April 12, 2011


Taylor Stevens has a first novel out this month, “The Informationist” which is expected to be a block buster (“Vogue” Magazine, 3/2011). It’s a suspense novel about a woman who is able to extract vital information from everyone she meets.  Never heard of Taylor Stevens? That’s because the author lived the first thirty years of her life moving from place to place with a religious cult, the same one in which the actor River Phoenix was raised, a cult that kept its members on a tight chain and removed them from their parents at the age of twelve. Stevens ended up begging for her cult in various places around the world, including Japan, France and Equatorial Guinea where she lived not only under the repression of her religion but also a corrupt political regime. She was given a sixth grade education and admits that well into her adult years she’d read a total of ten books, those allowed by her church. After breaking from the group, she married, divorced and now lives in Dallas, Texas with her two children.

If the story of a woman with little education who writes a best seller sounds like fantasy, I’m inclined to agree. No doubt the uniqueness of her experience gives her a rich background for story telling but it doesn’t provide her with the craft required to put a story together. By way of explanation, Stevens tells us that after leaving her church, she read voraciously. The self-education paid off. 

(courtesy: BingImages)

Stevens’ success proves that to be a good writer one must be an avid reader. But unlike the majority of writers, she escaped the usual path to publication which is lined with rejections and requires stamina to win the attention of an agent. Besides talent and fortitude, a little luck helps. Taylor Stevens was in the right place at the right time. Given her beginnings and the private battles she has fought, she deserves her chance.