. What was the most surreal moment for you, and what was the biggest disappointment?

 Surreal moments: (there were many) Boss-agent introduced me to a bunch of editorial directors, I met a lot of agents to whom I'm on submission, and a few authors recognized me.

Disappointment: Not much! I didn't snap many pictures? My crit partners weren't there?

Everything was awesome :)

What character of your own invention do you identify with the most and why?

Well, my MC of the book on sub is one of those hard-to-like characters...she's obsessive about winning, arrogant, and uber-competitive. She's also extremely talented. I'd say Tessa is a very very accentuated version of me. She's got my talents--except WAY more. She also has my flaws--except WAY worse. Because of these extremes, she was fun to write.

Fast forward five years. If all the stars aligned and you had your way, where would you be and what would you have done in the writing world?

 I would have six books out (two in 2014, two in 2015, two in 2016; I plan to be a 2 book/year person), I'd be under contract for a whole lot more. I'd be a literary agent with a bunch of awesome clients (who all were contracted). I'd be living happily near Seattle, where I was raised. All this at 24 ;) Ohhh, I'd also have graduated college, I guess, with my creative writing degree, and have won nationals for swimming my senior year. Oh, wait, that's not writing related...

You are an incredibly dedicated and ambitious person. How do you keep the fire burning?

I love love love the book world. I love stories, authors, and everything about publishing. So far, that's been enough.


  1. The young, motivated, super-talented ladies in the writing world continually floor me! Taryn, best of luck in your writing endeavors and keep up the amazing work!

    1. I know, right? There are far too many talented ladies out there almost half my age. I try not to compare myself. "Try" being the operative word. :-)

  2. This was an awesome interview. Taryn is such an inspiration.

    1. Thanks, Tracey. Yes, Taryn is insanely inspiring, I agree!

  3. Fun to read. And great pic of you 2. I have the best CP's!!

    1. You do...indeed. :-) I get to see my Robin in just 1.5 days and counting!

  4. Aww, fun! I would love to meet Taryn. :)

    1. Yeah, we've got to figure out how to do this! Maybe dinner during WIFYR week with my CPs or something...

  5. Amazing! I'm tired just reading that post! Taryn, you sound absolutely fabulous and Kathryn, I've met you in person, so I know you are:) Great interview!

    1. Haha...Thanks, Deana. I'm still reeling over your happy agent news!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Stacy. *skips away to check out your blog*

  7. This makes me miss you two. (And didn't I see you both in those outfits at my house just hours before this post went up? :)

    Just two more days...

    1. 1 1/2 more days... It's going to be a crazy CP reunion all over again!