Australian author Chris Taylor and host Patricia McLinn dish about Chris’ writing romantic suspense novels set in Australia for North American audiences. Chris talks about her “hot and steamy” novels, making sure that her language and plot lines work for North Americans, and about being a full-time author, former lawyer and mother of five.
You can find Chris on:
Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.
Authors Love Readers with Chris Taylor
Patricia McLinn [00:00] Hi, welcome to this week’s Authors Love Readers podcast, where we delve into the stories behind the stories. We’re asking authors questions. Some of them fun, some of them serious, and from their answers, you’re going to learn things you never knew about the people who write the stories you love. My name is Patricia McLinn. I’m your host and designated question asker.
Chris Taylor [00:23] I’m Chris Taylor, and I’m an author who loves readers.
Patricia McLinn [00:27] Now let’s start the show. Hi, welcome to Authors Love Readers podcast. This week, we have Chris Taylor joining us from, as you will soon hear, Australia. Chris and I met two years ago, I think, so you’re, you’re a pretty recent one at the Novelis Inc. conference.
And we just hit it off and saw each other again this year, because this brave soul traveled all the way from Australia to come to the Novelis Inc. conference and join up with all the other writers, uh, writing in popular fiction. Chris, tell us a little bit about what you write.
Chris Taylor [01:05] Hi, Pat. It’s so lovely to be here all the way back in Australia and we are baking in the heat down here. I know you guys have probably all rugged up for winter, but I tell you what—
Patricia McLinn [01:15] Yes.
Chris Taylor [00:] —I am sitting in the air conditioning.
Patricia McLinn [01:20] I have an Afghan over my lap because I’m chilly.
Chris Taylor [01:26] And I have sweat dripping down. No, just kidding. But it is so hot.
Patricia McLinn [01:29] So Chris, tell us a little bit about what you write.
Chris Taylor [01:32] So I write romantic suspense, but it’s set in Australia. So, um, very early on in my writing career, I was told to write about what I know. And even though I had written, I had read a lot of, um, American stories and loved American stories, um, I, I knew about Australia. I live here. And so I based all of my stories in Australia.
Patricia McLinn [01:56] Do you think there’s any difference between US written and Aus— or set, um, romantic suspense and Australian set romantic suspense?
Chris Taylor [02:08] I’m not sure that there’s any difference in the story as such or even really the setting. Uh, it’s more just the, the language. And even though I, I try hard to make it, um, you know, North American friendly, and I have a North American editor who makes sure the phrases that I use are something that you guys can actually understand.
Uh, every now and then I will get it a note in the margin back from her. And, and it’ll be something that, you know, we say all the time and she’ll say, I know that, I get this from the context, but I have never heard this before. And you know, after 25 books, I still get that occasionally. So that’s always funny because I try really hard to make sure that you guys can understand it.
Patricia McLinn [02:48] Is there a phrase you’re particularly aware of that North Americans don’t get that you use a lot?
Chris Taylor [02:55] Oh, man, I should’ve come up with one off the top of my head. Um, there are always some things, you know, and it’s, it’s really common sort of things down here. I mean, apart from the language differences, like boot, a boot for us is your trunk and, uh, you know, we, we use a torch as in something like you call a flashlight and, um, you know, that the sidewalk is our footpath and, you know, just words like that.
But, but there are definitely, um, sayings and I’ll, I’ll um, I’ll think of one when we finish I’m sure. But my editor will say, this is an Australianism. She calls, she calls it an Australianism. I, you know, I get it from the context, but I’ve never heard this before.
Patricia McLinn [03:36] I’ve heard, um, that Australians tend to shorten a lot of things. Do you see a lot of words or phrases?
Chris Taylor [03:45] Yes, we definitely shorten names. Like we’d never call anyone by their real name. You know, if it’s Michael it’s Mick. If it’s, yeah, no, it’s true. And we didn’t realize it was an Australian thing until, you know, you kind of start traveling and, and meeting other people. And, but we always shorten people’s names. I don’t know why.
Patricia McLinn [04:03] Before we started the recording, we were talking about that Chris never goes by Christine and I, um, sometimes go by Patricia for writing, but I always wonder why I use that because it makes me feel like I’m in trouble. And, uh, but you couldn’t get much shorter than Chris and I couldn’t get much shorter than Pat. So…
Chris Taylor [04:25] I totally relate though, Pat, you know. All my, all my childhood if I was in trouble, my mother would be going, Christine, you know, and that, that’s the only time I got called my full name. I don’t know what it is. It’s a, it’s a parent thing, I think. But, um, no, definitely, well Chris, I chose Chris deliberately, um, because it was, um, you know, an androgynous name really.
And I, I had read somewhere that male readers will pick up a book by an unknown author. They’ll pick up a male author. If it’s the author is unknown to them before they’ll pick up an unknown female author. So I thought, well, this gives me a bit each way, and them in the male market. And, uh, and it has absolutely worked. I’ve, I’ve got quite a lot of male readers and, and often they write to me and say, Dear Mr. Taylor, and then they will tell me how they’ve never read a romance book, but they picked up one of mine because my covers are certainly not, they don’t, you know, I write romantic suspense and it’s probably 50/50.
So my covers, certainly I’ve got no bare chests or anything like that, you know, they, they’re more a thriller cover than a romance cover, so they pick them up and then there’s, I’ve never read romance and now I’ve read the whole series. And it’s funny that they assume I’m a man. Even though I, you know, I mean, I go by Chris, but in the back of the book, you know, I, I certainly, um, you know, confess that I’m a, I’m a wife and mother and et cetera, et cetera.
Patricia McLinn [05:39] Let’s let the readers get to know you a little bit better with some fun questions here. I think they’re fun, you may not. Do you have any surprising jobs that you’ve held?
Chipping cotton and giant spiders
Chris Taylor [05:53] Oh, I had the usual jobs as a, as a teenager, waitressing and I worked at KFC for a while and that sort of thing, but one thing you guys might not do over there, I’m not sure, but, um, it’s cotton chipping. So what that is, I live in a cotton growing area. It’s one of the main crops grown here.
And as kids, well, you know, teens into our college years and whatever, you would go cotton chipping in the summer, which is actually hoeing out weeds on the, in the cotton. So you’ve got a hoe and you’d walk up and down the rows for eight hours in the heat and you chip out weeds. But it was good money. And I met my husband that way when I was 15. So, you know, I have a fondness for cotton chipping.
Patricia McLinn [06:36] That’s a great expression. I had never heard that.
Chris Taylor [06:38] Yes. Well, we used to get backpackers a lot, obviously as backpackers and sometimes they would chip out the cotton because that’s what it was called, cotton chipping. So they would be going around, chipping out all the cotton instead of the weeds.
Patricia McLinn [06:50] Do you have any strong fears and do any of them have to do with cotton? And do you use them in books?
Chris Taylor [06:57] No, nothing to do at cotton, but, oh my goodness, yes. I, I am terrified of spiders. Probably not to the part of it, to the extent of a phobia. But although when I was younger, I certainly probably did have a phobia. And only just the big black ones. Like not daddy long legs, not every spider, but anything that looks fearsome. And yes, I have used a gigantic man-eating spider in one of my books.
Patricia McLinn [07:22] Which book can you tell us the title?
Chris Taylor [07:26] It hasn’t got a title as yet. It’s, it’s one of my most recent books. Um, and yes, my protagonist gets hunted by this enormous spider. And it gives me shivers just to write it.
