Interview with SPFBO Author Taya Okerlund

Write on: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 by  in Guests Reviews Read 2785

Welcome to! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Like a lot of writers, I've had a lot of weird jobs, and have lived in a lot of interesting places, often in Asia. But I've also learned from the sidelines of enough cocktail parties that the most fascinating person in the room is usually the one who plays an excellent mirror. So I'd love to hear more about you, Petros. I've heard so much. 

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

I entered THE SPEC SET, and it's my third novel.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

This is YA, but don't hold that against it. It's a superhero mash-up spy thriller with neurodivergent kids. You've never read anything quite like it. Promise.

Editor’s Note: We’ll hold you to that…

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I've had enough beta reader feedback to know THE SPEC SET is equal parts intensity and unexpected. Because of that, I don't know if I can really hit people where they're at in fantasy genre. This book is not what you're used to. Also, disability plays a part of this story. Those who deal with disability may prefer to use reading as an escape. Those who don't may rather not go there. No judgment. No blame.


There's a code, actually. Page 156, 78th word.

Editor’s Note: That was easy. Thanks, we’ve been looking for those two dollars for ages!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I've published with a small press, but some authors are successful going on their own. I think SPFBO can play a big part in their success.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

My current book is for kids. It's kind of high brow MG fairyland thriller.

Editor’s Note: The world needs more fairyland thrillers, thank you for contributing to the genre!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

All thanks to the reviewers and especially to Mark. It's a vibrant community you've created and I think its going to be the way of the future.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

It's been about 30 years since Monty Python binges. Maybe its time to watch again.

Editor’s Note: Thank you for taking the time to do this, Taya! Best of luck with THE SPEC SET in SPFBO 5, and with your future projects.

Filip Magnus

Filip picked up his first fantasy novel when he was seven and hasn’t stopped reading since. A critical reader who judges novels on their technical use of language and plot alike, he has a soft spot for literary fiction and tragic, heroic tales.

In his free time, Filip writes fiction, makes gaming reviews on YouTube, and maintains a personal blog. All that when he’s not too busy going through piles of books in as short a time as possible.