A teen’s fan mail to her favorite author led to not only a heartfelt response, but a long-lasting partnership and a novel the two of them wrote together.
“It’s incredibly surreal,” said Taryn Everdeen, who is now 18. “I can’t even imagine what my reaction would’ve been if I’d have known, at 9 years old, that I was going to collaborate with and be mentored by the woman who had written my favorite books.”
Taryn Everdeen was 15 years old when she wrote to her favorite young adult author, 84-year-old Carolyn Meyer, the writer behind the Young Royals series.
“I love to get fan mail like that but I didn’t catch on that she was 15 at the time because she sounded so mature and her grammar and spelling were perfect,” Meyer told InsideEdition.com.
Meyer said it wasn’t until after a few correspondences that she decided to look her up and came across all videos of music Taryn had composed, or clothes that she re-purposed.
“Then I realized I was dealing with a teenager. I thought, 'Wow this is a really creative kid,'” Meyer said. “She brings in an entirely different skill set. Why don’t we do a collaboration of some sort?”
Taryn immediately jumped at the rare opportunity with the author, who isn’t known to do collaborations at all.
The pair eventually came up with a story of a teenage boy living in modern United States and a teenage girl living in Elizabethan England, inspired by Taryn’s interest in the Tudors.
“Carolyn's taught me a lot about writing and about life in general,” Taryn said. “I've learned that collaboration like this requires a lot of work and dedication and belief on both ends to keep the ball rolling.”
In their writing process, Meyer visited Taryn in her hometown in Norwich, England, and later on invited her to spend a summer at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“From our first meeting, we just clicked,” Taryn said. “Of course, Carolyn's my work partner and mentor, but I see her as a friend more than anything. We talk about all kinds of things and have a lot in common.”
Meyer joked that in addition to learning to work with another author, she had to learn to live with a teenager in her home.
“I had to put a little leash on her. I said, ‘You can do whatever you want in the evenings, but you’re not going off hiking with these guys,’” she said. “I didn’t want her being out at 2 in the morning, walking home from wherever she’s going.”
In terms of their writing process, Taryn learned to write with fewer distractions and Meyer got a lesson on creating consistent characters and on working with others.
“For somebody who’s basically a loner, this was a real lesson for me to stop and take in somebody else’s point of view,” Meyer said.
After several years of hard work, the pair is now ready to launch their novel about time travel, which Meyer now plans to pitch to her publishers as the last book she plans to write.
But more importantly, Taryn said she’s glad for the new friend she’s made in the process.
“I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life these past few years,” Taryn said. “She's had a massive positive impact on me and even though this collaboration has had its challenges, I wouldn't have it any other way.”