CL 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 pysychological thriller, THE ESCAPE, published on 23 March 2017. She is currently writing her first young adult thriller, THE TREATMENT, which will be published in September 2017.
Most people will know you as C L Taylor from your gripping psychological thrillers The Accident, The Lie and The Missing, but you also write chick-lit under Cally Taylor. Was it an easy transition from romance to thrillers and will you continue to write both genres? Also do you wear different clothes and have a different outlook on life when writing such different genres?
Do I wear different clothes? Ha! Yes, I wear my pink feather boa for the rom-coms and a deer stalker hat for crime. Seriously though, the difference is all in the mind-set. I don’t write rom-coms any more but, when I did, I’d tap into the more optimistic, humorous side of my personality. When I write crime I access the darker side of my personality. I think about what scares me and makes me tense rather than situations that make me laugh.
I started my career writing short stories and, even back then, there were two very distinct sides to my writing personality. I wrote light, feel good stories for the women’s magazines and darker, slightly surreal stories for competition and literary magazines. So no, I didn’t find it hard at all, transitioning from writing rom-coms to psychological thrillers but it is emotionally much harder staying in the head of a character who’s full of fear than it is in the head of a character who frequently embarrassed herself.
What does the L stand for?
Can you please show me a photo of the “FAMOUS” Mulberry handbag?
A little bit of background. Before The Lie came out I joked to some friends that if it hit the Sunday Times Bestseller top ten I’d treat myself to a Mulberry handbag. I’ve never owned a designer handbag before and truly believed that I had about as much chance of becoming a Sunday Times bestseller as I did walking on the moon. No one could have been more surprised than me when The Lie went to number 5! Here’s a photo of the Mulberry when it arrived. It doesn’t look nearly this smooth and clean now, after nearly two year’s use.
Your new psychological thriller The Escape was published in March – what can you tell us about it?
The Escape is about a woman called Jo who is threatened by a stranger after she agrees to give her a lift. Jo, an agoraphobic, is terrified the stranger is after her two year old daughter Elise. She turns to her husband Max, her GP and the police for help but no one believes the child is in danger. When social get involved Jo decides to grab Elise and run. But, Jo’s past is full of secrets and she quickly realises there’s nowhere she can hide…
Would you ever consider writing a chick-lit/romance with a psycho serial killer twist – I think it would be a really original concept and I would definitely buy it!
Ha! That’s certainly original. I think there’s definitely a place for humour in crime but I’m not sure I’m the right person to combine the two.
Your thrillers are quite scary in places – what scares you?
Lots of things! I’m definitely more fearful since I had a child. My biggest fear is something happening to my five year old son. I’m also quite scared of flying, getting stuck in an enclosed space/tunnel (pot holeing would be my worst nightmare) and heights.
You recently posted a very important question on Facebook -“Glass of Red Wine or Curly Wurly?” what did you decide in the end?
For anyone who didn’t see my question I’m currently doing the Slimming World diet and one day I only had enough ‘syns’ left for either a curly wurly or a glass of red wine. Wine and chocolate are my biggest vices so it was a tough decision. I went with red wine in the end.
Do you read much yourself, if so, what are you currently reading and what books should be look out for in 2017?
Sadly I don’t read as much as I used to before I started writing novels as a strong voice in a novel can seep into my head and change the way I write. As a result I don’t read my much while I’m writing a first draft. I tend to read between novels or when I’m editing. I’ve got a week off soon and I’ll be taking a stack of proofs on holiday with me. I’ve got Sarah Hilary’s new book ‘Quieter Than Killing’, Harry Bingham’s ‘The Dead House’, Fiona Barton’s ‘The Child’ and Holly Seddon’s ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ to take with me. I recently finished Sarah Pinborough’s ‘Behind Her Eyes’ which is psychological thriller with a paranormal twist and a much hyped #WTFThatEnding. It certainly was a WTF ending! I think that book has the potential to be huge. I also think that Tamsyn Murray’s ‘Instructions for a Second Hand Heart’ should take the YA market by storm. It’s a hugely touching book that explores some very important issues (keep tissues close by).
Are you a romantic? What’s the most romantic thing that’s happened to you?
I used to be a huge romantic in my twenties but I’m not that romantic any more. I don’t think romance lies in grand gestures or expensive presents. For me it’s the little things – like my partner taking my son out so I can relax and read if I’m feeling frazzled – that mean more to me than a bunch of flowers or a surprise trip.
Finally, your hair always looks so smooth and glossy – what do you use on it?
I’ll tell my hairdresser that. Thank you! After years of dying my own hair and getting twice yearly cuts I’ve finally found a hairdresser that I love. I see her every six week and she applies an Olaplex treatment that has transformed my hair from a split, frizzy mess to something that looks more sleek (most days anyway).
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