Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m really excited to be posting my combined write-up of TWO author events I attended recently; the first being an event with Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Taylor discussing their latest novels in Chepstow, Wales; the second being C.L. Taylor’s book launch for her latest novel, ‘THE FEAR’, held at Waterstones, Bristol. Those of you who read my blog regularly will already know that both these authors are in my top 5 authors of all-time, so being given the opportunity to listen to them talk about their latest novels was truly inspiring. As an aspiring Psychological Thriller-writer myself, I gained lots of valuable advice and tips from them, as well as generally finding out more about them as authors. You can find my review for ‘THE FEAR’ here, and my review for ‘Let Me Lie’ is coming soon on my, so keep your eyes peeled! So, keep reading…
Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Taylor @ Chepstow, Wales.
On Tuesday 20th March, I attended Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Taylor’s joint event in Chepstow, Wales. They spoke about their latest novels: Clare Mackintosh’s ‘Let Me Lie’ and C.L. Taylor’s ‘THE FEAR’. The event consisted of a Q&A with the authors, and then a chance to get your books signed at the end! Here are some of the notes I made during the Q&A (I don’t have many exact quotes as I couldn’t write down every word that quickly!) A lot more was discussed than I am going to include here – but I want to share the more unconventional questions and answers with you.
1) On the inspirations behind their writing…
- C.L. Taylor took inspiration from the Jeremy Forrest/Gemma case that took the media limelight back in 2012. But instead of simply reporting on the crime, she wanted to focus on how the girl may feel years later, and whether she would be able to form successful adult relationships or not.
- Clare Mackintosh likes to focus on the parts of a case/crime which aren’t reported in the media. She spent a number of years working on the police force, and was intrigued by how witness statements can vary so much. She’s fascinated by how people tell stories and the ways in which people can lie…
2) On the expectation of writing a “killer twist” in Psychological Thriller novels…
- C.L. Taylor believes that it’s hard to get the twist right without the rest of the story suffering. She doesn’t want the reader to feel tricked or deceived by the reading process. She didn’t come up with a twist for ‘THE FEAR’ until around 85,000 words in.
- Clare Mackintosh, on the other hand, usually starts her writing process by knowing the big twists, and the little twists come a bit later. She believes there is a huge demand for twists, but spoke out about the differences between a twist and a reveal, and how these can often get confused. She doesn’t believe a Psychological Thriller novel necessarily needs a twist in order to be a good book.
3) On the recent popularity of Psychological Thriller novels…
- C.L. Taylor believes that Psychological Thrillers are a reaction to the Bridget Jones/rom-com trend that dominated the media previously. Psychological Thrillers give us a different kind of female protagonist that people can relate to.
- Clare Mackintosh believes that Psychological Thrillers are not necessarily a “new” thing or a “new” trend. It started years ago, with Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and other fellow writers, and now the demand for these types of novels has just increased.
4) On how they write a “page-turner”…
- C.L. Taylor has a short attention span, so if she gets bored whilst writing then she believes the reader also will. Page-turners are all about plotting, and for Taylor, if somebody says they read her book in one go that is the ultimate compliment.
- Clare Mackintosh uses a roll of wallpaper and post it notes on her wall. She writes the key scenes on post it notes and moves the note high or low depending on the tension/suspense of the scene. At the end, she should be able to take a step back and see a rollercoaster-type pattern, and then she knows her novel will be a page-turner.
5) On how they write their endings…
- C.L. Taylor is proud of ‘THE FEAR’ because she has received lots of positive praise about the ending. She believes that the ending is the hardest part to write, as all the work beforehand must be justified and must feed into the ending.
- Clare Mackintosh likes her readers to experience a kick in the teeth at the end, leaving them wondering what will happen next. As a former detective, she never felt like a case was completely closed.
6) On the possibility of their books becoming film/TV…
- C.L. Taylor’s novel ‘THE LIE’ was optioned for TV, but the process isn’t currently going anywhere. Before writing Psychological Thrillers, Taylor wrote rom-coms under the name Cally Taylor, and her novel ‘Home For Christmas’ was made into a film. She didn’t make any money from this process, but it was a dream come true for her.
- Clare Mackintosh is currently writing the screenplay for her first novel, ‘I Let You Go’. She has found writing in a different medium a challenge, and believes many aspects of her novel may not necessarily work on screen. However, the process has ground to a halt, so the possibility of a film is uncertain at the moment.
7) On how long it takes them to write a novel…
- C.L. Taylor wrote two books in the year 2017. She finished her Young Adult book ‘THE TREATMENT’ in February, which then gave her one month to plot/plan ‘THE FEAR’. She started writing ‘THE FEAR’ in April and submitted the first draft in August. The editing process ended in December and the novel was published in March 2018.
- Clare Mackintosh said it takes her around a year to write a book. She started ‘Let Me Lie’ in January 2017 and submitted the first draft in May. The second draft was submitted by July and the third draft was submitted in September. It then went to print in November and was published in March 2018.
8) On their opinions about the Staunch Book Prize (a real prize awarded to the author of a novel in the thriller genre in which no woman is subjected to violence – read more about it here)…
- C.L. Taylor tries to explore crimes against women in a sensitive way in her novels. ‘THE FEAR’ would be disqualified for this prize, but in the novel she attempts to portray women fighting back against men.
- Clare Mackintosh believes that violence against women is an ongoing issue and writers should be able to write about this issue. Writers have always held a mirror up to society, and when violence against women stops becoming an issue, she will stop writing about it.
*does not contain direct quotes.
Meeting the Authors!
Both authors were lovely and I really enjoyed meeting them both in person. Clare happily signed my copies of her first two novels, ‘I Let You Go’ and ‘I See You’ (I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of ‘Let Me Lie’ via a Twitter competition beforehand), and also suggested we take a photo together (I’m working with her on another blog post that is coming soon – no spoilers!) Here is the photo of us together:
C.L. Taylor was equally lovely and happily signed my copies of her 5 Adult Psychological Thriller novels. I was a bit embarrassed to unload a tote bag full of her books in front of her, but she was happy to oblige!
C.L. Taylor ‘THE FEAR’ Book Launch @ Waterstones, Bristol.
On Friday 23rd March, I attended C.L. Taylor’s book launch for her latest novel, ‘THE FEAR’, which was published the day previously. It was a more chilled out event which consisted of lots of mingling, followed by a short Q&A with Cally, and then the opportunity to get your books signed. We were also given some goodie bags from C.L. Taylor’s publishers, Avon!
I didn’t make notes of the Q&A this time as I didn’t want this post to be horrendously long, but I did get a picture with Cally:
As before, Cally was really friendly and we had a good chat about ‘THE FEAR’. It’s a fantastic novel that I urge you all to go out any buy – it is definitely C.L. Taylor’s BEST WORK YET!
Happy reading 🙂