A Day in the Life: C. L. Taylor, author of THE LIE

Category: Author Post

20150407_081806My day begins at 5.30am when my partner gets up for work. I stir briefly then fall back asleep, only to be woken again at 6.40am when my 3 year old son appears in the doorway of our bedroom and announces, “Sunshine is up, Mummy.” After years of 5am starts we’ve trained him to wait until the sunshine appears on his Groclock before he comes into our room. 6.40am is practically a lie in these days.

After milk for my son and coffee for me we get ready for the day then, at 8am, I take him to nursery (the scooter helps speed up the journey).

I return home by 8.30am and promptly stack the dishwasher, clean the kitchen floor and do all the washing. Actually that’s a lie. What I actually do is make another cup of coffee and sit in front of the TV. After the hustle and bustle of the morning routine I like to zone out in front of the TV for an hour and catch up on whatever I recorded the night before. Whilst I’m watching TV I do my bit on social media – I update Facebook and Twitter and, if I’ve got new book out, I obsessively check my ranking and reviews on Goodreads and Amazon (a terrible habit I really wish I could give up).

facebook twitter

After about an hour I go into my study which is one third desk, one third treadmill and one third guest sofa bed. Until the beginning of this year I held down a day job and worked from home but now the study’s just for writing (and occasional guests). The level of messiness directly reflects what stage of a book I’m working on. My second psychological thriller, THE LIE, is due to be published on 23rd April so I’m busy promoting that as well as writing the first draft of THE FORGETTING, my new novel.


The Post-It notes decorating the sides of the laptop are all the promotional articles, blog posts and short stories I need to write to promote THE LIE and the ones on the wall behind it are plot points and character notes for the new novel. I also have several notebooks and reference books to do with the new novel stacked up on the floor beside the desk.

20150401_180136I begin by attacking the new novel. My deadline for handing in a completed first draft of approximately 100,000 words is 20th July so, as I only write four days a week (I spend Fridays hanging out with my son), I need to write a minimum of 1,500 words a day. I normally manage about 1,000 in the morning, break for lunch at 12pm, and then squeeze out another 500 words. Once that’s done I try and fit in a blog post or article and then, at 3pm, I take a break to do some exercise – I run on the treadmill or do a workout DVD. I’m often too busy to do that, particularly at the moment when I’m juggling two books, so I’ve come up with a solution that means I’m not spending eight hours a day sitting on my bum – a treadmill laptop tray!

I set the treadmill to a 1.0 or 2.0 incline and a speed of about 2.5km/ph and then I start typing. It sounds tricky, like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time but once I get into the rhythm of walking and typing I barely even notice I’m moving. I can manage about an hour’s worth of writing this way until my back starts to twinge and I have to sit down again.

By 4pm my concentration is shot so I move into the living room and read for about forty-five minutes. I’m very lucky in that I receive quite a few advanced review copies of other author’s books so there’s normally a sizeable pile to choose from.

At 4.45pm it’s time to put on my coat and collect my son from nursery. Once home watches TV or play on the Wii whilst I rush around the kitchen like a woman possessed, stacking the dishwasher and wiping down the surfaces. Then there’s just enough time for a game or a story with my son before my partner gets home at 6.30pm and we start the bedtime routine.  After that I cook the dinner and collapse in a heap on the sofa.


The Lie by C. L. Taylor is out Thursday, 23rd April. You can pre-order the eBook or a physical copy today. You can find the latest from Cally via Twitter, her Facebook page, and her website.

Sheena Lambert dives below the surface of THE LAKE — out today!

Category: Author Post

Happy Publication Day to Sheena Lambert! Her first Killer Reads imprint novel, The Lake, is out today in eBook format. We have the privilege of sharing an exclusive blog post from Sheena in celebration of its release. Continue reading to learn more from the author on the namesake behind this far-from-placid Irish thriller.



The Lake by Sheena Lambert coverLakes are ominous entities.  Even on a clear day when it seems like the sun has scattered diamonds on its surface and its clear water laps gently at the shore, a lake is foreboding.  Its stillness, ever threatening.

It’s usual to associate water with cleansing and renewal; what could be more refreshing than a racing, gurgling river, or more of a balm to the soul than the crashing waves of the churning tides?

