Our member of the week is Taryn Simpson. Taryn is a freelance writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, working primarily as a ghostwriter. Aside from ghostwriting, Taryn also does book promotion, including making book trailers and banners for websites and blogs. _"_The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road,â? Tarynâs newest novel, was recently published and has a trailer on YouTube. Taryn discusses her experiences working on this project in our interview with her below. Check out Tarynâs blog to keep up with her projects, and take a look at her profile on our yellow pages to find out more about Tarynâs work as a freelance ghostwriter.
1. What has been your most interesting project?
No question, it would have to be co-writing and collaborating with another writer located in Beijing, China! We used email and instant messaging as our sole means of communication. When I created the blog to promote our book, he couldn't even access it for a long time due to China's strict internet laws.
Even though my co-writer is a native New Zealander, he has taken on many Chinese qualities and I've learned a lot about people in that sense. The Chinese philosophy is much different than American business philosophy. A true sense of friendship or interest has to exist before business is done. That's how it happened with us. We clicked immediately and I truly feel that this book was a blessing for me. He initially contacted me to "punch up" the book and our client/writer relationship immediately turned into friendship.
The book also contains a sense of mysticism which is prevalent in Chinese culture. My co-writer bought a restaurant that sits upon a legendary Mystical road called Loi Kroh Road. The story goes that when King Mengrai the Great founded the city of Chiangmai in the year 1296, the superstitions of the East entered the city and lay in wait in the shadows of Loi Kroh Road where today, it is told, they still wait patiently. As planes land at Chiangmai airport, it is said that with every landing a fool steps off and enters Loi Kroh Road, never to be the same again or, in some cases, never to be seen again.
The novel, "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" is a fictional novel but is loosely based on my co-writer's life. It is a very powerful, emotional book and each time I read it, I am in tears. I'm extremely proud of this book and am in the midst of marketing it. It's currently scheduled to be shown at the Beijing, China International Book Fair. And, if you can believe this, people have formed a Yahoo Group regarding the book!
2. Why did you decide to go freelance?
If you live in the U.S., that is a goal that most everyone aspires to, I think. The idea of choosing when to work, where to work and so on is very very appealing to me. Financially, it presents issues at times! But, when I look at the big picture, it is more than worth it. I just knew I wanted to write for a living and I was sick of the "Corporate America" life. Freelancing is the ultimate sense of self and empowerment.
3. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance?
I would highly suggest reading the Peter Bowerman books, "The Well-Fed Writer" series. Although I rarely do the type of writing he does, the principles and thought processes are the same. They are excellent books and I recommend them constantly to anyone that voices a desire to freelance for a living.
I would also suggest joining groups such as the Freelancer's Union and network network network. Also: SAVE AT LEAST 6 MONTHS OF SALARY and make sure you have read the Bowerman books before you make the plunge! Everything you need is within you, but you need a plan and a sense of direction to be successful.
4. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live?
I really love the area where I live in Nashville, but I also enjoy the Music Row area during the day. You see a lot of musicians walking in the neighborhood-esque area going from studio to studio. The city is big enough and small enough for me. People are genuinely nice in the South and once I moved here and learned to "slow down" I fell in love with the place. People watching is interesting and you meet a wide variety of people from tourists to transplants from California, New York or Texas etc.
5. What is your inspiration?
I'm naturally driven, I guess. That's a plus when you're a writer! I can't say it's to gain fame, or have people know my name, necessarily, but I would like to be known for writing great, entertaining books. I hope that one day that happens. I keep going back to my latest book, "The Mango Tree..." but I have this thing inside of me that I could have 1 million agents say that the book stinks, and it doesn't matter. I believe in the book that strongly. I am absolutely and thoroughly convinced that any person that picks that book up to read it will be affected by it. I know I am. I guess I have a dual personality, part writer, part promotional! Yet, I have to make myself network and so on. It's a real dichotomy within myself.