Signed books,events and an update on book seven…

It’s 3rd March and in one month and one day the hardback (and ebook and audio book) of Sleep will be published. My editor Helen recently asked me how I was feeling and I said, ‘surprisingly calm’. Surprisingly because I’m normally extremely nervy before a book comes out. I don’t know if it’s because a month is still a relatively long time, if I’m too busy with book seven to give it much thought, too tired from being ill and then my son being ill, or if I’ve managed to achieve some kind of elusive author zen. No, it’s definitely not the latter but it is down to a combination of the first three. I imagine my nerves will kick in right around the time I receive a box of hardbacks and it all starts to feel real.

One thing that IS making me nervous is the thought of several upcoming flights. I used to be absolutely fine with flying but ever since my son was born I dread getting on a plane and have even been to see a therapist to get a relaxation mp3 to listen to while the plane is taxing on the runway (the book Fear of Flying helped a bit too – I have an image in my head of the air supporting the plane being as thick as jelly) . Anyway, I refuse to let my fear of flying stop me from saying yes to cool stuff and in this case it’s teaching a masterclass for Aye Write festival in Glasgow followed by a Bloody Islands panel with Anna Mazzola and Douglas Skelton (and a signing afterwards) . The MasterClass has sold out but you can still get tickets to the panel here. The other cool thing that involves flying is my first ever foreign publisher event – a crime festival in Denmark in April. Thank you Jentas.

2019 marks ten years since my first book was published and it’s a year of a lot of firsts – first foreign publisher event, first hardback and first book tour. I am genuinely very excited that I get to travel around the country (a small part of the country) chatting to fellow authors about our books, the writing process and the trials and tribulations of publishing. Here’s where I’m visiting:

Monday 8th April – LIVERPOOL, Waterstones Liverpool with Luca Veste. 18:30. Tickets available from Waterstones

Tuesday 9th April – BIRMINGHAM, Waterstones Birmingham with Gillian McAllister. 18:30 start. Tickets available from Waterstones

Wednesday 10th April – NOTTINGHAM, Waterstones Nottingham with Fiona Cummins. Time 18:30 start. Tickets available from Waterstones

Friday 12th April – BRISTOL, Foyles Bristol with Emily Koch. 19.30-21.00. Tickets available from Eventbrite

Saturday 13th April – CARDIFF, Waterstones Cardiff with Emma Kavanagh. 18.30. More information here. Please contact the store directly to reserve your seat. Call: 029 2066 5606 Email: cardiff@waterstones.com

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Sorry if I’m not visiting a city near you. With any luck we’ll visit a few more places in September when the paperback comes out. If we do I’ll post about it here.

If you’re desperate to get your hands on a signed copy of Sleep, personalised to you, now you can! I’ve teamed up with independent bookshop Max Minerva’s Marvellous Books to offer signed, personalised copies of my books. To order order one just follow the instructions on the website then I’ll pop in to sign the book to you and Jessica will send it out.

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And if you’ve ordered your copy elsewhere and want it signed do not fear because I’m offering a signed bookplate (with two signed bookmarks) to the first 100 people who email CLTaylorAuthor@gmail.com with a copy of their receipt for the hardback of Sleep.

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Talking of independent bookshops, back in January I attended the HarperCollins Independent bookshop event and gave a talk where I showed the booksellers the first book I sent to a publisher (Ladybird books) aged eight and the rejection letter I subsequently received. It was a lovely evening and it was so nice to talk to so many people who are genuinely excited and enthusiastic about books.

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In February I got to meet an audience that was equally as enthusiastic – about young adult fiction. There’s been a lot reported in the media about the dire state of the YA market and how sales have drastically fallen off. There’s no denying the figures and a lot of YA authors are leaving the genre to write adult fiction (which can offer a much healthier advance) and that makes me sad, not just for the authors who love their genre and just want to make a living, but also the fans of their books. Anyway, the room was PACKED for my event with Karen McManus, Emily Barr and Katherine Webber and that makes me hopeful that the audience for YA is still out there and publishers just need to find better ways to reach them.

I hope they do because this year I am putting the finishing touches to my second YA thriller and delivering it to my editor. I recently thrashed out a schedule for delivering my seventh psychological thriller to Avon and my second YA thriller to HQ and basically I’m working flat out between now and December (I have managed to claw a two week holiday in August between structural edits and line edits).

