5 minutes with Australian author, Chris Taylor
USA Today Bestselling author, Chris Taylor was born in a small country town in north-west NSW, Australia. An early reader, she devoured books whenever she could, and would even hide in farm machinery with a novel she just had to finish.
We spoke with Chris about her greatest achievements, her advice to young authors and her latest novel, 'The Perfect Crime', which is available now.
SDT: Chris, you’ve had such a successful career as a writer, can you tell us a bit about your childhood, growing up, and where your love of writing came from?
CHRIS: I’ve always loved writing, even as a child. I used to read Nancy Drew, the Secret Seven, the Famous Five, Trixie Beldon, the Hardy Boys (you get the drift!) so my early stories in primary school were always mysteries and thrillers, even though I’d never heard of those genres back then.
When I was in my teens, I discovered Harlequin romances (or Mills & Boon romance books as they were known back then). Well, a whole new world opened up for me! I LOVED reading romance (and still do!) and I also loved reading mysteries and suspense.
Bringing the two genres together in the form of romantic suspense is the perfect marriage!
SDT: Your novels are described as ‘romantic suspense stories’. What drew you to this genre?
CHRIS: As I mentioned earlier, I love reading both romance and suspense stories. I was also a lawyer for fifteen years and I did my fair share of criminal law during that time. I draw on my knowledge and experience as a criminal lawyer in my books and of course, I always weave a romance in there, too! There’s nothing like a satisfying love story to make us sigh with contentment, right?
SDT: You’ve written over 30 novels and have won awards as an author, what have been some of your career highlights?
CHRIS: Being a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart competition for unpublished authors was an amazing highlight. This is a very prestigious competition and I was thrilled to be a finalist. It was 2013 and I visited the US for the first time to attend this awards night. It was surreal!
There were 5000 (mostly) female authors in an amazing venue with all the trimmings. Another highlight was winning the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald competition. This was also in 2013. Later that same year, I received my first offer from Penguin Australia. They wanted to publish my books! A more recent highlight is making the USA Today bestselling author list. That was amazing!!
SDT: What would be your advice to women wanting to carve out a career as an author?
CHRIS: Like any profession, if you want to do well, you need to be prepared to work hard. Learn your craft, go to conferences, find like-minded people to discuss your work, critique your work, give honest feedback. Join writer organisations such as the Romance Writers of Australia and get support from your tribe.
Enter competitions and get feedback from published authors in your genre. This is invaluable and really helped me to refine my craft and get to the point where I got offered a publishing contract. Most of all, don’t let anyone stomp on your dream. If you want to be an author, believe in yourself, give yourself
permission to do whatever it takes to get there and go forth and write!
SDT: What’s next for Chris Taylor the author?! What can we look out for?
CHRIS: The latest book in my Sydney Legal series will be released on 30 October, 2018. It’s called The Perfect Crime and is a good mix of romance and suspense. I’m also working on a Young Adult five-book series that deals with the issue of bullying and teen suicide.
This is totally outside my usual genre, but it’s an issue I feel very strongly about and I get so sad every time I hear about the suicide death of a teenager as a result of bullying.
I think there needs to be more focus on this issue and more Government resources provided to try and put an end to these tragedies.