It seems an age since the last First Monday – the December spectacular! I don’t know about anyone else but January is proving to be a hard month to get through. Not having that monthly fix of crime writers has been tricky. But all is not lost! First Monday has got a brilliant line-up for Monday 5th February. And lots of people must agree with me because it was fully booked. However, the lovely people at City have found a bigger room so if you haven’t booked yet, do it now by clicking here.
So, who are these wonderful authors? Well, Chris Carter, Tammy Cohen, Craig Roberston and C.J. Tudor will be interrogated, sorry, interviewed, by Joe Haddow. And to give you a little taste of what to expect, the lovely C.J. Tudor has kindly agreed to answers some questions for me. The Chalk Man is her debut novel and was published earlier this month to great acclaim.
Hi C.J. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your road to publication?
Well, it’s been a long one!! I’ve been writing for over ten years with plenty of rejection, failure and ‘close but no cigars’ along the way.
I was actually working as a dog walker when I wrote The Chalk Man as well as looking after my little girl. Time and money were short and I’d pretty much decided that this would be my last shot. Fortunately, it was a good shot!
I’ve seen a video clip on YouTube about the inspiration for The Chalk Man. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes. A friend gave my little girl a tub of coloured chalks for her second birthday. We spent the afternoon drawing stick figures all over the driveway. Then we went inside and forgot about them.
Later that night, I opened the back door and was confronted by these weird chalk drawings everywhere. In the darkness, they looked incredibly sinister. I called out to my partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark. . .’
That was it. I started writing the book the next day!
Now, I’ve not had the chance to read the book yet but I’ve seen plenty of reviews – all of them fantastic. How does that feel, considering this is your debut? Do you now feel the pressure for book 2?
Every writer is full of self-doubt so to receive such positive reviews is amazing! Fortunately, Book 2 is finished – I had a fair chunk of it written before all The Chalk Man madness kicked off. That was a good thing as I didn’t have to stare at a blank page and think, ‘What now?’
I’m pretty good at putting pressure and expectation to one side when I write. In front of the laptop, it’s just me and the story.
For the audible version of the book, you have Andrew Scott (Moriarty from Sherlock) and Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) as the narrators. How did that happen? Are you still pinching yourself?
Yes. I’m a walking bruise – it’s mad! The book was sent to Andrew Scott’s agent who passed it on and he read it on holiday. Amazingly, he loved it and agreed to do the narration. Both he and Asa – who plays young Eddie – are mind-blowingly brilliant and Andrew (as I call him now!!) is especially chilling.
Last question – on the scale of 1-10, how excited are you to be at First Monday in February?
This one definitely goes up to 11.
Thank you C.J. for answering my questions and to First Monday for organising the interview.
And to entice you all further, here’s the blurb for The Chalk Man.
We all have fears we hide from. But in the end they will find us . . .
None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.
Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?
Was it the terrible accident?
Or when they found the first body?
Sounds really intriguing. You can buy the book here or if you’re coming along to First Monday, you can buy it on the night, courtesy of Big Green Bookshop and then get it signed. That’s what I’m doing!
About the author
C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, waitress, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and now author. The Chalk Man is her first novel.