Book seven is going well *touches wood* or as well as it can when I am writing and I am not exactly sure what happens at the climax of the book or what the twist is. But I’m trying not to let that worry me too much. I didn’t know what the twists were in The Fear or Sleep were either until I got very close to the end and when I reached the end of the second YA thriller I decided to ditch the ending I’d had in mind and go in a completely different direction instead (which is why I need to write a second draft before delivering it to my editor). It’s a scary way of working but exhilarating too because I get to be as surprised as the reader.

I’m doing something a bit different with this book – it’s a three hander like The Fear but unlike The Fear there’s no main character and it’s all written in the third person. I SO enjoyed writing in the third person (for Wendy and Chloe) and it’s a refreshing change after writing six books in a row with at least one character in the first person present tense. Whether my agent and editor think it works may be a different matter but I can’t think about that now (that’s what structural edits are for!)

For the first time I’ve documented the planning phase of this novel – how I get from the initial idea to a rough road map. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 on my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/CLTaylorAuthor and do subscribe to see future updates.

So that’s it from me. Do book tickets to the Waterstones events if you live locally, it would be lovely to meet you (I am also doing events in Woking and Stockton this year – check out my events page for details). And don’t forget to place an order with Max Minerva’s if you’d like a signed, personalised copy of Sleep.

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Signed and personalised hardbacks of Sleep 
Only available from Max Minerva’s Marvelous Books in Bristol (postage available)

Unsigned hardbacks, ebooks and audiobooks
Pre-order from Amazon.co.uk
Pre-Order from Hive.co.uk
Pre-order from Waterstones
Pre-order from Audible (narrator: Clare Corbett) 
Pre-order from iBooks
Pre-order from Kobo 
Pre-order from Google play

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New year, new book

It’s 3rd January today but I don’t feel as though the year has started yet as my partner and son are still on holiday. Correction, I don’t feel as though my WORKING year has started yet. I’m not great at working on an ad-hoc basis, grabbing a bit of time to write here and there. I need long stretches of time, ideally alone, when I know I won’t be interrupted. That’s not to say I’m NOT working. A huge part of writing is thinking and that’s something I’m doing a lot of while I walk the dog, fold the laundry and pack up the Christmas decorations.

If you were wondering why my blog was very quiet after my last post in October it’s because, in November and December, I was hard at work writing my second book of 2018. I decided to use NaNoWriMo as my impetus to make inroads into my second young adult thriller (as yet untitled) but, the more I wrote, the more I disappeared into the story and the more determined I became to finish it. And I did! I typed ‘The End’ in a hotel room in Vauxhall one hour before my agent Madeleine Milburn’s Christmas party (that first glass of fizz tasted GOOD!)

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Me with Emma Stonex aka Victoria Fox (centre) and Abbie Greaves (left)

If you loved The Lie I think you’ll enjoy my second YA thriller –  exotic location, strange and unexplained events, heightened suspicion, tension, characters turning against each other…

Anyway, as tempting as it was to immediately start the second draft I knew I had to let it rest for a bit – mostly because I wanted to relax and spend time with my family over Christmas. It was hard to let it go but, as well as chilling out, I needed to give myself some headspace to let my next book come to life! The idea for my seventh psychological thriller (eleventh novel), originally came to me back in August (actually, one of the characters has been in my head for years, waiting for the right story to come along) and, whilst it wasn’t a fully formed idea, I knew enough about the story to run the basic premise past my agent and editor and it got the thumbs up.

Percolating time is important for a book. Most writers find that pressure and lack of time completely stifles creativity and it’s when you’re relaxed and mentally open that the best ideas come to you. Trying to force a story together inevitably means you either get blocked and freeze completely or the passion to write it just isn’t there.

When I finished writing the first draft of the YA in mid December the last thing in the world I wanted to do was start writing a new novel. Just the thought brought me out in a cold sweat but I’m starting to feel the itch to create again. The characters in book seven are starting to gabble quite loudly now and I’m desperate to get to know them and make sense of their stories and how they interlink (for those of you who loved the structure in The Fear it’s going to be another three hander). Plotting and planning is my favourite part of the novel writing process so roll on 7th Jan when I officially start my year.

181673-FC3D (1)P.S. Don’t forget that Sleep, my sixth psychological thriller is out on 21st March. You can pre-order it from the following places:

Pre-order from Amazon.co.uk
Pre-Order from Hive.co.uk
Pre-order from Waterstones
Pre-order from Audible (narrator: Clare Corbett) 
Pre-order from iBooks
Pre-order from Kobo 
Pre-order from Google play

P.P.S. I’m not sure when the YA thriller will be published. 2020 or 2021 have both been mentioned so I’ll let you know as soon as we have a firm date.

