In which we help Devon Taylor, author of The Soul Keepers, save his characters’ backstories from the bottom of his desk drawer (and a giveaway)


soul keepers

The Soul Keepers

By: Devon Taylor

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Publication Date: August 28th, 2018

“A fantastic high-stakes adventure on a ghost ship sailing forever into eternity, where every soul is (literally) worth fighting for—what’s not to love? Devon Taylor weaves an endearing tale of friendship and loss with heart-stopping action and a whole lot of terrifying monsters. You’ll root for Rhett and his fellow reapers through every twist and turn!” —Rin Chupeco, author of The Bone Witch and The Girl from the Well

Full of danger, stormy otherworld seas, ghost ships, and terrifying monsters, this thrilling debut novel is perfect for fans of Taran Matharu and Neal Shusterman.

Death is just the beginning.

After dying in a terrible car accident, Rhett awakens in the afterlife and is recruited to join the crew of theHarbinger, a colossal seafaring vessel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead. To where exactly, no one knows. But the crew must get the souls there, and along the way protect them from vicious soul-eating monsters that will stop at nothing to take the ship and all of its occupants.

Rhett and his new friends have a hard enough time fighting back the monsters that grow bolder and more ferocious every day. But then a new threat emerges, a demon who wants something that Rhett has. And if she gets it, it could mean the end of everything… for both the living and the dead.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Soul Keepers is a pulse-pounding, cinematic adventure by debut author Devon Taylor.



I love writing my characters. Unfortunately, all my characters are dead.


The first part of that statement is one that I’m sure plenty of writers can relate to. The second part? Probably not so much. The good news, though, is that my characters are also part of the crew of a giant ship in the afterlife called the Harbinger, where they protect the souls of the dead from these gnarly soul-eating monsters called psychons. It’s not the greatest gig in the world, but it sure beats some of the grislier alternatives that have been presented throughout literary history. It also gives me the opportunity to create some seriously awesome and interesting backstories for the characters. If you’re a writer, you know that even if most of that backstory never makes it to the pages of the final draft, it still helps to inform everything else about the book. Plus, it makes the characters feel that much more realistic. In most cases, the backstories that writers develop for their characters will end up in a desk drawer or an obscure computer file, maybe forever. Luckily for me, though, Bibliobibuli YA has given me the opportunity to drop a few character profiles from The Soul Keepers right here on their blog! Below, you’ll find some kickass tidbits about the main characters from TSK that you can read in the book—plus some that you can’t! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!


Rhett Snyder

Age: 17

Cause of Death: Car accident

Hobbies: Listening to music/playing guitar (poorly)

Pet Peeves: When Basil, his unofficial tour guide of the afterlife, refers to him as “mate.”

Fun Facts: Even though it’s mentioned in The Soul Keepers that Rhett is named after Clark Gable’s character in Gone with the Wind (because it was his parents’ favorite movie), Rhett never talks about the fact that his parents saw that movie the night they first met, and that they watched it every year on their anniversary. They’d never force him, but Rhett would often join his parents for those annual viewings. It was secretly his favorite movie, too.


Basil Winthrop

Age: 19 (at death)

Cause of Death: Blunt force trauma due to a train wreck

Hobbies: Catching up on movies/TV shows that have been released since his death. He watches them in the Harbinger’s on-board theater. It makes him incredibly pop-culture savvy.

Catch Phrases: He frequently refers to Rhett as “mate.”

Fun Facts: The train accident that resulted in Basil’s death, which occurred in 1923, was the first train ride he’d ever taken. He and his younger sister were on their way to see their father in London when an explosion in the steam engine caused the train to derail, killing almost everybody on board. His subsequent journey aboard the Harbinger was also Basil’s first time on a seafaring ship.



Age: 18 (at death)

Cause of Death: Heart failure/Drowning

Hobbies: Training to battle psychons and (secretly) watching old movies with Basil

Weapon of choice: Machete

Fun Facts: An earlier draft of The Soul Keepers contained a version of Mak’s death, wherein she fled her home in the middle of a freezing winter night. She had to cross a largeish pond to get to the main highway, where she could hitchhike her way to the nearest city. The pond was frozen over and, thinking the ice was thick enough, Mak tried to cross it. The ice broke.


Theodore “Theo” Sampson Tinderbuff III

Age: 18 (at death)

Cause of Death: Gunshot wound

Hobbies: Baking/Reading old crime novels in the Harbinger’s library

Favorite Recipe: His nana’s blueberry pie

Fun Facts: Theo’s dad was part of the Mob in New York in the 1940s. They lived in Brooklyn, where Theo’s mom ran the bakeshop that was the front for the family’s criminal enterprise. Not long before his death, Theo became friends with several of the other teenage sons (and one daughter) of gangsters who worked with his father. They formed their own offshoot gang and, with Theo’s father’s permission, took over collecting protection money from businesses in the neighborhood, but also ended up legitimately protecting them from some of the rival gangs in the city.


Treeny Underman

Age: 14 (at death)

Cause of Death: Drowning/Blunt force trauma

Hobbies: Researching all things afterlife in the Harbinger’s library and compiling the info onto the tablet that she carries with her everywhere

Favorite Piece of Harbinger Trivia: There’s a room on one of the lower decks that used to be the cabin of John F. Kennedy.

Fun Facts: Before Rhett, Treeny was the most recent member of the TSK team to die and join the Harbinger’s crew. She died in the early 2000s, Mak in the 80s, Theo in the 40s, and Basil in the 20s.


That’s all for now! Big thanks to anyone who gets their hands on a copy of The Soul Keepers to see these guys in action!

Devon Taylor was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters. His day job consists of sneaking around the house with ninja-like stealth to avoid waking up his kids. When not writing, reading, or tediously typing out text messages with all the correct spelling and punctuation, he spends his time with his family. THE SOUL KEEPERS is his debut novel.

Find the author:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.

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