Patricia McLinn [07:41] I guess, if you can scare yourself, it’s a good sign. Right?
Chris Taylor [07:45] Yes, that’s what I figured.
Patricia McLinn [07:47] Okay. So what’s your favorite taste?
Chris Taylor [07:49] Okay, so I am a sweet person, you know, you’re either sweet or savory. I will skip the, uh, the main meal every time and go straight to dessert. So, um, I love salted caramel anything, but salted caramel ice cream is my absolute favorite.
Patricia McLinn [08:04] Ohh, good choice. Favorite color. And why? Do you have associations with it?
Chris Taylor [08:09] Okay, so it used to be green when I was younger and I’m not really sure why, but I just did love that deep forest green color. But as an adult, it’s become red. And I wear a lot of red and I know it that’s a bit corny because I write romance and stuff like that, but I just, I love, you know, beautiful, deep, red color.
And it does remind me of love and romance and passion and all that kind of stuff. And in fact, my, my bedroom has these deep red curtains and I’ve got a beautiful red throw on the bottom of the bed and you know, that kind of stuff.
Patricia McLinn [08:42] See, now that I’m writing mysteries too, I also think, Oh, deep red curtains, they wouldn’t show blood as much.
Chris Taylor [08:47] I’m hearing you, Pat. These things are important.
Patricia McLinn [08:56] Do you have a— I know. I know. Do you have a childhood book that. Got you addicted on stories that, that really opened that world for you?
Chris Taylor [09:06] Look, I was always an avid reader. I spent an hour each way on a bus with no air conditioning and vinyl seats in the heat and all the rest. And I loved to read, so it was a way to fill in the time. And I must admit, even from a young age, I loved mysteries and romance. I used to read The Famous Five and, and The Secret Seven and Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. And I always wanted the Hardy Boys to get with Nancy Drew and they never ever did.
Patricia McLinn [09:30] I know. What was the problem there?
Chris Taylor [09:32] Exactly.
Patricia McLinn [09:33] It was a natural.
Chris Taylor [09:36] Absolutely.
Rewriting Gone with the Wind. Steel Magnolias, Eight Seconds, and Good Morning Vietnam
Patricia McLinn [09:37] Any of those stories that you read in your, in your pre-author days, did you, um, decide they did not get the ending right. And at least mentally rewrite it. I am always curious about this because I think this triggers something for a lot of writers when we’re quite young.
Chris Taylor [09:55] Yeah. Well, I, I’ve got to say Gone with the Wind. I probably read that when I was about fourteen, I guess, something like that. And, uh, oh my goodness. You know, Ashley Wilkes, really? I mean really just, and then the whole, the, all the stuff they go through and, you know. No, I definitely had to rewrite that. I was just so disappointed, and I have read the sequel, and you know, it’s never as good and all the rest, but you know, that is one book that I absolutely loved, but absolutely hated the way it all went, went in the book.
Patricia McLinn [10:25] So how did you end it?
Chris Taylor [10:27] Well, of course they get together permanently and they love each other and all the rest. My goodness, you know, we all knew they did. It’s like, For God’s sake, wake up to yourself. So I make sure that I get that happy ending. You know, even though all seems lost, of course we know they got to get together. That’s how it has to be.
Patricia McLinn [10:44] I don’t know. I thought they were both kind of stinkers. Um, I, I know that’s, um, not the popular opinion, but that was my view on both of them.
Chris Taylor [10:55] She was a selfish, spoiled little brat, but she did grow, you know, there was that character growth, where at the end, of course, when it was too late. But he always loved her and was much more mature and it just broke my heart that he just didn’t give her that one last chance, you know, that he gave up on them because he still loved her and he just, she wore him out. But, you know, come on. I’m getting angry.
Patricia McLinn [11:20] I, I would have been with Rhet. I would have said, Bye, honey.
Chris Taylor [11:24] I know, she didn’t deserve him all the way through, but towards the end, when she finally woke up to herself, you know. I guess she, she’d got to the point where… No, they did deserve each other, but anyway, it wasn’t to be.
Patricia McLinn [11:35] So, okay. I’ve got to ask you now, because I, I suspect, I know one that will not be on the list. What three movies would you take to my strange little desert island that somehow lets you plays movies, but limits it to three. Well, we get to play three.
Chris Taylor [11:52] Wow. I am a huge movie buff. Um, and I was trying to think of my all-time favorite movies. There are just so many, you know, there are so many, but some that, um, came to mind, Steel Magnolias. I absolutely love and adore, you know, it’s just a beautiful movie and I know it’s an old movie, but I’m old too, so, you know. Oh, I love that movie. Still love that movie. I actually own that movie and watch it, you know, quite, not often, but you know, it’s a beautiful movie.
I also love Eight Seconds. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that one that came out in, um, oh, it was probably the early nineties.
Patricia McLinn [12:25] Yeah.
Chris Taylor [12:26] Again, I’m showing my age here. Um, and it ha—
Patricia McLinn [12:28] It’s about Lance Frost, right?
Chris Taylor [12:31] About Lane Frost. Yes. And I ac—
Patricia McLinn [12:34] Lane Frost.
Chris Taylor [12:35] And I actually used that rodeo kind of thing in one of my books and, um, uh, you know, and it just, it that was the inspiration for that. But, um, uh, so at the time Luke Perry of course was on 90210 and was the hottest thing out. So, and then he did that movie and it was just as beautiful as it. And I own that movie and I have watched it a few times and I still cry.
And the other one, I, the other one I chose. I mean, I could’ve chosen anything with Robin Williams in it because, um, you know, he was just such a brilliant actor and always had just brilliant stories. Uh, but so I put Good Morning Vietnam on my list, because that was another inspirational movie that I love to watch, and so it’s on my list.
Patricia McLinn [13:16] Can you see a thread connecting those movies?
Chris Taylor [13:19] I love the good stories. I love inspirational stories. I love stories that move you and what you to be a better person.
Patricia McLinn [13:28] Okay. And when you say old movies, girly, I love movies from like the thirties. Those are old movies. Those are classics.
Chris Taylor [13:40] I agree with you. I’m a move buff too.
Patricia McLinn [13:42] Is there a saying from your parents that you remember them using all the time and now you hear it coming out of your mouth?
Chris Taylor [13:50] One of the ones, I mean, there are lots of different ones. I think my mother was very big on sayings. Um, uh, but one of the ones that she used to say when, uh, you know, if you’re trying to get something by her, she would say, I didn’t come down in the last shower. I don’t know if you guys use that, but…
Patricia McLinn [14:08] No, but it’s wonderful.
Chris Taylor [14:10] So yeah, I remember her saying that quite often, you know, when we’re kids, I’m one of six. Six girls. So, you know, there are plenty of kids around, and, um, I remember her saying, Oh, I didn’t come down in the last shower as if you know how to, you expect me to believe that. And I have used that in a couple of times.
Patricia McLinn [14:24] Turned it on your kids now, huh?
Chris Taylor [14:28] That’s the way it goes that’s, that’s the, the story of life.
Patricia McLinn [14:31] Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Chris Taylor [14:35] I am right-handed.
Patricia McLinn [14:36] Okay. On your right hand, which is longer your index finger or your ring finger?
Chris Taylor [14:43] Now this is a really weird question, I have never, ever looked at my hands like this before, but you know what, it’s my ring finger. I don’t know what that means about me or says about me.