Posted in agent, CL Taylor novels, Plotting, psychological suspense, Sleep, Writing tips, YA Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Introducing…Sleep!

I’m so thrilled to be able to share the cover of my sixth psychological thriller  with you. Isn’t it stunning?

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All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

Sleep will be published in the UK in hardback and ebook on 21st March 2019 and in paperback on 5th September 2019.

If you’re a regular  reader of this blog you’ll know that this book was a tricky one to write. All I knew when I sat down to plot it was that I wanted it to be a book about sleep. I’m fascinated by the subject, particularly sleep issues like insomnia, sleepwalking and night terrors, and how and why we dream. I knew I wanted my main character to have insomnia and I had an image in my mind of someone who worked in a hotel, drifting through the corridors in the early hours, unable to sleep. But why couldn’t she drop off? Guilt. That was the first thing that came to mind. She feels guilty so she can’t sleep. But what does she feel guilty about?

I started thinking about the guests in the hotel too. What was going on behind the closed doors of their rooms? Why had they traveled to the remote Scottish island of Rum? Were they running away from something like Anna? Or were they seeking something? What secrets were they hiding?

Bit by bit the story slowly came together. And now it’s done! I sent the corrected proof pages back to my editor last week and, in the next month or so, proof copies will be going out to reviewers, bloggers and authors. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how this novel will be received but I’m always nervous about sending a little bit of me out into the world to be judged.

It may only be five months until the book is published by the publicity process has already started and I’ve got until November to write two short stories that will be published in magazines in March. We’re also starting to put together a book shop tour – something I’ve never done before but am very excited about. Do shout if you’d like me to come to your city. I can’t promise we’ll make it (we only have a week!) but if there’s lots of interest in certain cities it might help swing the decision!

While all that’s going on I’m cracking on with the second YA thriller (publication date June 2020). I had hoped to get the first draft done by the end of November but I’m taking my time over the opening chapters and progress is slow. This is normal for me. I only really get to know my characters when I start writing and beginnings are quite tentative until the characters become firmly established in my mind. Then I start to speed up a bit! I’ve never completed NaNoWriMo before but I might do it this year so I force myself to sit in my chair  and write 1,667 words a day. With any luck I might end up with a messy 60k first draft by the end of it.

Why the hurry to get as much written as possible by the end of November? Well, in December I need to start plotting my seventh psychological thriller so I can start the first draft in January. With the rom coms and the YA books it will actually be my ELEVENTH book. Next year marks the ten year anniversary of Heaven Can Wait, my first published book. I can’t believe how fast the years have flown by.

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If you want Sleep to magically appear on your ebook reader, or drop through your letterbox on publication day then you can pre-order it now:

Pre-order from Amazon.co.uk
Pre-order from Waterstones
Pre-order from Audible (narrator: Clare Corbett)
Pre-order from iBooks
Pre-order from Kobo
Pre-order from Google play  

 

Posted in CL Taylor novels, Sleep, Uncategorized, YA Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writer, missing in action!

Huge apologies to anyone who follows this blog and has been wondering where I’ve got to – life has been hectic recently. My last post was on publication day for THE FEAR and, since then, I’ve either been out and about promoting it or bent over my laptop trying to finish my next book. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened and what I’ve been up to…

My fourth Sunday Times bestseller

The Fear with Karin quote

I used to raise my eyebrows when established writers would worry on social media about impending publication. ‘How can you be worried?’ I’d think. ‘You’ve had loads of bestsellers. Of course you’ll have another one. You have an army of loyal fans.’ But that’s where Imposter Syndrome kicks in. So many writers (myself included) worry that our previous books were a fluke and that with this book we’ll be revealed to be the writing frauds that we feel we are.

This isn’t an unusual feeling for me. Even when I was a manager at a university I’d often think, ‘seriously, they’ve given me all this responsibility? Shouldn’t they give that to someone who knows what they’re doing?’ When the truth was I’d worked in eLearning for years, I kept up to date with all the latest developments in the industry and I knew exactly what I was doing. But logic goes out of the window in the run up to publication and when fear kicks in you listen to your ‘monkey’ rather than your ‘human’ (I read a fascinating non-fiction book recently called The Chimp Paradox which talks about how your base emotions/monkey take over in stressful situations and your human/logical side is drowned out).

Anyway, I don’t take anything for granted in this industry. I’ve had enough ups and downs in my career to know that a career in publishing isn’t a linear line so I am incredibly grateful that THE FEAR became a bestseller. A HUGE thank you to everyone who bought, reviewed and recommended it.

