Where Are They Now? Taylor Bennett: Porch Swing Girl

Dec 03, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


We love to hear from students who have experienced success with IEW. Today’s blog post features one who not only learned to write with IEW, but used her skills to write a novel, which she is developing into a series! Meet Taylor Bennett, author of the novel Porch Swing Girl, the first book in her Tradewinds series.


How did you come up with the idea of writing Porch Swing Girl? How old were you at the time?

The idea for Porch Swing Girl wasn’t something I came up with as much as it was something that found me. I caught my first glimpse of the story I would come to tell in its title—a random trio of words that assembled in the sleepiest corner of my brain—some chilly February morning when I was fifteen. By the time Porch Swing Girl finally entered the world, I was seventeen. I grew so much (as both a writer and a person!) during those two years.


How do you begin the writing process? For example, do you begin with the end in mind? Or do you allow your “muse” to guide your efforts once you begin?

While it depends with every book, I usually have a pretty clear idea of where each book is going to end up. But sometimes it takes a little while to figure out what plot line will get me there.


While you were writing your novel, did you continue to keep up your other school subjects, or did you set those aside for a time in order to focus on your writing?

I kept chipping away at school, but as a homeschooled student, I enjoyed having the freedom to incorporate my writing right into my daily workload. My mom/teacher/honorary editor also made sure I had dedicated writing time a couple of days each week.


Did your novel require any research? If so, how did you obtain that?

Well, seeing as how it takes place in present-day Hawaii, you could say some research was in order. I’d been to the island of Maui once before beginning Porch Swing Girl, but my writing project (coupled with a bad case of the travel bug) led me back to this magical isle twice more during the writing of my book. While in Maui, I focused on soaking up the local culture (not the touristy, hula-dancer-on-the-dashboard stereotype) and pouring it into every page of my writing to craft as authentic a setting as possible.


You were an IEW intern at one point. What sorts of things did you do in that role?

As an IEW intern (and now an employee!) I work with the Magnum Opus Magazine as an assistant editor. I’m the one who goes through each student’s submission, editing for grammar and basic continuity. It’s a really fantastic experience, and one that helps me grow in both my editing AND my writing skills.

As a home-educated student, did you use any IEW products? If so, do you have a favorite one?

We used IEW products for about ten of my thirteen years of homeschool, and I completed nearly every course they offered! My favorite one (if I absolutely HAD) to choose was the U.S. History-Based Writing curriculum, though it’s practically impossible to beat Mr. Pudewa’s phenomenal instructional videos!


How many novels do you plan to write in your Tradewinds series? Any hints about what you're working on now?

When I signed with my publisher for Porch Swing Girl, I also signed for two other books to round out the series. So three looks to be the magic number for this series. Right now, I’m working on the third book in the series...and eagerly awaiting the release of Book Two!!


You recently graduated from high school. What are your current educational or work plans?

Right now I’m taking things one day at a time, working part-time for IEW (as an assistant editor for Magnum Opus Magazine), Girlz 4 Christ Magazine (as their online/social media director), and my very own publisher—Mountain Brook Ink—(as their publicity intern.) I always planned on going to college, but God has led me to this place, and I’m excited to see what He has planned for me.


How do you go about the editing process? For example, do you have a family member edit your writing, or do you have someone else do it? How many edits do you typically go through before you get to the final draft?

Ooh...editing! Editing is actually one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Usually I go through my book once on my own and edit it, then give it to my mom (my favorite literary critic!!) who reads over it and suggests any needed changes before I send it in to my publisher, where it then typically undergoes an additional two to three rounds of edits before proofreading. Phew! It’s a good thing I love editing so much.


What an exciting time for Miss Bennett! It sounds as though she has a great future in writing and editing ahead of her. It is wonderful to see how her experiences with IEW have generated her interest in the publishing industry and developed her skills as a writer. We congratulate her and look forward to her future books. If you would like to learn even more about Taylor, check out this podcast where we interview her.



Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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