Patricia McLinn [14:52] I don’t either. I don’t know what it means. I’m just curious about it. I think it’s, it’s interesting that it’s, that it differs for people. Who knew.
Chris Taylor [15:01] Does it really? I didn’t know that either. So, okay.
Patricia McLinn [15:04] Yeah. And sometimes it differs from one hand to the other, for some people, it doesn’t for me. And I have no idea. There’s, there’s probably some significance to it.
Chris Taylor [15:15] It doesn’t for me either, but my left hand, but the index finger is a little bit less short than the ring finger on the left hand. There’s less of a difference.
Patricia McLinn [15:22] So that they’re closer on the left-hand than they are on the right hand.
Chris Taylor [15:26] Yes.
Patricia McLinn [15:27] I thought in my, in my, um, palm reading days, wasn’t it your left-hand is supposed to be what you’re born with in your right hand is what you make of yourself.
Chris Taylor [15:38] Wow. That’s interesting.
Patricia McLinn [15:40] Except that I don’t remember, I don’t remember anything else from that. That’s it. That the extent of it.
Chris Taylor [15:47] That’s totally unhelpful, Pat.
Patricia McLinn [15:49] We’ll have to do some research on it. And as long as I brought up the R word, let’s go ahead and talk about it. Because writing romantic suspense in particular, you must have to do a lot of research. How do you do it?
Chris Taylor [16:01] Uh, yes, well, I’m, I’m lucky that I, I had a medical background, uh, at one stage I was a nurse for a few years. And I also was a lawyer for a lot longer years, so I had a legal background and I’ve done, so I’ve done a medical romantic suspense series and I’m in the middle of a legal series at the moment. So I do call on a lot of past experience.
And I also have, um, a, your equivalent to the FBI. We’ve got the AFP, which is the Australian Federal Police, same kind of thing as the FBI. Uh, and so I’ve, I have one of their, um, retired supervisors or superintendents, on my speed dial and he answers any technical questions about the police and that sort of thing, because I often have a police investigation going on. And in fact, my hero or heroine is quite often a police officer or a detective.
Chris Taylor [16:49] So that’s really handy. I also have, um, a contact in the state morgue. So I’ve done some, you know, some scenes in the morgue and that sort of thing. And as a nurse, I actually watched autopsies. So I, I have been inside there and seen all that happen. So that helps.
I’m not, I’m not some… I love. I love, I love historical romance, but I just could not spend all that time on the research to get it right. And I’m someone who has to be right. So I just, I will not go there because I just know I just, I’m too impatient for the story to begin. And I just love to get in it and start writing. I don’t want to be pulled out all the time or spend months doing the research ahead of time. So I’ve stayed well clear of historical romance, even though I absolutely love it. Love to read it.
Patricia McLinn [17:29] How did you develop these connections with, uh, the retired gentlemen from the AFP and your other, your other sources?
Chris Taylor [17:38] So, I’m lucky, one of my sisters works for the Australian government. She’s a diplomat. And so the federal police are based in Canberra. I mean, they have offices around in the other capital cities, but their headquarters are in Canberra. So she knew this fellow through her work because she often deals with the federal police.
So she got me into contact with him and he was, I haven’t actually ever met him face to face, but we’ve spoken on the phone and I email, you know, every book I write to him about something or other. And it’s always just, Hi, Hey, guy, what do I do? And blah, blah, blah, what would happen if blah, blah, blah. And he just talks back. He hasn’t heard from me for a month or two, and then, you know, and he’s just straight back with the answer. So it’s really handy.
Chris Taylor [18:15] And as for the, um, the state morgue, I actually called them, um, you know, and explained I was an author and whatever, and that I needed, you know, could I speak to somebody about this? And, uh, anyway, they said that they would, um, you know, get, get someone from their media department to call me back. And so, you know, within ten minutes or so I got a call back and I explained again, who I was to this fellow, and he said, Yes, I know I’ve looked you up.
So they actually, they actually did a bit of a search because I guess I get calls from crazies and that kind of thing.So they’d gone and they looked at my website and whatever, and realized I was, you know, legitimate, often writing, you know, crime kind of novels. And, uh, anyway, so he he’s been very helpful as well. I, I, I write to him, email him or, uh, speak to him sometimes when I’m dealing with that kind of stuff.
Patricia McLinn [19:02] Well, those are great sources, because I find sometimes that when you find somebody like that, who will enter into the what if they are precious. I, I did a course in forensics at a place in North Carolina a few years ago, and the guy was great. He was also telling us a lot of times what usually happened and I would be saying, Yeah, but what if? And he’d say, Well, but that doesn’t usually happen. And I’d say, Yeah, but what if, and he felt at one point, he, he said, Don’t ever go into crime, you are the devil’s spawn. *Laughter* I know, writers think that’s a great compliment. My family wasn’t as impressed.
Chris Taylor [19:49] That’s funny.
Ideas from true crime and songs, obituaries for the living
Patricia McLinn [19:51] Okay. On behalf of a reader, I am going to ask you, uh, her question and she says, Where do your stories come from? I know one author who dreams her stories. Another has a character suddenly take up residence in her head. So how are your beautiful stories born?
Chris Taylor [20:08] Okay. So, um, they’re not necessarily character driven. I-I’m usually inspired. I watch a lot of crime, true crime TV. I-I’m obsessed with that a bit, I think in fact, my husband, just, yeah, he does think I’m obsessed with it. And, um, uh, so I, you know, cause truth’s often stranger than fiction, so often I will see something that will just it’ll spark an idea., and I start thinking, Well, how did that happen? Or why did that happen? Or what if this had happened, you know, you start asking all those questions and you know, from there I can get a story.
Sometimes it’s a song that inspires me that I just, like I’m listening to, um, I have discovered Gretchen Peters. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of her—
Patricia McLinn [20:46] I haven’t.
Chris Taylor [20:48] —but she’s been around for a long time, apparently. But I’ve just discovered her. She’s a country sort of, um, uh, singer, but she has the most amazing stories in her songs. And so I’m, I’m listening to one at the moment called Five Minutes, about, and it’s, you know, it’s about this girl who’s working in a diner and she’s on her break, a five minute break, you know, and she’s thinking about her past, and the boy that she loved and they’ve split up and she’s got a daughter to him that, you know, they, they haven’t seen each other for twenty years or something, I think.
Anyway, it’s just, and she’s thinking, and then the owner of the diner, you know, she knows he likes her. She could always have a relationship there, but he’s not this guy who, you know, she’s still thinking of. And it, oh man, there is a story there. I am going to definitely write a story backed from there. You know, it just it’s so, so emotional, and so sad and all that kind of stuff. And I like to tap into the emotions. I mean, even though I have the suspense going, the romance is just as strong.
Patricia McLinn [21:40] I like, I like songs too. And I have a couple songs that have grown out of, actually songs, um, sung by Hal Ketchum. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him.
Chris Taylor [21:52] No, I haven’t heard of him.
Patricia McLinn [21:54] And that, wonderful storytelling songs. So I totally understand that. The only drawback is, start with this idea and then you have to turn it into a book. So how do you do that? How do you start taking that, that story you’ve heard in a song, how do you create it into a book?
Chris Taylor [22:15] Yeah, it is, it’s strange, but that’s part of the magic, isn’t it? That’s the part I just totally love, coming up with a new idea and totally building this amazing story about it. So another example I was listening to, I love country, I love country music, like I could listen to Nashville radio all day and often do. But, um, I had, I was listening to a song by Alabama called I Believe. And it’s a song about this fellow, who’s lost his wife, you know, she’s died. But he could still feel her, you know, he says, I still feel you.