Taylor on a Train

Cally Taylor

One of the most exciting and nerve-wracking PR events for the launch of The Fear was a signing I did on the Bristol to Paddington train. Organised by my PR Sabah Khan and Richard Salkeld, Media and Communications Manager for Great Western Railway, I had the most unusual, and amusing, trip to London. I won’t go into all the faff about changing trains because our original train was cancelled and the wild goose chase as Sabah tried to catch up with us but it was brilliant fun. I signed far more books than I ever have at any event and I had some great chats with commuters and readers. And apologies again to the First Class commuters again for all the disruption!

Facebook Live / Fab Night In / Newcastle Noir / Dead Good Book Awards

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Shortly after publication I went to HarperCollins Towers (aka the News Corp building in London Bridge) to film a live interview with Claire Frost from The Sun’s Fabulous magazine. If you missed it you can still watch it on Facebook here:

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Another great event was the ‘Fab Night In’, organised by The Sun’s Fabulous magazine. It was held right right at the top of the News Corp building and featured me, Sarah Pinborough, BA Paris and Adele Parks being interviewed by Fabulous’s fiction editor extraordinaire Claire Frost. We all laughed A LOT.

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In May I went up to Newcastle to take part in a panel with fellow psychological thriller authors Sarah Stovell and Melanie McGrath. As with last year I was made to feel hugely welcome by the organiser Jackie Collins aka Dr Noir and it was a fascinating panel that touched on some interesting topics (Staunch prize anyone?)

Unfortunately I missed Crime Fest in Bristol because I was struck down by a virus days before and spent the whole weekend in bed but I’m hugely looking forward to Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate next month. I’ve been attending as a guest for years and I’m so thrilled to be on the programme this year as a table host at Lee Child’s murder mystery dinner on the Saturday night.

Talking of thrilled, I found out today that THE FEAR has been shortlisted for the DEAD GOOD READER AWARDS which are presented on Saturday afternoon at the festival. It’s shortlisted in the ‘Most Recommended Read’ category which I’m really chuffed about. I’m up against Elly Griffiths again (she beat me last year) so the battle is on to see who gets the most reader votes! If you enjoy my books you can vote for THE FEAR here: https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/dead-good-reader-awards-2018/

SLEEP edits are afoot

I finished the first draft of my next book, SLEEP, in the third week of May and I’m currently writing the second draft after receiving my edits back a few weeks ago. Compared to THE FEAR this book has been slightly nightmarish to write. Not because of the subject matter (more about that in another post) but because I wasn’t entirely sure what the theme was before I started writing it. I’d plotted it, as I do all my books (since I pantsed THE LIE anyway) but some books flow as you write them and some books don’t. SLEEP was most definitely a ‘bumpy’ read after the first draft and I wasn’t entirely sure why. Thankfully the editorial feedback from my agent and editor pinpointed where the problems lay and now I’m fixing them. On a gut level this book certainly feels like a better, smoother read. Here’s hoping!

So, that’s it for now. If you haven’t read THE FEAR yet it’s currently 99p for the ebook and £3.50 for the paperback (but not forever!). And if you could vote for it in the Dead Good Book Awards that would be great.

See you on the other side of the edits for SLEEP.  Hopefully I’ll have a cover to show you…

 

 

 

Posted in CL Taylor novels, Ideas for novels, Plotting, PR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The one about the book tattoo…

It’s publication day for THE FEAR and I couldn’t be more proud of this book. I’ll freely admit that I struggle with endings – I find them the hardest part of a book to get right – but something almost miraculous happened as I was writing the first draft of THE FEAR and I suddenly realised how to tie all the threads of the story together as I hit 85,000 words. I’m also proud of this book because, as a Goodreads reader said, it isn’t just about a dark and disturbing crime it’s also about sisterhood and strong women. If THE LIE was about women turning against each other THE FEAR is about women discovering their lives share a common thread and…well, that would be giving too much away.

My publisher, Avon HarperCollins, commissioned the most amazing book trailer for THE FEAR and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you now. Make sure you have the sound on to experience the full, spooky effect!

And here’s a video of me reading the first chapter (how funny is that freeze frame?!):

As for the ‘tattoo’ in the title of this post. Well, here it is (when it was still a work in progress).

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If you bought my first book, THE ACCIDENT, you might recognise it. It’s the illustration from the front cover of the original version. That’s not my leg by the way! Whose leg is it and how does it tie in with THE FEAR? Well you’ll have to buy a copy and read the dedication and acknowledgements to find out!