But lakes are different.  Lakes are silent; they sit, still, their apparently stagnant water deep and heavy.  Lakes keep secrets.  Unlike those rivers and oceans which like playful children cannot resist the temptation to throw up their hidden treasures, flinging them on their banks and beaches for all to see, lakes hold their secrets close, interred, weighted down by deep, cold water, never willingly revealing what they hide.

Is it any wonder that lakes have been the scene of many murderous crimes?  Some of the most gruesome and shocking killings have had connections to lakes – Lake Bodom in Finland, Coniston Water in England and Lake Shelbyville in the USA are just a few of the lakes that have played a role in serious crime around the world over the past decades.

Even more mysterious are the manmade lakes that spread across the planet like a contagion in the mid 1900s in man’s pursuit of industrialisation.  These lakes, the progeny of great dams built across rivers in rural areas, served to further the development of cities through the provision of fresh water and electricity, while destroying the lives and livelihoods of thousands of country people.  All around the world there are lakes which didn’t exist 100 years ago, their waters guiltily concealing the broken lives and the broken homes of the Washed-Outs who had no choice but to leave.

It is one such lake that sits, quietly, in the townland of Crumm in the Irish midlands.  In 1975, a year of exceptionally warm and dry weather, the water level drops lower than ever before, mysteriously revealing a shallow grave in the drying silt.  Now those, like Peggy Casey and her siblings, descendants of the Wash-Outs who have lived beside the lake all of their lives without giving it much consideration, have no choice but to notice.

And just like every other, this lake has secrets it wants to keep.


Be sure to keep up with the latest from Sheena by following her on Twitter @shewithonee. You can also find her on Facebook and her website.

More from Sheena around the web today.
Writing.ie Magazine:  
A Killer Read: Sheena Lambert on The Lake
Catherine, Caffeinated:  5 Ways To Get a Book Deal

Q&A with author Anya Lipska @AnyaLipska #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Anya Lipska death cant take a joke Where the devil can't go

Your (author) name: ANYA LIPSKA


Tell us about yourself: I write detective thrillers set in the East End of London, about the adventures of Polish private eye and honourable tough guy Janusz Kiszka (Yan-ush Kish-kah) and ambitious young police detective DC Natalie Kershaw.

Tell us about your latest book: Janusz’s world is rocked when his girlfriend Kasia is kidnapped – just as she was about to leave her husband and start a new life with him. His quest to save her will take him into the East End’s grimiest corners and see him tangle with ruthless criminals, both home grown and from further afield.

When did you start writing? Well, I do have a page torn out of an old diary of my Mum’s with a very short story I wrote about my little brother. I was about seven. I think my style has moved on…

Where do you write? Anywhere without distractions. Home works until my husband starts cutting glass (he’s a stained glass artist). The library’s also good until the under-fives singing club starts up: ‘Old MacDonald’ isn’t the greatest soundtrack to pen gritty crime to. But I do love to see them getting in the library habit early.

Which other authors do you admire? Ian Rankin, Elmore Leonard, Fred Vargas, Stav Sherez, Sarah Hilary & a hundred more!

Book you wished you’d written? The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Greatest fictional criminal: It has to be a toss-up between Count Fosco in The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, and Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs et al by Thomas Harris.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Er, tough one. As someone who was badly mugged once, I don’t tend to admire real life criminals. And my police detective contacts wouldn’t approve!

What scares you? Boredom.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Yes. A crime writer walks around imagining dark things all the time. But luckily I can dream up very scary scenarios and yet not allow them to intrude on real life.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

Do you listen to music when you write? I tried but found it too distracting. I run a birdsong loop on my Mac instead. It’s soothing, de-stressing and helps to block out the sounds of that pesky glass cutting…

Are you on social media? Oh yes. Largely to be found faffing about on Twitter (@anyalipska), occasionally dipping a toe into Facebook.

How can fans connect with you? Aside from connecting via Twitter/Facebook, I’m usually to be found propping up the bar – or speaking on panels – at UK crime festivals and local lit festivals. Or come and see me and the splendid Eva Dolan at Felixstowe Book Festival in June.  Yay!