And so my very first book was inspired by that. And I could see this guy standing, you know, kneeling down by this headstone and he’s crying and he’s touching the headstone and it’s cold, but he can still feel her. He can still feel the warmth. And that is the scene in my very first book. It’s one of the very early scenes is this grieving husband. And he’s actually, the detective in the story, goes from there, but man, I could see that so clearly. And it was just, yeah. Just just beautiful is great.
And I just love that whether I connect through a song or just something I’ve seen or even read, you know, sometimes I read this obituary in the paper, once in our local paper, it was an obituary, only the person hadn’t died. It was just so weird. Yes. They weren’t dead. Someone had written their obituary, but they weren’t dead. And so I thought, Wow, what is going on there?
Patricia McLinn [23:29] Were they, were they somebody well known in the community?
Chris Taylor [23:33] No, not well known in the community. At least I didn’t know them. And I live in a fairly small community. I mean, some people would have known them, but there was something going on there that, that they’d written their orbituary, likely someone else had written there orbituary. Think, Wow. That is that’s, that’s weird, there’s something going on there. That is a story.
Patricia McLinn [23:51] Newspapers write, um, obituaries for famous people ahead a time, and then kind of fill in details, but they have them ready to go basically. But it doesn’t sound like that was the same situation.
Chris Taylor [24:03] No, this was just in the classifieds. So someone had just paid to put this, it was like an ad in the classifieds, but it wasn’t an obituary. Like it was only a small square, you know, with stuff on it, but it wasn’t that small, but it was, it wasn’t a huge page or anything, it was just in the classifieds. And it was just these few paragraphs about this person, only they weren’t dead.
Patricia McLinn [24:22] Okay, we got to use that in a book.
Chris Taylor [24:27] Oh, definitely. I haven’t used yet, but that is definitely going in. That is just, Wow, what is going on there? They obviously hated each other.
Patricia McLinn [24:35] Well, you get dibs on it because you, you read it, but I really liked that. When you, when you finish up a book, this is another question from a reader. Um, do you find the miss characters? Do you think about them a lot? What, how they are going on from the end of the book? Um, and, and then I, uh, I want to add the question of, and has that thinking, if you do think about them, has that ever led you to write another book?
Chris Taylor [24:58] Yeah, so I write series, so I do myself in that series and there are usually like nine or ten books, so that there’s a reasonable length of time where you’re immersed in there. I, one of my, my first series was actually based on a family. So there were, there were so many brothers and a couple of sisters there to make up the books. And so I did revisit the characters and you just, you do that, they’re like your family. I know that sounds weird, but you just feel like, you know them, like they’re people that you know. And you know, so when things happen to them, you feel for them and, you know, and you like to hear back from them.
So, I did a novella, Christmas novella in the first series to revisit all the people that were, it came up as book seven. So you’d already met six of the brothers and sisters. And so I revisited each one around a Christmas theme, and, oh, that was so nice. You know, it’s like catching up with old friends.
Patricia McLinn [25:49] And, you said you feel bad for them when bad things happen to them, but you are making those bad things happen to them.
Chris Taylor [25:55] I know.
Patricia McLinn [25:56] How do you feel about that?
Chris Taylor [25:58] Oh, it’s so weird, it is. You know, it just happens. You, you would understand as an author that, you know, the story just takes you to certain places. I’m, I’m a planner. So I do plan quite a lot of the story out beforehand. I don’t just sort of get an idea and run with it. Um, so I often know, you know, a lot of it, but every now and then it just, the story just takes over or the character just takes over and does something that’s so surprising that you, you think, Oh wow. And it could be good or bad, you just have to go with it because that’s, that’s what the story needs. That’s what they’re telling you it needs anyway.
Patricia McLinn [26:30] What, that planning that you do before a book, what does that look like?
Chris Taylor [26:34] Okay, so it depends on how much time I have, um, for my deadline. So I, but generally, if I have, you know, I write fairly fast, so I publish every couple of months, generally. So I allow myself about three weeks to write a first draft and then I edit it and probably take me a week to go through and do a full edit. And then it goes off to be edited back and forth. It goes through three passes back and forth between my editor and, and me. What was the question again? I’ve lost my train of thought.
Patricia McLinn [27:03] What, how you’re planning?
Chris Taylor [27:05] Oh, the planning.
Patricia McLinn [27:06] What, what your planning looks like, what you’re doing.
Chris Taylor [27:08] Yeah. So I would, uh, write a rough draft, hand-write a rough draft chapter by chapter, just in point form.
Patricia McLinn [27:15] Hand-write?
Chris Taylor [27:16] Hand-write in point form. So it takes me a couple of days probably to hand-write, just, in point form chapter by chapter. But I find that I’m, I’m more efficient if I take that time because I’ve got five kids and so I’m often called away. And so I can just come back to my, my plan, I, you know, my summary really, and know where I’m at. I don’t have to go back and read, you know, where, where I was heading. I know where I’m at. I can just look straight down at where I leave it open on my desk and, um, you know, and then I just continue on. So I just find it. But it’s more efficient that way, because I get interrupted fairly frequently.
Patricia McLinn [27:50] When, when you have books where the character takes off on a different direction from you, are those, are those a joy to write or are those harder to write? And what would, which of your books you’d say was the easiest to write?
Chris Taylor [28:03] Okay. So, um, but it doesn’t happen all that often. I guess I keep them under control pretty well, but, um, every now and then… I wrote one about a serial killer. The, the man was a serial killer and they had two children, him and his wife. And she was meant to be totally oblivious to all this stuff going on. And then all of a sudden there’s a scene towards the end where the wife turns up with the chainsaw, you know, by his side, she walks in on him and he’s thinks he’s been sprung. But in fact, she’s, she’s, she’s part of it, you know, she’s… And I thought, um, I know it was too much, too much. I can not do that to those poor children. They cannot have two serial killer parents. So I had to, I regret that I did not let her come in and do that. And she was never meant to be there.
Patricia McLinn [28:46] So it was only to save the children, huh?
Chris Taylor [28:50] No child should have to go through life like that, with two serial killer parents.
Patricia McLinn [28:54] But okay. Your most recent book, how much, has that, say there’s a continuum of easy to write, joy to write, versus, Oh my gosh, um, this is, this book is going to kill me. Where in the continuum did the most recent book come in?
Chris Taylor [29:11] Um, it wasn’t too bad. It was another romantic suspense. Um, I, I have my series mapped out ahead of time. So I have nine books in the series. I’ve got all the titles chosen, and when I was doing this sort of planning, I, I would come up with an idea and just write a few lines down on each book. So, um, I already knew, you know, as I kept to each book in the series.
I know what the theme is. I know what the main story, I always know what the black moment is. For people, for readers who, who don’t know that, that expression, it’s where, um, particularly in romance where you think all is so wrong they’re never going to get back, they’re never going to get together. You know how they’re so far apart, that’s never going to happen, but that’s the black moment where you’re just in total despair that they’re ever like, like I was with Rhett Butler, don’t worry, I’m still in despair.
