|New York Times bestseller Taylor Stevens
Taylor’s first thriller was the runaway hit The Informationist which introduced Vanessa Michael Munroe, a mercenary information hunter. Published in more than 20 languages, the novel was optioned for film, shortlisted for the MacCavity Award, won the Barry Award, landed on the New York Times best-seller list, and launched the high-octane Vanessa Michael Munroe series.
Now Taylor has started anew with Liars’ Paradox, which stars Jack and Jill, 26-year-old feuding twin assassins who give a whole new definition to the meaning of family dysfunction. We Rogues admire the book a lot:
† “Liars’ Paradox is a kinetic masterpiece, rattling readers to the bone” —KJ Howe
† “A twisting tale of espionage and revenge ” —Jamie Freveletti
† “The adventure of a lifetime!” —Gayle Lynds (moi)
How did Taylor become a critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning, New York Times bestselling author? For her real-life tale, read on for inspiration and awe….
I fell into writing thrillers by accident. I mean, not “accident” accident—it’s not like I tripped on a keyboard and found a story waiting for me on the screen — the dogged three years of trial-and-error it took to get the first book finished most definitely happened. But the “thriller” part of it? That was an accident.
I’d had very little contact with fiction before I started writing it. Such was a byproduct of being born into an apocalyptic religious cult. I grew up in communes and, because the world was ending and therefore education beyond sixth grade was a waste of time, spent the bulk of my childhood and adolescence cooking, cleaning, caring for younger children, and out on the streets begging for money on behalf of the cult leaders. In that world, novels were the devil’s work and unquestioningly forbidden.
I was nearly thirty, married, and mother of two small babies by the time I was able to read whatever I wanted, though “want” was relative. Our small family had entered the outside world with no education, no job history, no social support, and the instantaneous need to pay a lot of bills. Those first years were hard and we were very broke. When I did buy books, I bought them at garage sales, which was what led to discovering Robert Ludlum and, in turn, to Jason Bourne.
|Taylor, the future thriller author, at about age 2
I fell so hard in love with Jason Bourne. Reading those stories felt like being swallowed whole and there was a moment in the middle of the series where I came up for air with this overwhelming wish that I could do this, that I could let others feel how I felt while immersed in this fantasy, and my brain went … wait a minute. I’d lived further off the map than any place Ludlum wrote about, and imagination had been my best survival mechanism growing up. I was home with the kids all day, had no career path or any directed sense of future focus, and so pretty much just like that, I was going to write a book.
I’d barely passed fifth grade English. My spelling sucked, my punctuation was atrocious (and still is). I had no idea what I was doing—had no plot, no characters, no clue—but our entry into the real world had been a lot like aliens crashing on a foreign planet. We’d already had to figure out how everything else worked and I didn’t see how writing a book was any different. I hadn’t read enough fiction to even know that genre was a thing but I knew the stories I loved most were “exciting,” and Jason Bourne was the pinnacle of exciting, so that’s what I set out to emulate.
And so you see, thrillers were an accident.
I shudder to think what might not have been if I’d fallen for, say, Jay Gatsby instead.
Gayle Lynds: And we’re very glad you did fall for thrillers, Taylor. We encourage all of our readers to buy or check out from the library your new one, Liars’ Paradox! What a story!
Dear Rogue Readers: Do you have any twins in your life? Are they like Taylor’s Jack and Jill — clever, resourceful, and … well … trainable?