TBR – The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is a book I previously purchased and I am excited to read it.

The Chalk Man is a thriller that follows ‘Eddie’ as he relives his childhood after receiving a drawing of a chalk stick man. It takes him back 30 years to when a game he was playing went horribly wrong.

This book was originally published in January 2018 and had received many positive reviews. It has plenty of twists and turns and the use of flashbacks to help explain the events of previous years. It has a complex and intriguing storyline however although it has good reviews there is also some bad reviews. It’s rare to not receive any and they mainly said that some parts are a little unrealistic.

Saying this however I am excited to see what my opinion of this book will be and get to create my own views of the story.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or plan to)

‘Those Who Lie’ and Author Q&A

those who lie

‘Those Who Lie’ is the first published novel by Diane Jeffrey and is a psychological thriller. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and is very engaging. It focuses on a character, Emily, life and how her past experiences and choices effect her present. She kills her husband whilst in a car accident but cannot remember doing do. Due to the fact it is a story which does feature an amnesia sub-plot it allows you to read the book without fully knowing what went on and discovering what happened alongside the character. It is a novel that is well written and is a great read! Especially for those who enjoy the crime/mystery/thriller genre. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a new book to get involved in.

The author of this book, Diane Jeffrey was very kind and answered some of my questions without hesitation so I would just like to thank her for her involvement and time.

Diane Jeffrey is an author from Devon who currently lives in France and is an English Teacher. ‘Those Who Lie’ is her first published novel and she is due to release a further novel in summer.

diane-jeffrey

Author Q&A

1 What made you become an author?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be an author. It has been my dream ever since I could write, really. I’ve always written, mainly short stories, one of which was recently longlisted for a competition and one of which was broadcast a couple of years ago on Irish radio. The first novel I wrote was unanimously rejected by all the agents I sent it too, quite rightly, too, as it wasn’t brilliant! That was about 14 years ago! But HQ Digital (HarperCollins) published my second novel in January 2017. It was quite a moment! (And quite a long journey!)

2 Were you inspired by any other authors/books?

I was inspired by other books in the genre of the psychological thriller, particularly Elizabeth Haynes’s Into The Darkest Corner, which for me really stands out in this genre, but more recently by Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, both of which I consider to be well worth the hype!

3 What made you decide to write in the crime/mystery/thriller genre?

I have quite eclectic tastes in reading, but I do like a good thriller! So I thought I’d try my hand at that. My first book (the unpublished one) was actually a Chick-Lit novel!

4 Regarding your book, ‘Those Who Lie’, why did you decide to write the story at different points in Emily’s life?

Hmm. That’s an interesting question. I wanted to show what had made Emily into who she was today. She has a past, which has shaped her as a person and affected her psychologically, and I wanted to use that to make her character as fleshed out as possible. She’s not necessarily likeable, so I felt that my readers needed to understand her if they were going to root for her. In addition, there are a lot of strange things happening to Emily in the present that are clearly connected to her past and so I decided on the dual timeline.

5 What made you decide to feature an amnesia storyline?

I love unreliable narrators and having the main character a little amnesic meant that I didn’t have to give the game away too early! It’s also very common for someone with the trauma that Emily suffered to block out painful memories.

6 Is there a specific reason you decided to make the majority of the main characters female?

Are they? I think my favourite character is Emily’s brother Matt. I suppose I killed off two of the important male characters in the first two chapters, which tipped the balance in the favour of the female characters!!!

I do like to have strong heroines as my main characters. This is also the case in my second novel, which is due to be published in July, in which a woman is prepared to put up with a lot more than she should for the sake of her child, but ultimately sets a trap for herself which she needs all her inner strength to get out of.

I’m currently writing my third novel and the main character in that is a male journalist. It’s proving to be quite a challenge getting inside an imaginary man’s head! I’m trying to make him a little arrogant and more flippant than I would be but I do want him to be loveable, so it’s hard getting the balance right!

7 Did you do any research or follow a specific process whilst writing this book?

Lots and lots of research. I learnt loads. I found every topic I researched so interesting that I then wanted to include everything in my book, but I ended up with whole chapters that read like an encyclopaedia or a page from Wikipedia, so I had to cut, cut, cut!!! I researched PTSD, bi-polar disorder, Han van Meegeren’s fake Vermeers, child abuse, the parvovirus in puppies, Lewis Carroll, blood spatter and ballistics… I was lucky to have a few very useful contacts who answered some very strange questions to help me along the way!

8 What is your favourite book and/or author?

My favourite book when I was younger (after I reluctantly came out of my Enid Blyton stage) was Wuthering Heights. In THOSE WHO LIE, Emily’s grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, buys her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland every year for her birthday. This is based on my own grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, and who gave me Wuthering Heights as a gift many, many times. I reread it every time.

In recent years, I’ve fallen in love with The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. These books just stay with me and I still miss the main characters although I finished the books a few years ago now!

9 Are you planning any other books to be released in the future?

My second psychological thriller is due to be published in July this year and I’m currently working on my third novel.

10 Do you have any advice for aspiring authors or avid readers?

Never give up. Keep writing. Keep reading. Get in touch with as many authors as you can on social media, especially from your genre.

I’m a mother of three and I work full-time as an English teacher and live in France, so I couldn’t do any of the wonderful courses available to people who want to learn more about writing. But I read a lot of how-to articles, particularly by Joanna Penn and Writers’ Digest (Brian Klem) and the tips they give are invaluable. The agent Johnny Geller also gives some very good advice for aspiring readers

Many Thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on this book or any recommendations you have)