1) So, who are you & what have you written?
I have written three psychological thrillers as C.L. Taylor – The Accident, The Lie and The Missing (published on 7th April). The Accident was one of the top ten bestselling debuts of 2014 and The Lie was a number 5 Sunday Times Bestseller and Kobo’s Crime/Thriller of 2015.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
I have a degree in psychology and have always been fascinated by crime – what causes someone to commit a crime, are murderers innately ‘bad’ or were they shaped by their environment and what is the psychological effect of crime on the victims? By writing crime novels I can explore my fears and try and make sense of some of the more dangerous elements of society. I write about ‘victims’ who fight back and who, ultimately, overcome the very worst that life can throw about them. I think there’s something quite empowering about that – as a writer and as an individual.
3) What informs your crime writing?
I like to write fiction about ordinary people caught in terrifying situations. I like to push them to their lowest point and then have them fight back. I normally start with ‘what if…’ question and start from there.
In The Accident I explored the effect of PTSD on the survivor abusive relationship. In The Lie my main character has to decide which of her friends she can trust to escape a deadly cult. And in The Missing a mother must discover the truth about the disappearance of her teenaged son.
4) What’s your usual writing routine?
It really depends on what part of the process I’m in. If I’m brainstorming a plot I tend to watch lots of films and documentaries and read non fiction and make notes. If I’m writing the first draft I’ll work out how long I’ve got until my deadline and how many words I need to write a day to hit that deadline. I write Monday to Thursday, normally about 1,500 words a day. I’ll drop my son at nursery then watch a couple of hours of TV and catch up on social media and emails. After that I’ll write about 700 words, break for lunch and write another 800 words. If I don’t have any admin, publicity or short stories to do I’ll get on my treadmill and run for half an hour.
5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
I love Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer. The premise is brilliant – a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who is studying anatomy at university and discovers that the cadaver he’s working on was murdered. But it’s not just the just murder mystery that makes Rubbernecker an outstanding novel. It’s the little flashes of dark humour, the enormous likeability of the main character and the insight into his way of thinking that make it such a brilliant novel. I can’t recommend it enough.