Oh, I love a good twisty psychological thriller so I’m delighted to welcome June Taylor to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me a little about her debut thriller Losing Juliet.
Losing Juliet will be published on 25th November 2016 as part of Harper Collins’ Killer Reads and is available for e-book pre-order on Amazon and by following the publisher links here. It will be released in paperback on 12th January 2016.
You can’t escape the past…
Juliet and Chrissy were best friends until one fateful summer forced them apart. Now, nearly twenty years later, Juliet wants to be back in Chrissy’s life.
But Chrissy doesn’t want Juliet anywhere near her, or her teenage daughter Eloise. After all, Juliet is the only person who knows what happened that night – and her return threatens to destroy the life that Chrissy has so carefully built.
Because when the past is reawakened, it can prove difficult to bury. And soon all three of them will realize how dangerous it can get once the truth is out there…
An Interview with June Taylor
Hello June. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.
Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I’m a writer from Leeds, and a very proud Yorkshire lass! I’ve done many jobs from selling cream cakes to teaching English as a foreign language, and I love to travel, see new places, experience new things. I’ve written short plays and had a full-length play produced. In 2011, I was runner-up in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition with a YA novel. But I finally found my niche writing adult psychological thrillers. I’m on the Board of Script Yorkshire and help out with Leeds Big Bookend.
When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?
Well I’ve been writing ever since I realised that, in my imagination, I could do anything, be anyone, and go absolutely anywhere. I was a quiet kid at school, growing up in the “should-be-seen-but-not-heard” era, so the written word became my means of expression. I had a brilliant English teacher at my middle school, Mr Coulthard. I have a lot to thank him for. He got me over that, I suppose initial embarrassment of writing and sharing it with others. You can feel very vulnerable.
(I’m rather fond of English teachers myself June!)
If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead as a creative outlet?
I used to be a TV promos writer/producer in a previous life. It was a brilliantly creative job that kept me going as a freelancer for many years. I was so lucky in that respect. I suppose if I hadn’t become an author I’d still be doing that, or something very similar with words and images. But I’m not very good at art or making things with my hands, so it would never be anything along on those lines.
How do you carry out the research for your novels?
So far I have written contemporary fiction, or at least set within the last few decades. The locations I’ve used I go and recce, or are places I’ve been to before. For any factual stuff I use Google – but carefully! You have to remember that Google is not god. Also, I ask people if they can provide some backdrop to a location or a particular time period. There’s usually someone who can help.
I greatly admire those who write historical fiction because I don’t think I have the stamina to carry out that type of research, nor the imaginative prowess to bring it to life. Including Sci-fi, actually, where you’re inventing a whole new world and set of rules.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Good question! Well I come from a scriptwriting background, so transferring that discipline across to novels has been interesting for me, and a steep learning curve. When you write a script you do minimal stage directions and scene setting. Someone else has to worry about that. So it’s these bits I find hardest to write. Plotting and dialogue tend to flow more easily. I then go back and embellish the descriptive parts. There certainly won’t be much of that in the first draft.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I’m jealous of people who say they get up at the crack of dawn and start writing, because I am just so not a morning person. I use the mornings for admin, chores, any other work I have to do. Afternoons and evenings are for writing. I work in a very small and incredibly untidy office. I like the fact it’s compact because I feel hidden away. The untidiness I seem to need for some reason because if I have a neat desk, orderly notice boards, I fail to concentrate. I suppose it feels a bit too sterile. So I’ve learned to work with this; it’s just who I am!
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I like to read what I love to write actually – psychological thrillers. Generally ones not too ‘in the genre’, but more the twisty, “gets under your skin” type. Like Rebecca, Room, Notes on a Scandal, The Lovely Bones, The Sick Rose. I prefer the criminal mind, so I love Patricia Highsmith novels. But that’s not to rule out crime fiction, or any other sort of fiction for that matter if it’s good. I think you’ve got to take a punt sometimes and read outside your comfort zone, pick up recommendations from those you trust. I’m a terribly slow reader though.
If one of your books became a film, which would you choose and why?
This is my first book to be published, so this one! It’s pretty filmic and set in some great locations. Because of my scriptwriting training I always write very visually, in scenes rather than in chapters. My style of writing is therefore quite filmic, I would say.
How important do you think social media is to authors in today’s society?
Very. It’s a wonderful thing for putting word out there about your work. But there are things I really don’t like about it. It’s very time-consuming and there’s such a lot of hype goes on. We’ve always had that of course, but these days it’s so much more exaggerated.
However, social media is a lovely way of connecting with other writers, bloggers, reviewers, readers. There’s a huge community of people out there who just love books. This is an amazing thing, and certainly makes up for the negatives.
Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
No, but I would like to say thanks for having me on here, Linda. And thanks for reading this, if you have actually made it to the end!
My pleasure to have you June. Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
About June Taylor
June is a British writer from Leeds and proud of her Yorkshire heritage. Writing mainly psychological thrillers and YA fiction, as well as plays, in 2011 she was a runner up in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition with Lovely Me, Lovely You.
June has worked in many arenas from being a TV promos producer to EFL and French club teacher, as well as a volunteer with Childline and the Refugee Council.