WEDNESDAY 27th AUGUST 2014
I am delighted to feature on my blog today the lovely C.L Taylor, author to ‘The Accident’, a psychological thriller released in April 2014 by Avon Harper Collins.
‘The Accident’ was my garden read back in May when we had spells of glorious sunshine. It had me gripped. The back story of Susan is cleverly written in the form of diary entries, which allow us to understand how she was moulded into the person she has become. These are intertwined with the present day story of Susan trying to establish why her daughter, Charlotte, would want to step in front of a bus. Although you experience the horrific low points of Susan’s life, as well as feeling her pain, you also feel her strength. A determined mother who won’t rest until she gets to the bottom of what caused her daughter’s accident.
Hi Cally and welcome!
Where did the inspiration The Accident’ come from?
I was pregnant with my son when the idea first came to me. I wanted to write a novel about ‘keeping secrets’ but I had no idea who would be keeping the secrets or what those secrets would be. Then one day, when I was walking back from the supermarket – waddling along under the weight of my groceries – the first three lines popped into my head. I heard Susan’s voice as clear as day and I knew immediately that she was the mother of a teenaged girl who’d stepped in front of a bus. I kept repeating those three lines over and over again as I walked home so I wouldn’t forget them, then frantically scribbled them down. I kept writing and, less than two hours later, I had the first chapter.
I didn’t write any more until a couple of months after my son’s birth. As a new mum in a new town I was lonely, and very sleep deprived, and I missed writing so, in his naps, I started plotting the rest of the story. I finished the first draft in five months.
How would you compare writing this story with anything you’ve previously written?
My personal circumstances were very different when I wrote my first two books. Before I wrote psychological thrillers I had two chicklit novels published – Heaven Can Wait and Home for Christmas (Orion). When I wrote them I had a full time job, I was in a relationship (but I didn’t live with my partner) and I didn’t have a child. I was a real night owl and would write after work from about 9pm until 1am. Because I largely worked from home I’d sleep until 8.30am then roll out of bed, shower, eat breakfast and be in front of my computer ready to check my work email at 9am. I’d often write for long stretches at the weekend and twice I booked time off work to go to the wonderful writing retreat Anam Cara near Cork so I could write all week without interruption.
I wrote The Accident under very different circumstances. I lived with my partner, I had a baby son, I was on maternity leave and I was very, very sleep deprived (my son woke me every 2-3 hours for a feed every night until he was seven months old). The only way I could stay sane was to give myself something to think about during those nightly feeds – and so I started plotting The Accident. Then, once I’d planned the novel, I begin writing it during my son’s day time naps. He’d only nap for 45 minutes at a time so I’d literally rock him to sleep in his pram in the kitchen then rush into the living room, pull the laptop onto my knee and start writing. Unlike my chicklit novels I didn’t have time to stare into space and try and work out how to get from point A to point B in my novel, it had to be tightly plotted so I could write without stopping.
How do you manage your writing time?
My son is nearly three now and goes to a childminder four days a week but, because I still do the day job four days a week that doesn’t free up much writing time. Now it’s a case of fitting in writing as and when I can. I try and do an hour after I’ve dropped him off at 8am, then another hour at lunchtime and, if I’ve got a tight deadline, more after dinner in the evening. I’ve had to suppress my night owl tendencies as my son wakes us up at 6.30am so I rarely write beyond 10pm these days. My partner is very supportive of my writing and, during a very busy time earlier this year when I was trying to complete the UK and US edits for The Accident (Before I Wake in the US), he’d take our son out on a Saturday and Sunday morning so I could fit in more writing time.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?
I’ve always written. When I was eight I wrote a book about a group of flower friends and their adversary Evil Weed and sent it off, bound in wool, to Penguin publishers. Several weeks later I received my first rejection. Over the years that followed I wrote short stories and terrible poetry. I even started two novels in my twenties but ditched them when I ran out of steam and enthusiasm. I kept telling myself ‘I’ll finish a novel one day’. Then, in the summer of 2006 one of my best friends from school died suddenly and unexpectedly and, as people often do in such situations, I re-evaluated my outlook on life. Time was precious I realised, and I couldn’t keep putting off writing a novel. By March 2007 the idea for ‘Heaven Can Wait’ was so clear in my head I had to sit down and write it. Three months and three weeks later I finished the first draft.
Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
After years of writing on my lap on the sofa or in bed, or at a desk in the corner of my cramped bedroom, I finally have ‘a room of my own’ where I can write. As I work from home for my day job I don’t just get to write in my study but it’s lovely to have somewhere when I can I pile up my books, notes and notepads and not worry about anyone tidying them away or spilling Ribena on them. I also have a treadmill so I can get a bit of exercise after I’ve been sitting on my bum for hours.
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
I was a week away from grading for my orange belt in kickboxing when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I decided not to grade as it’s an intense, physical test but I’m determined to get my belt one day. Someone just has to insert more hours into the day first!
Thank you for being here today Cally.
~Where to find the author~