Taylor Hale releases her first novel, The Summer I Drowned

Taylor Hale first started writing five years ago on Wattpad, a free online application that allows people to upload their own stories as well as read the ones of others. Popular amongst teenagers and young adults, many aspiring writers turn to Wattpad to start their career and foster a passion for writing. Hale's first novel, The Summer I Drowned, is now available in print.

Targeted toward teens and young adults, The Summer I Drowned is a mystery and a thriller that is set in the backdrop of a beach town. The novel explores the themes of friendship, love and betrayal. Fans of We Were Liars or With Malice will love Hale’s writing and will never be quite sure as to what is around the next corner.

Hale was first inspired to start writing her own stories at just eleven years old. “I remember reading something someone had written online and I thought it was really amazing — so I wanted to try it out myself! Over the years, I bounced around on different sites, but finding Wattpad is when I discovered my true love for telling original fiction,” says Hale.

After consistently uploading content on Wattpad, Hale’s work eventually started to gain popularity and attract the attention of Wattpad’s publishing arm. 

Hale explains her excitement upon hearing the news that her story is going to be published and for sale. “I had been building up to having a legitimate writing career for years, so having it finally "come true" was very surreal and something I'm truly grateful for. My story didn't actually have that many reads on Wattpad before the deal — only about 300k. But it has since received over 1.4 million, which is really awesome! I'm so glad people are enjoying it” 

Wattpad reached out to Hale and told her they wanted to publish her book. Despite the fact that her story had many views on Wattpad, the editing process was lengthy. “The process felt as I imagined it would with any publisher — a lot of edits being swapped back and forth and working one on one with an editor. It was a challenging, but rewarding process,” says Hale.

The original story was written in just under three months, and was only about 60k words. It took Hale took about a year of on and off work to expand the story. Deanna McFadden, who is also the publishing director of Wattpad Books, helped Hale turn it into a 94k-word novel.

Publishing a novel has been Hale’s dream, one that seemed distant and out of reach. When Wattpad’s publishing manager contacted her, she was in shock, it seemed unreal. Writing on Wattpad was only the first step in Hale’s journey as an author. Now that she is published, Hale has many opportunities and hopes to one day get an MFA in Creative Writing and take screenwriting classes.

“Being a published author is the first milestone I've reached to having a real writing career where I can truly sustain myself as an author. That's my main hope — if I can keep selling books to the point where I'm living off something I love doing, that's the end goal,” Taylor Hale says.