Chris Taylor [29:59] And then of course, you know, we resolve it and they get back to, they get together and, and that’s what, that’s the happily ever after we promise in a romance. Um, but, but, you know, so sometimes, the current book has, has, um, yeah, it’s flowed pretty well. I’ve um, recently started using dictation software. So, in fact, you guys inspired me at Novelis Inc. conference, when you are, you’re all talking about, um, Dragon Dictation software and how much, um, more efficient it was than all the rest.
And I tell you, I have been quietly impressed. So it, it’s making me think differently. I think I’m using a different part of my brain, which is weird, but it just feels a little bit different to be dictating a story rather than typing it and seeing it coming up in front of me. But it definitely is quicker.
Patricia McLinn [30:44] How do you make changes on the fly on Dragon? Cause if I couldn’t backspace, delete, and cut and paste, I would be in big trouble.
Chris Taylor [30:55] Yes. I’m with you on that. And I have only just started using the software on the latest book. Um, but what I have been doing, because I feel that way too. I have been dictating just like a thousand words at a time. So for about ten minutes, it takes me to do a thousand words, and then I transcribe it and then I’m editing it straight away. So, because sometimes as I’m speaking, I agree, I’d like to backspace and delete or change something. But I don’t. I just keep going until I do the thousand words, and then I just edit it straight away. So the thought or the deletion I wanted to make the correction is still fresh in my mind. So that’s how I’ve been dealing with it. I’m not sure how other people do.
Patricia McLinn [31:30] I was contemplating trying, um, dictation on things like emails because it’s not as precise for me as writing.
Chris Taylor [31:40] Yeah. Well, when you watch the, um, the YouTube videos and things on that, you know, write composing emails and stuff with dictation software is just so easy. You know, it’s like open mail, new mail, send, send mail to Pat, you know, whatever. And it just pops the address in and all that stuff. It’s just like, Wow.
Patricia McLinn [31:54] I might have to try that. But speaking of editing, have you edited, ever edited something out of a book or had it edited, edited out by someone else, that you still regret that you think, ah, I wish I’d left that in.
Chris Taylor [32:13] There is actually, and I’m sure the, the edit was made for all the right reasons. So I write generally for the North American market, because it’s just, you know, from a business point of view, it’s a lot bigger market than the Australian market. Just, you guys have got a lot more people than, than we do. We don’t read, but you know, there’s a lot, it’s a numbers game.
So I was writing this book where this guy had, he was a returned army officer. And he had PTSD, undiagnosed PTSD. You don’t realize this right until the end, but anyway, he had had an affair. Okay. So there were a lot of reasons why, in fact, you find out that he was part of his, trying to break this terrorist cell in Indonesia and stuff, and, and to keep his cover and basically saved his men, he, you know, he sleeps with this Indonesian girl. Who’s also a spy, you know, my editor made me, no, I could not use that. It was not acceptable to have the hero. Have had been unfaithful to his wife.
So I had to get rid of that, which it was, it was just so, yeah, I did. I mean, I still had PTSD, but he wasn’t unfaithful. He just, he still walked out on his marriage, but not for those reasons. So, um, but I still really loved that story. It was such a beautiful love story and I’ll write, I like to write really real and, you know, that happens sometimes, but no, my editor felt that it was not going to be acceptable to an all American audience, that a hero is unfaithful no matter what, the reason. So that went, and I do mourn the loss of that.
Patricia McLinn [33:38] Do you think it would have been acceptable to an Australian audience?
Chris Taylor [33:41] Most definitely.
Patricia McLinn [33:43] Oh really?
Chris Taylor [33:44] Yes.
Patricia McLinn [33:45] Why do you think there’s that difference?
Chris Taylor [33:46] Well, I don’t know, I was guided by my, um, North American editor, um, that, that, that kind of thing wouldn’t go down well in, in North America. In Australia, I dunno. I think we are just more, um, not accepting, but we were just less, gosh, I don’t know what the, what the word is. It would have definitely been acceptable in an Australian audience. We would have understood it. And understood the reasons.
And even though, you know, it comes good in the end, of course, they still love each other and they, you know, and we realize all this stuff was going on. But, you know, and it’s, I think it’s a beautiful love story, but, uh, yes. I don’t know why I think that that definitely would have been okay in Australia that it wasn’t okay over there.
Patricia McLinn [34:26] Now, other than the, the story where the wife of the serial killer shows up to join in, um, which of your stories has surprised you the most? And how did, how did it surprise you? And did you learn anything from that for books that, that followed?
Chris Taylor [34:43] Wow. The one where the wife turns up, that was my first, um, well that was my first book published. And so it was my first book because we always, we all write books well, before we got to publishing, uh, stage, but I guess that was the first time I had had a character take over like that. And it was like, Wow, how did that happen? Like, I’m the one writing this stuff.
So I guess, in later books, um, it didn’t happen as often, but every now and then, and I just gave myself the permission to let that happen. You know, I accepted that sometimes that happens that the characters take over where until then, you know, I hadn’t thought in those terms, you know, as, as you say, I’m the one putting the words there, what do you mean that the characters taking over?
It sounds really strange to somebody who’s never done it before, but after that experience, I realized, you know, that’s sometimes that can happen. And sometimes it’s okay. Sometimes it’s not like I had to get rid of it because it just was too much for those poor children. But, you know, sometimes they go that way.
Patricia McLinn [35:38] Well, I’ve told this story before, but, um, I had a murder mystery that I was writing, uh, that came out a year ago, um, called Look Live. And I was ahead of schedule, which I rarely am. I’m tootling along with this book and thinking, Oh boy, I’m going to be finished ahead of time. And then looking at the screen, what do you know? The person I thought was the murderer ended up dead.
Chris Taylor [36:05] I love that. I love that.
Patricia McLinn [36:08] Oh… I thought, Uh, oh.
Chris Taylor [36:12] Now what do I do?
Patricia McLinn [36:13] This is a problem. So I got the book out on time, but I was not ahead of schedule. I had to do some real rethinking and it, and it never occurred to me to make him undead.
Chris Taylor [36:24] Yes. Yes.
Patricia McLinn [36:25] He was dead. That was it, there it was.
Chris Taylor [36:27] It’s something I think that readers think is weird because, um, you know, like, we’re the ones writing the story. I mean, I know sometimes, so I haven’t been able to write the climax that I often have, you know, people getting killed or chased or whatever, you know, there’s always a threat that their life’s in danger.
And often I can’t write that late at night. I do write late at night. But I can’t write those scenes at night because I’m so scared. You know, it’s just, it’s like for goodness’ sake, I’m writing it. I know how it’s going to work out. Okay. You know, what’s going on here, but you know, it’s like, that’s the way it is.
Patricia McLinn [36:59] So are there other ways you think writers are different from normal people?
Chris Taylor [37:04] Normal people, yeah, that’s right. But we’re so far left of normal aren’t we. Um, I think that we just, I do think we think differently and I see stories everywhere, you know, and like, I, I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly observant person, but I just, I see stories in people and in actions and, and just, you know, sitting on a train or whatever. And you just see a comment or overhear a conversation or something. And man, my mind’s already off. Where I don’t know that normal people think like that.
Patricia McLinn [37:31] You know, uh, uh, a lot of the authors are saying this. And, I just had this thought, we’re making a lot of normal people really paranoid about being watched and listened to by writers since they’re out in their normal lives. And you’re in, you’re going to be in a book.
