My Writing Life – Chris Taylor
When did you discover a love of writing?
I’ve always loved to write stories, even from a small child. I would write ten and twelve pages in Year 1 and 2 when all the other kids were struggling to write one. I loved to write mysteries and there were always a lot of haunted houses in my early stories. When I discovered Harlequin novels, I realised how much I enjoyed reading romance stories. After working as a lawyer for fifteen years, it seemed natural for me to combine my love of mysteries and romance. The romantic suspense genre was made for me.
What’s your favourite book? What was your favourite book as a child?
A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss has been my favourite book since I read it when I was about thirteen. As a young child, I loved reading mysteries – Nancy Drew, Famous Five, Hardy Boys (but even then I wanted Nancy to get with the Hardy boys).
Where do you get your story ideas?
From anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes it will be something I read in the newspaper (I love reading the classifieds – orbituaries in particular – I find them fascinating). Other times it might be something I’ve seen on the News that sparks an idea. Four of my Munro Family series books are based on real life experiences, either of mine or someone close to me. I like to write about controversial issues in order to increase public awareness about them. eg. The Predator deals with online paedophiles, The Betrayal is based on police corruption, The Defendant is about gun laws for minors, The Shooting is about a school shooting.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
Write what you know and write what you love to read because others will too.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block?
Yes, of course. I’ve been lucky so far not to have experienced a complete blockage, but sometimes the story just isn’t flowing as easily as it should. I like to take a break, clear my mind, do something else and even have a nap! Sometimes I can “see” where the story should go more clearly in my subconsciousness. Usually things get back on track quickly after applying one of these strategies.
What made you decide to self-publish?
In early 2013, I turned down a contract from a traditional publisher. At the time, I’d written five of the Munro Series books and they were interested in all five. Their offer wasn’t all that attractive – 25% of net receipts and they weren’t able to tell me what “net” was valued at. As a lawyer, I wasn’t interested in signing a contract where the real value couldn’t be ascertained, so with much angst and wondering if I’d done the right thing, I turned them down. I was lucky that in the same year, I finalled in the RWA Golden Heart Award. That year, I attended the RWA conference in the US for the first time. It was a life changing conference. I met and listened to wonderful authors such as Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Liliana Hart, Courtney Milan and I heard how well they were doing as self published authors. I guess for me, the timing was right. Self publishing had become a real option and it ticked all the boxes for me. I self published the first book in the Munro Family series in February, 2014 and since then, have published a further ten books, with plenty more to come. It’s been a fabulous journey and I haven’t regretted for an instant my decision to publish this way.
Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share?
I’m a firm believer in the adage that the very best promotion you can do is to write another book. That being said, I’ve had great success with an advertising site called Bookbub, as well as the fabulous support from some of the large digital retailers, including Kobo. I spend less than 10% of every day on promotion such as Facebook/Twitter. 90% of my time is spent writing.
Writing a series is also the best way to go. Once you’ve found a reader who loves what you write, they’ll tend to buy everything in the series.
Chris was born in a small country town in north-west NSW, Australia. She is one of six girls and grew up on a mixed cropping farm surrounded by animals. An early reader, she devoured books whenever she could and even hid in farm machinery with a book she just had to finish.
After discovering Harlequin romance books in her early teens, Chris has found the perfect combination for her love of romance and her thrill of crime in the romantic suspense stories she writes.