C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria,Newcastle and has worked as a sales administrator, web developer, instructional designer and as the manager of a distance learning team at a London university. She now writes full time.
CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller ‘The Accident; was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second and third novels, ‘The Lie’ and ‘The Missing’, were Sunday Times Bestsellers and #1 Amazon Kindle chart bestsellers. Her fourth psychological thriller, ‘The Escape’, will be published on 23 March 2017. She is currently writing her first young adult thriller, ’The Treatment’, which will be published in September 2017.
- To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
My mum recently cleared out her attic and found a huge pile of books I’d written and illustrated as a child. When I was eight I sent one of them, ‘The Flower Friends and The Evil Weed’, to Ladybird publishers. They rejected it but they did send me a very nice letter with lots of useful advice like ‘Ask an adult to type it up for you’ and ‘Keep the illustrations on separate pages’. I tried again when I was eleven and was rejected again.
I was thirty-five when my first book was published – A supernatural romantic comedy called ‘Heaven Can Wait’ (Orion). My second book, ‘Home for Christmas’, was published two years later (writing as Cally Taylor). Whilst on maternity leave with my son in 2012 I had an idea for a psychological thriller. That book, ‘The Accident’, was published in 2014. Since then I have written a psychological thriller a year – ‘The Lie’, ‘The Missing’, ‘The Escape’ – all published by Avon HarperCollins.
- Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
A lot of my books are based on my fears – fear that an abusive ex will return, fear that friends could turn against me, fear that something could happen to my son. Other ideas are based on news reports I read and documentaries I watch or are just plucked out of thin air.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
I do have my own book club! OK, it’s an electronic book club where I review books that I think will be the next big thing (www.cltaylorauthor.com/newsletter) but if I could ask questions of any author I’d love to chat to Margaret Atwood and Maggie O’Farrell.
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ – ‘1984’, George Orwell. So much intrigue in one sentence!
- What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
Holding the finished book in my hand. Coming a close second is brainstorming the idea initially. I love the adrenaline rush when an idea or scene that works pops into my brain.
- What do you think makes a good crime book?
A strong mystery, perfect pace, intriguing characters and a killer ending.
- From books and films, who has been your favourite bad guy?
‘Dexter’! I love him.
- Out of all the books that you have written, which one is your favourite?
I am most proud of ‘The Escape’. The more books I write the more I learn about what works, what doesn’t and where my strengths and weaknesses lie as a writer. Whenever I finish writing a book I am always a little disappointed that it doesn’t perfectly reflect the initial idea in my head. The Escape is the one book that comes closest to my initial idea.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
The Harry Potter series (is that cheating?), the complete works of Shakespeare, and ‘War and Peace’ (there’s no way I’m going to find the time to read it otherwise).
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Don’t spend too much time writing and rewriting your first few chapters, keep writing until you reach the end. You may find that you have started the book in the wrong place and you need to cut your first few chapters.
All writers reach points in their books when they become convinced that it’s awful and they should write something else instead. Typically these points are at 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 words. Keep writing through your doubts. You can fix anything that isn’t working in the rewrite.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
- And finally Cally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
This year I’ve also written a YA thriller – ‘The Treatment’ – which will be published by HarperCollins HQ on 19th October. I can’t say too much about it yet but if you loved my novel ‘The Lie’ this book should be right up your street!
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