I’ll be spending publication day writing the first draft of the next novel (28,000 words in and counting) and taking my son to karate grading (which is somewhat ironic given the storyline of THE FEAR…). Tomorrow though should be a much more relaxing day. I’ve got a hair appointment in the morning and my first book launch in nine years (mostly out of choice) in the evening. I’m very excited about celebrating the launch of this books with friends and family. A huge thank you to everyone who’s trekking to Bristol to raise a glass with me.

The Fear with Karin quote

If you live in the UK you can order your ebook copy of THE FEAR from:

Amazon.co.uk

Google Play

iBooks

Kobo

And the paperback from:

Amazon.co.uk

Waterstones

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You can also buy paperbacks from the following supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury (where it’s just £2.99 for the first two weeks after publication), Morrison, Waitrose and ASDA. It’s also available in WH Smith Travel and High Street and most branches of Waterstones . Select independent book shops also stock copies and if they don’t have it to hand they’ll definitely be able to order it for you.

If you live outside of the UK and The Fear is not available in your country you can buy it from the The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping).

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The one where I got glammed up

Earlier this year I was invited to the Specsavers Nielsen Bestseller Awards to receive two silver awards for The Acccident and The Lie (for sales of over 250,000 copies).

It was SUCH a glamorous affair. The wonderful Mariella Frostrop was the MC and so many amazing authors were honoured with awards including Paula Hawkins, Maggie O’Farrell (I had a bit of a fan girl moment when I realised I was standing behind her in the queue), Peter James, Phillipa Gregory, Dougie and Tom from McFly, Jill Mansell, Clare Mackintosh and so many more. It really was a ‘pinch me’ moment and one of the most magical nights of my career.

Here’s a selection of photos from the official website and by my friend Rowan Coleman who came with me,

And here’s a video of me being interviewed after I received my awards (terrible freeze-frame!).

Not long now until THE FEAR is published (22nd March). I have been so chuffed with the reaction from authors and readers who’ve received advance proofs and am excited and nervous about the book coming out.

I’ve just started writing my sixth psychological thriller and life is becoming increasingly hectic as I try and balance writing the first draft with  posts for the blog tour, articles for magazines and websites, and answering Q&As. I need more hours in the day.

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What inspired your novel?

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Plotting a novel: if all else fails – draw little stick men and women to try and make sense of your idea. It works for me (sometimes).

It’s a question that comes up in interviews a lot:

‘What inspired your novel?’

It’s always a difficult question to answer, not least because it’s normally at least 12 months since I wrote the book and 18 months since the first spark of an idea.

The more novels I write the more I realise how much an idea twists, squirms and transforms after the initial spark. THE MISSING was originally going to be about two boys who run away in different circumstances and their stories intersect when boy 2 finds the dead body of boy 1. Why didn’t I go with that idea? I honestly can’t remember. It’s that squirming thing I mentioned at the start of this paragraph. An idea is a bit like a piece of plasticine. It appears to be to be a certain shape but when you try to find out more about it – when you prod it a bit – it changes shape.

I am currently prodding an idea for my sixth psychological thriller (to be published in March 2019). The initial spark was an eight word sentence in an email of three or four different premises I ran by my agent. Maddy liked it. More than that she got excited by it, so did my editor, but it wasn’t really an idea. It was a setting. Over the last month or so I have been mulling it over in my head. I’ve got the setting but what’s the plot? Who are the characters? What’s the twist?

I’ve swung, pendulum-like, between different possibilities – some clichés, some tired, some ridiculously OTT. I’ve felt lost, panicked and frustrated. What is this book? What is it that I am trying to say?

In a recent newsletter to members of the C.L. Taylor Book Club I admitted that an author often doesn’t know what inspired a novel until years after it’s published. Hindsight allows you to draw parallels between your novels and your life – parallels you couldn’t see at the time because you were too enmeshed in the day to day.

That doesn’t help me now as I try to pull together the threads of a story to create something that will hopefully be gripping, addictive, unpredictable and original with characters that are fascinating, flawed and three dimensional. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been struggling. Each time I prod this idea it changes into a new shape or else shoots across the room and completely evades me. But I love this stage of the process. It might be frustrating and terrifying but when all the pieces start to fall into place (to continue the analogy – the plasticine begins to take form rather than looking like an amorphous blob) there’s no feeling quite as thrilling.

And I might just have a had a little break through yesterday…

(Thank God)

Before I go – if you haven’t read THE TREATMENT or THE ESCAPE they are currently just 99p across all ebook platforms. But not for long.

Also, THE FEAR has had some amazing reviews from my fellow authors. Check them out here.

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