Chris Taylor [37:51] I often get emails from people who, because, you know, I write, I write a lot of murder and death and you know, stuff like that. There’s always chasing. There’s always, you know, the adrenaline pumping stuff and I, I will get emails every now and then from people who, cause sometimes I use the real names, real suburb names and things, especially in Sydney and whatever. And you know, I’ll get people saying, Oh my goodness, I live there. I live in that suburb. I’m still looking over my shoulder.
Patricia McLinn [38:14] That’s one of the things I feel bad about. My mystery series is set in Wyoming. So I managed to pick the least populated state in the United States. And I am rapidly depopulating it further.
Chris Taylor [38:28] Uh, yeah. Yes, one book at a time.
Patricia McLinn [38:33] That’s right. But sometimes multiple bodies. So how do you think you have changed and evolved as a writer? Since you, say not just since you started, but say since you were first published.
Chris Taylor [38:49] Um, well, it’s, it’s like anything, any profession, I think. That the more you do do and the more hours you spend on it, the better you get. So I’m definitely more efficient. Um, I’m definitely less wordy. You know, like some of my earlier books were a hundred-twenty, a hundred and ten, hundred and twenty thousand words just for, you know, an ordinary fiction novel, which should have been around, you know, eighty or ninety.
So I’ve learned to, I’m much more efficient with words and I love that. You know, I love that. I can just have a few words, a few words in a sentence and say exactly the same thing that I might’ve had ten words in before, you know, it just, and it just comes up more easily. And I think like any job, you know, the more, the longer you’re at it, the better you get at it. So that’s one of the things that has changed for sure that I’m better at it. And I’m more efficient at it.
Patricia McLinn [39:35] You have a writing routine that you follow?
Chris Taylor [39:38] Yes. Well, I, I write full-time. I’m lucky enough to write full-time. So it’s my job. So, you know, I’m, I’m in front of my desk by nine in the morning after my kids have gone to school and, you know, I’ll have a quick lunch break and I’ll be back again. You know, like, like I would a job and I sit here till four, when my kids get home from school, this is in between, you know, obviously, sometimes there’s interruptions and I have to go and buy food and stuff every now and then, which is an annoyance, but…
Um, generally, yeah, look, I worked seven days a week as well, and I often do more work, you know, after the kids have gone to bed, I’ll do another two or three hours then. So, um, but the good thing is it doesn’t feel like a job, you know, when you’re really into it. There’s nothing like being really into it and just, so immersed.
Patricia McLinn [40:19] And when it comes, just kind of its own, which doesn’t happen all the time, unfortunately, but it is lovely when it does.
Chris Taylor [40:27] Yes. Now, a lot of the time it is, it’s just getting that story down. But I think the more, more, um, prep I do earlier on, the more I get to know my characters, before I start to write the easier it is. So even though I chafe at the delay, you know, whether it’s two or three days where I’m just writing things out. In the end I think it’s, it’s more efficient because I don’t have to, I don’t have as many pauses where I’m thinking now, you know, what, what would they do here or what, what happens next?
Patricia McLinn [40:52] Now, uh, a reader wants to know what is your favorite place to write and why? And does it have an inspirational view?
Chris Taylor [40:59] Well, I, I generally write from my office when I’m home. Um, I, I use one drive on my iPad so I can go flip between the iPad and my desktop. But generally, I like to sit in my office and I do have a lovely view. I live out of town, so I’ve got a very nice rural view of the mountains and I’ve got a nice pool in my backyard that I look out over. So I have a water view, I guess.
Um, so, and often I’m the only one home, you know, when my husband’s at work, my kids are away. So it’s often just me. I don’t need to have music and stuff going. Like a lot of people need something going on. I can just sit here in total silence. I’ve got enough voices going on in my head. I don’t need anymore.
Patricia McLinn [41:39] You need one of those floating desks for your, for your pool. So you can just paddle around.
Chris Taylor [41:45] That would be nice.
Patricia McLinn [41:47] So have you ever had a situation that, a reader wanted to know about this, when the cover image didn’t match the character description, have you run across that? And then she said, if you have, she wants to know how it feels for the author.
Chris Taylor [41:59] Okay. So I, I’m lucky because I am an Indie, um, um, published author. So I, I have a lot of input into my covers. Uh, and I have used the same cover designer all the way through, so they really, they get, they get me in my, my, my books. So I, I mean, occasionally I have tweaks of course, that the, the hero doesn’t look like he should or is too young looking. I mean, man, I’m 45, everyone looks young now to me, but, um, you know, I don’t know, he’s too young. He looks like he’s—
Patricia McLinn [42:27] Go away.
Chris Taylor [42:28] You know what I mean. But I’m lucky in that way. I haven’t ever had a cover that totally mismatches, but I certainly sympathize with author friends who have. Because you know, you’ve got this person in your head and they’re a certain way and they look a certain way, they’ve got certain, you know, um, mannerisms and just some sort of bearing or whatever. And you get just turn, you get something that’s just nothing like that. And I can understand how ghastly you must feel about that.
Patricia McLinn [42:52] Now a lot of your characters… Hmm. I shouldn’t say a lot, but, um, you’re writing in areas where it tends to be male dominated, more males working than, than women, than females. Um, how do you approach writing about, from the point of views, especially of the opposite sex?
Chris Taylor [43:13] Okay. So I love to write from the male point of view. I don’t know why, but I guess, if I have a choice say from running single point of view, and I have a choice, I will often gravitate towards a male character, which is weird because I have no brothers.
So I grew up with five sisters. So obviously I had a father, but, um, you know, I, I didn’t have a lot of male influences such and I love writing the male characters. I don’t know whether I get it wrong. I think I probably make them a little bit too emotional. I can always tell a book that’s written by a man, but you kind of don’t even have to tell me the author, I, you know, I just can tell from the style.
And in, particularly if there’s any sort of emotional scenes, you know, you can tell it’s been written by a man. Uh, but so I probably am a little bit emotional, but I guess, you know, the people who read my books do tend to be women too. So, you know, we, we get it, we get that.
Patricia McLinn [44:01] So this question is sort of out of the blue, but I, I’m interested to hear the answer. What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as an author?
Chris Taylor [44:11] Okay. Um, I think on my covers, you know, um, they say a, Well, you can’t judge a book by the color, but we often do in this day and age of digital books, you know, we, we, we, we have the covers in front of us.
Unlike, you know, in the old days, when you had to go to a bookstore, I guess you saw covers too, but, um, most people shop online now I think, so the covers are really important. And particularly if you’re looking for just a read, you know, you’re not actually searching for a particular author. And I think the covers are really important.
And I probably spend on the upper end of the scale. Not the most expensive for sure, but more than some, um, on my covers, but I have had a lot of feedback on the covers that they, and, and, you know, even from digital retailers that the covers are stand out and that, you know, they’re, they’re attractive to readers.
Patricia McLinn [44:58] Do you have a favorite cover of yours?
Chris Taylor [45:00] That’s hard to say, cause I do like all my covers, but, um.
Patricia McLinn [45:04] Or one that’s gotten particular, a particular amount of feedback.
Chris Taylor [45:08] Probably, um, my, my hospital series, which it features sort of a part of the building on, on all the, of the fictitious hospital I set in Sydney, but, um, they, they’re kind of darker and grittier and edgier those books and the covers are all sort of reflective of that, I think.
Um, and they’re nice and glossy, some I’m doing a matte, some series I do are matte and I love matte, the matte cover as well. But, um, the glossy, the glossy really, that talks to me.
Patricia McLinn [45:36] Now you said that you have had some books set in the legal, against the legal background—
Chris Taylor [45:42] Yes.
