I would like to extend a warm welcome to Abbie Taylor.
What is your name and where are you from?
My legal name is Abigail L. Taylor, but my author name is Abbie Johnson Taylor. I’m currently in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I’ve lived for over thirty years. I was born in New York City on June 1st, 1961. After moving to Boulder, Colorado, then Tucson, Arizona, my family finally settled here in 1973 so my father could run the family’s coin-operated machine business after my grandfather died. I went away to school in the 1980’s but came back and have lived here ever since.
Cool. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
I talk to myself. When my late husband Bill was alive, it drove him nuts at first. Then after he suffered two strokes that left his left side paralyzed, he said he liked it because he always knew where I was and what I was doing. Because he was totally blind and then became partially paralyzed, this was a comfort to him.
Aww. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. May he rest well. Are you employed outside of writing? Tell us about your job.
I’m not employed anymore. Before I married Bill, I was a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. I have a visual impairment, so I also facilitated a support group for others with blindness or low vision, taught braille, and served on the advisory board to a state trust fund that purchased adaptive equipment and services. In 2005 when I married Bill, he persuaded me to quit my day job and write full time.
Sounds like he was your writing foundation. Excellent. Music Therapists sounds like a powerful job. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What does a Music Therapists do?
It’s a therapeutic tool that can be used with a variety of populations including children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and seniors suffering from dementia. My focus was with the geriatric population. In nursing homes and other facilities, I conducted sing-along, name that tune, and other group activities to mainly help residents re-connect with their younger years. I also worked one on one with residents who were bed-ridden or chose not to attend group activities.
Wow. that is an awesome service you perform. Speaking of music, what songs have you completely memorized?
There are a lot. Even though I’m no longer working in nursing homes and other facilities, I still take my guitar to these places and play and sing for the residents at least once a month. They enjoy it, and it gets me out of the house and away from my writing for a while.
Any siblings Abbie?
I have a younger brother who lives in Jupiter, Florida. He has a P.H.D. in physics, and after years of lab work, he now teaches at a private high school. He’s married with five kids, all either in high school or college.
Neat. What’s your favorite drink?
It’s Dr. Pepper. I wrote a poem about it which was published in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.
My husband loves Dr. Pepper. What state or country do you never want to go back to?
That would be Arizona. My family lived there for eight years before moving here. The summers were extremely hot and didn’t cool down much at night. Often, our air conditioning quit working. Also, I had some unpleasant experiences at the state school for the deaf & blind.
What was your childhood dream?
When I was about twelve years old, after I discovered that I could sing and play the piano, I wanted to be a singer like Debbie Boon or Olivia Newton-John. I entered a local talent competition several times and finally won second place when I was a sophomore in high school. After graduating, I was convinced that I needed a more stable career. After several years of college, I discovered music therapy.
Does blogging help you to write?
I don’t know if blogging helps me write, but it does promote my work. I now post at least three days a week, and some of my content is related to what I’ve written. I include links to where my books can be purchased on every post.
Smart. What’s your favorite food?
I love pasta of all kinds with a variety of toppings. Now that I’m widowed, I don’t do much cooking but enjoy ready-made frozen meals from Schwan.
Yea, Pasta is my weakness. What’s your favorite color?
I’ve been told that blue looks good on me. Having some vision, I agree, but I also look great in red, yellow, pink, and brown. I really don’t have a favorite color.
Got it. Let’s talk some more about writing. Who is your favorite writer?
I like Danielle Steel because she tells compelling stories with happy endings. However, there are times when she does way too much telling and not enough showing, and that drives me up the wall.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
My first book, We Shall Overcome, a romance novel, was published in 2007. At the time, I was married, and Bill was depressed because his therapists had given up on him. My book being released and Bill’s favorite baseball team, The Colorado Rockies making it to the play-offs, kept us both going. When my author copies came in the mail, he wanted to look at one of them. Although he couldn’t see it, as he held it in his hands, I could imagine the shit-eating grin that spread across his face, as he said, “My wife, the published author.”
Do you have children?
No, Bill was my first husband, and we were married late in life. I was in my forties, and he was in his sixties. We realized that having children would be a risky business, and after he suffered his first stroke, I was glad we’d made that decision. Caring for him was hard enough without the added burden of a child or two. My latest book, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, tells our story.
What do you think of the current U.S. political climate? What needs to change?
Right now, we have a president who is going against what we stand for as a country. Ever since Donald Trump took office two years ago, he has done everything he can to limit immigration, claiming immigrants are criminals and not realizing, or perhaps caring, that he, along with the rest of us, are descended from immigrants and that if not for immigrants, this country wouldn’t exist. He’ll stop at nothing to get what he now wants, a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. I can only hope that our newly elected Democratic House of Representatives will prevail and that Trump will be voted out of office in 2020.
What genre do you write in, why?
I write fiction, poetry, and memoir. I like the flexibility of more than one type of writing.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. I play the piano and guitar and sing, and I’m involved in a women’s choral group. I also participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA.
Thanks so much Abbie for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a romance novel, We Shall Overcome, two poetry collections: How to build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, and a memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. She’s working on another novel. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet and Magnets and Ladders.
Be sure to follow Abbie online!