If you're a reader who enjoys stories that feature strong female protagonists, pick up a book by Tampa writer Vicki M. Taylor. Her tales of women who face seemingly impossible challenges with courage and resolve will inspire readers and give them a glimpse into her own personal struggles.
Taylor was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but left after high school graduation and never looked back. Following a stint in the Marine Corps, she sought out warm, sunny places like South Carolina, California, and Arizona. “I’m just not a cold-weather person,” she says. So it wasn’t surprising that, after her three children were grown, she found her way to Florida where she enjoys “living in Vacationland” with her husband, Greg, her 12-year-old American Eskimo dog, and a Sun Conure parrot who “flew into our yard one day and adopted us.”
Taylor did not begin her career as a novelist. She graduated with a degree in Computer Science and took a programming job in the tech world. One day, her boss asked her to put together a user’s manual for a new product. Taylor enjoyed the project so much that she decided to focus on technical writing, eventually starting her own technical writing and consulting company after nearly fifteen years working her way up to manager. After a few years as a successful business owner, a health crisis caused her to reassess her life. “I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease and had to go on bed rest,” she recalls. “It made me realize that life was short. I’d always wanted to write fiction, and I didn’t want to wait any longer.” So in 1998, Taylor left the business world and began writing fiction in earnest. Around the same time, she and five others founded the Florida Writers Association, which after fifteen years is still the only statewide writing organization in Florida.
Her first novel took eight months. She admits that it’s “still sitting on my bookshelf, and will never see the light of day.” Things changed, though, with her next attempt. Forever Until We Meet, the story of a lonely woman who falls prey to an unscrupulous man on an online discussion board, was published in 2001. Taylor calls the novel “a composite of many women’s stories about how they’d been taken advantage of on computer forums.” Taylor followed this with three more novels featuring women in crisis: Not Without Anna, a story of a mother trying to cope with her daughter’s death; Trust in the Wind, the tale of a struggling single mother; and Out for Justice, a suspense novel about a young female detective investigating a child’s murder. Taylor has also written three novellas in the Romantic/Suspense, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Speculative Fiction genres.
Her latest book, Good Intentions, is a family drama based on a newspaper article about a woman whose family tried to adopt a 14- year-old pregnant girl. “The story touched my heart,” Taylor says. “I contacted the reporter for more information, and the reporter put me in touch with the family. I wanted to fictionalize their story and add more drama.” In the book, Taylor’s fictional family faces deception, infidelity, drugs, child abuse, cancer, sexual abuse and home invasion. The process of interviewing, writing and publishing took four years, but in December, 2012, Good Intentions was finally released.
Taylor is currently working on a memoir, something of a departure from her other works. In it, she shares the unique, intensely intimate story of her ongoing struggle with bi-polar disorder. Like her fictional heroines, Taylor has done battle with a host of personal demons. “The last five years have been very difficult. I’ve been in and out of hospitals,” she says. “I’m hoping my story will resonate with people in similar situations.” Taylor was also the subject of a local news program that helped demonstrate how far medical advancements have come in regards to Electroconvulsive Therapy. (You can see the news story at http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/health/shock-therapy-is-out-of-the-dark-ages-and-bringing-light-to-thousands-of-bay-area-patients. Taylor admits that it feels strange becoming the main character in one of her books. “My stories tell about strong women who face insurmountable odds and succeed,” she says. “I’d like to have that kind of strength and be able to show others how strong I really am.”
Taylor credits much of her positive success to journaling which inspired her to write Words Heal, a self-guided creative writing, expressive therapy, and journaling process to help others who may have past or present traumas and want to live more joyful lives. (Find Words Heal on Amazon.)
Vicki is now taking life easier, shifting her priorities from constantly working to spending more time serving God, loving her family, which includes four grandchildren, supporting her husband and keeping herself stable.
For more information, visit the author’s website at www.vickimtaylor.com or find her writings at her blogs http://www.livingstonefaith.com or http://www.succeedatwriting.com or http://www.writecovery.com.