Patricia McLinn [45:43] —right? And you were a lawyer. Were you a criminal lawyer?
Chris Taylor [45:46] Yes, I, I did a bit of everything in my early days. I worked for the, um, director of public prosecutions, which what do you guys call it? You know, the district attorney’s office, that kind of thing.
Patricia McLinn [45:58] Right.
Chris Taylor [45:59] So I did purely criminal law there on the prosecution side of it. Um, but when I moved to, um, the country, that was in Sydney, I lived in Sydney. When I moved to the country where my husband lived, I became a country lawyer. So in a country practice and I did a bit of everything and then I was a defense lawyer. So that was really weird because I, you know, you’re on different sides of the bar table. People probably don’t even realize, but you know, the defense sit on the left and the, and the prosecution sit on the right. And so all of a sudden I was on the other side of the table and it just was, so even though you’re already, still a few meters apart, it was just so weird to do that.
But yeah, I did defense criminal lawyer for a few years and also did a lot of commercial work and, um, you know, conveyancing and did a bit of everything in the country.
Patricia McLinn [46:44] So if you weren’t writing, would you go back to the law?
Chris Taylor [46:47] Yes. I would.
Patricia McLinn [48:48] And now that sort of surprised me because a lot of, there are a fair number of authors who are departed lawyers, escaped lawyers. Um, so that’s interesting. So what, what made you switch from law to writing?
Chris Taylor [47:00] Well, I always loved writing and I used to do that on my weekends and things, especially before I had children, I would be writing kind of Harlequin romances and things. Um, it was only later I got into the suspense.
I did try and write Blaze, um, but I just could not contain the word count. You know, I was always had too many secondary characters and too many plots going on. So I realized fairly, fairly quickly I was a single-title writer, and I didn’t even know that term until I started talking to other writers, you know, but, um, anyway, so I, I, I was always writing.
I just love criminal law, not so much the other stuff, but, uh, I love the criminal law. I’ve always been fascinated with that. And I think that, that’s why I’ve, uh, you know, I write about it because it, it’s, it’s fascinating, you know, what makes a person get to that point.
Patricia McLinn [47:46] How do readers respond to especially your criminal stories, do they, or, or any of your romantic suspense, what sort of feedback do you get from readers? What sort of interaction do you have with them?
Chris Taylor [47:59] Yeah, so I, I think the book that I get the most, um, response from is one that was on domestic violence. So it was in the medical series and the husband was a doctor, you know, very well-respected doctor, uh, at the hospital. And she was a nurse, the wife, and of course behind closed doors, we realized it’s so different to the, you know, the public persona that he was, he was showing everyone.
And I get a lot of response from that, you know, because I think there’s a lot of people out there in those situations. And I get a lot of emails from readers who, or, you know, sometimes it’s the daughter saying my mum was in a situation or one was, My mum is still in this situation, which was so terrible. So heartbreaking. Yeah.
Patricia McLinn [48:43] Oh, dear.
Chris Taylor [48:44] Yeah. But, but I think that that one has touched a lot of people. I get a lot of letters about that, about domestic violence, which just, I like to do, um, issues that draw attention to things I think need more attention, you know, more public awareness. So that was definitely one I, I felt, I felt for a long time that I needed to get out there and I get a lot of response from that one.
Patricia McLinn [49:04] I have a question that a reader posed, I think is intriguing. I’m very interested to hear what you have to say. If you could write a book with any author, alive or dead, who would you want to work with and why?
Chris Taylor [49:19] Well, see my favorite author, well, I have two favorite authors, one, and one, one’s alive. One’s dead. So one of them is a historical romance author by the name of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Now, she was one of the first, um, romance novels I read, I think I read her first book when I was about 13 or something.
Totally, totally loved her books. She just had the most amazing characters, such beautiful men, you know, and just lovely characters that you fell in love with. So she is somebody I would love to written with. Um, just because she just could tap into the, you know, into emotions so well.
The other one I love, um, and he is, again, one of my, is up there with her, my favorite author, is Richard North Patterson. So he has a couple series. And, again, he’s a guy who writes from a male’s point of view, but how, his guys are just so great, so lovely, you just, you know, you fall in love with them. His, um, male characters and, and he always has a fantastic story that goes with it. So I would love to write a book with him.
Patricia McLinn [50:23] So you’re looking at these authors, not just that you enjoy their work, but what you could learn from them.
Chris Taylor [50:28] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Their characterization and the way that they just, you know… Richard North Patterson, especially his, you know, he writes contemporary drama sort of stuff. Um, you know, one’s a political series, another one’s a legal series. Um, he’s got other books, but there is the ones that I love. He taps into the real situations that anyone can relate to. And some people would have been in. And, and they react in a real way. You know, I always really liked that.
In fact, I, when I first discovered Sandra Brown, and she is one of my, my inspirations, um, she was the first author I had ever read that, you know, where it was a bit of swearing, people reacted in a normal way, you know, in a way you would expect. And it wasn’t sugar-coated, you know, and I thought, Wow. I was just blown away the first time I read one of her books.
Patricia McLinn [51:16] Now those books are sort of in your same genre. Is that what you read for fun or do you go outside your genre?
Chris Taylor [51:22] I do read a lot of that kind of stuff for fun, especially from, from authors that I really enjoy, but I also, I mean, I love historical romance. I love contemporary romance. I, I, you know, I every now and then I’ll read an autobiography, but not really for fun. It’ll be just something I’m interested in or some person, you know, I’m interested in to know their life story, I’ll read that for. But for fun, it’s always, it’s always romance in some form.
Patricia McLinn [51:45] So somebody who has never read any of your books and we’ll say this from the North American market, since it’s the, the bigger one, what would be a good place for them to start? Which book would be a good start for them?
Chris Taylor [51:59] I was given some advice that, um, at a RWA conference, actually, I can’t even remember who said it, but this was before I was published, so it was really timely for me. They said that you had no control on where a reader might come into your series. So I write series, I like to write series.
Um, and, but they said, you’ve, you know, you might have book four on sale or something, and someone gets that one. And if they can’t understand and enjoy that story on its own, without having read all the other, other books, um, then they may not go back and fill in the gaps, you know. Where if you, if you write it as sort of a standalone story within the series and they enjoy it, you know, as, as its own book, then you’re more likely to get them to, you know, go back and read or, or pick up another one.
So I took that on board. So my, I’ve got three different series at the moment. And each one is a standard line story. I think you get more out of it if you’ve read them in order, because there is some reference back to previous characters. And so you’ll realize that these ones have just had a baby or these ones aren’t doing so well or whatever, you get a bit more out of it. But you can still enjoy any of them.
Chris Taylor [53:02] So, the first series is really a detective series on a, on a family. Um, the second one is a bit darker, a bit grittier, is that the hospital series. So I deal with topics like domestic abuse and organ donation, you know, the, yeah, I think kind of controversial things that one’s about illegal trafficking, you know, organs. Um, so it’s a little bit grittier.
Uh, that the third series, the legal series is a lot of courtroom drama stuff. So it really depends on what you, what you like to read, I think. I think you can tell that I’ve written them all there. They’re very much stamped with my, my voice. Um, and, uh, you know, they’re fairly hot and steamy. Most of them are.
So, um, I would recommend any reader starting, pick a series and start at the, the first one, because I just think you get a little bit more enjoyment out of it, but, but really they could come in anywhere and enjoy it If it’s their kind of story.
