By day, Johnson County Library specialist Bethany Hagen Taylor works to help ensure patrons have all the information they need to know about what’s happening at the Corinth library.
At night, and pretty much every other free moment she can find, she’s a writer herself. And just this past year, Taylor was able to publish her first book, a young adult science fiction title that she says was inspired by her time working at the Johnson County Museum.
Landry Park, published by Dial Books (a Penguin division), tells the story of a dystopian future in which a 16-year-old scion of one of the richest families in the world is attracted to new boy she meets as the injustices of this new world become more and more clear to her. Marked by descriptions of the upper class’s lavish lifestyles, the promotion materials plug it as “‘Downton Abbey meets ‘The Selection.’”
When Taylor worked for the Johnson County Museum, she would linger in both the Edwardian and 1950s displays.
“Dresses and lavish parties were only a corner away from nuclear hysteria and Cold War era paranoia,” she said. “After several months of making this walk, the germ of the idea for Landry Park began to take shape–a world powered by nuclear energy that looked a lot like the world of the past.”
Taylor, who has lived in Mission for the past six year, started writing when she was in grade school, and even completed a novel in high school. She said the experience of getting represented by an agent and having Landry Park sell just days after it was first offered was a whirlwind. What’s more, the experience actually holding her own book has been surreal.
“I had worked on the story for so long that I had almost believed it would never be a real book,” she said. “And as a librarian, seeing it circulate through the library has been even more bizarre. It feels almost incestuous to shelve my own book!”