A British teen has just finished writing a novel with her favorite author despite their 66-year age gap.
Aspiring writer Taryn Everdeen was only 15 years old when she first wrote a fan letter to 84-year-old Carolyn Meyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico to thank the author for her historical novels.
“Carolyn was one of my favorite authors. I grew up reading her books. When I was nine or ten I would listen on cassette every night … That led to a love of history,” recalls Taryn.
“I was visiting Hever Castle, the home of Anne Boleyn, and I wondered why I was so excited about history. Then I remembered reading these books and becoming obsessed with the Tudors.
Taryn, who is from Norwich, England, was then stunned when Carolyn wrote back and suggested they collaborate on a project.
Meyer, an American author who writes novels for children and young adults, has sold millions of copies of her historical fictions, most notably the “Young Royals” series. She has published more than 60 children books, although she has never wanted to work with another writer until she was “blown away” by the Taryn’s letter.
“Every now and then someone comes along with whom I have a strong and immediate connection regardless of age, gender and background,” says Meyer. “The age difference was, believe it or not, irrelevant.”
After Taryn wrote to her three years ago, Meyer invited the young Brit to stay with her in the US so they could write a novel together.
They settled on a time-traveling story about a teenage boy in present-day Roanoke Island, North Carolina and a girl living in Happisburgh, Norfolk during the 1500s.
In addition to the pair sending ideas to each other via email, Meyer visited Taryn last year and Taryn flew to the US over the summer after she finished her school exams.
The pair now have a first draft of “Mirror of Time” which they plan to give to Meyer’s agent and gauge interest from publishers.
“This has been my first proper go at writing a novel. We have been working on it for three years. It’s amazing,” says Taryn. “[And] I have never met anyone like her.
“She is completely unlike any stereotype of an 84-year-old. I think she is a really powerful role model. She’s my mentor, and my work partner, but I see her as a friend more than anything else.”
Taryn, now 18 years old, returns from her trip to the USA this week and plans to have a gap year before starting university next year.
“We worked hard, but we got up to other things together, too. While I was there, we went to a few theater shows, I went with her to an open mic where she did a stand-up comedy routine, and we went on a road-trip to Taos, staying in a motel overnight there.
“She’s very open, and I can talk to her about pretty much all the things I talk to my other friends about,” she added. “She’s taught me how to be a better writer.”
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