Patricia McLinn [53:56] I was at a mystery conference in Indianapolis last fall, and a reader came up, we were doing book signing and she came up with, I think it was the fourth book in the series. And I said, Oh, you know, have you read the other books? And she said, No, I’m going to start here. So there is a proof, at least one person out there is doing what you were told about. Okay.
Chris Taylor [54:21] I would never do that. I have always, you know, gone and tried to find the first one because that’s just me, I like to do that. Even if the others are on sale, I’ll still start with the first one. But apparently, you know, some people don’t, they just, they dive in and see if they’re going to like it. So, yeah.
Patricia McLinn [54:37] Do you have any, any of your books that you have a sense has been overlooked and not, not as, read as much that even your loyal readers might, might’ve missed some?
Guns, snakes, murder
Chris Taylor [54:49] One of the stories that is very close to my heart is the eighth book in the first series. So it’s called The Defendant, and, um, it’s, it was inspired by my son, who was twelve at the time. And in Australia, well probably over there in the States, I don’t know what your age limit is, but in Australia at twelve, he can get a gun license. So my name is on the permit. So you still have to be under supervision of an adult, et cetera, but you can actually get a gun license at twelve. And we live out in the bush and, um, uh, you know, my husband’s got guns and, and, you know, I’ve even got a gun license. Um, he goes to the range every now and then. We’re not hunters, but you know, we’ve got guns.
And so my, my twelve-year-old was really, really keen to get his license, you know, when he turned twelve. And so he did, he got his license and of course, then he just wanted to shoot everything in sight, you know. I had a snake at the back of my back door on the concrete steps and, you know, he’s tearing off to the shed to get the 410 shotgun, you know. I’m like, Oh my God, you know, like his mentality was like, Let’s shoot it. Let’s shoot it, you know?
Chris Taylor [55:49] And anyway, so that inspired that book. It’s a very sad story. Uh, you know, like that twelve-year-old actually shoots somebody dead. For good reason, you know, for good reason. Terrible scene between, uh, you know, with his mother involved. Um, but this is the story is basically on a trial of this child. Because he, he wouldn’t, he, you know, he, it comes down to intent.
In Australia, if you, if the prosecution can prove that the boy intended to kill and knew that what he was doing was going to kill or had a fair chance of killing. Well then, you know, you can be charged with murder. And, um, so he was, in this story. He was in the book as it unfolds there. But I have had comments from the North American readers going, Wow.You know, it’s so different over here. You know, this, this kid would never have been charged with murder and blah, blah, blah.
But I write in Australia, so I follow Australian law and, um, you know, that, that definitely would have happened. And, and, uh, anyway, but that’s a book I think that not a, I don’t get a lot of feedback on, so I’m not sure whether it’s not being as widely read as it, as I wished it would because it’s, it’s a great story. And, um, uh, you know what, but that book is close to my heart.
Patricia McLinn [56:54] Tell us how people can find out more about you and your books.
Chris Taylor [56:58] Well, I’m, I’m on all the digital retailers. At iBooks and Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and, um, uh, you know, I’ve got them all up there on my website, um, which is just www.christaylorauthor.com.au
Um, and people could just click on them go to different links to buy. Uh, you can also order paperbacks off Amazon and CreateSpace. So, uh, you know, they are, they are available.
Patricia McLinn [57:25] And we will include the URLs and the show notes. So it makes it easier than when you’re trying to catch something that’s being spoken and you’re trying to remember the URL. So, folks, you’ll find them in the show notes.
One of my very favorite journalism questions is to ask if there’s something I should have asked that I haven’t, or if you’d like to answer something that wasn’t asked.
Chris Taylor [57:48] Oh, Pat, you’ve done very well. I mean, it’s been a real pleasure to be here and see your questions. Um…
Patricia McLinn [57:56] Not done yet. We’re not done yet. So now we have, this is my, my perhaps favorite part where we talk about, uh, Or we do either Ors. Okay?
Chris Taylor [58:05] Okay.
Patricia McLinn [58:06] You just gotta answer fast. You gotta right through these. Uh, cake or ice cream?
Chris Taylor [58:11] Ice cream.
Patricia McLinn [58:12] Day or night?
Chris Taylor [58:14] Night.
Patricia McLinn [58:16] Cowboy boots or hiking boots?
Chris Taylor [58:19] Cowboy boots.
Patricia McLinn [58:20] I think you’ve already answered this one. Appetizer or dessert?
Chris Taylor [58:24] Oh, definitely dessert.
Patricia McLinn [58:26] Heels or slippers?
Chris Taylor [58:58] Slippers.
Patricia McLinn [58:29] Mountains or beach?
Chris Taylor [58:31] Beach.
Patricia McLinn [58:32] Dog or cat?
Chris Taylor [58:33] Dog.
Patricia McLinn [58:34] Sounded not totally sure.
Chris Taylor [58:36] No, definitely a dog. I’m not a cat lover. I have five cats. I have five cats, but they belong to my five children, and, um, yes. Yes. They all live outside.
Patricia McLinn [58:47] Okay.
Chris Taylor [58:48] I’m not against cats. I just can’t stand the fur they leave everywhere.
Patricia McLinn [58:51] Hey, I have a Collie you want to talk fur. Okay. Um, sailboat or a motorboat?
Chris Taylor [58:57] Ah, motorboat.
Patricia McLinn [58:58] Leggings or sweats?
Chris Taylor [59:00] Sweats.
Patricia McLinn [59:01] I’m not sure this particularly applies to you, but well, we’ll go for it anyhow. Which is eerier to you, an owl hooting or coyotes howling?
Chris Taylor [59:10] An owl hooting or a coyote howling. Okay. So I’ve never heard a coyote howling because we don’t have them here in Australia. Um…
Patricia McLinn [59:18] That’s what I wondered.
Chris Taylor [59:21] But I can imagine it sounds quite eerie and lonesome. I mean, I’ve seen it on movies and things like that. Uh, so I think I’ll go coyote.
Patricia McLinn [59:29] Okay. Gardening or house decorating?
Chris Taylor [59:32] Wow. I’m not keen on either. I love a nice house and I love a beautiful garden, but I’m, I’m not, you know, I’m not naturally inclined towards either, uh, if I had to choose, I’d say garden.
Patricia McLinn [59:47] Well, then that may be a hint to what your answer will be to the next one. Best china or paper plates?
Chris Taylor [59:53] Yeah, paper plates.
Patricia McLinn [59:57] Mustard or ketchup?
Chris Taylor [59:58] We call it tomato sauce. Um, tomato sauce, definitely ketchup.
Patricia McLinn [1:00:03] Okay. So the last one, would you save the best for last or grab the best first?
Chris Taylor [1:00:08] Wow. I think I would save the best to last.
Patricia McLinn [1:00:12] Well, thank you so much, Chris, for taking the time to be with us today. Really appreciated it. And I hope that the listeners will come back next week to meet a new author. And in the meantime, have a great week of reading and we’ll see you next week on the Authors Love Readers podcast.
Chris Taylor [1:00:33] Thank you so much, Pat. It’s been fun.
Patricia McLinn [1:00:36] That’s the show for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. And thank you for joining Authors Love Readers podcast. Remember, you can always find out more about our guest authors in the show notes, and you can find out more about me at www.patriciamclinn.com. You can also send in questions to be asked of future authors at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week. Wishing you lots of happy reading. Bye.