Gayle Lynds: Welcome, Rogue Readers, to the thrilling and astounding world of Taylor Stevens, whose latest novel, Liars’ Paradox, launches a brand-new series. It hit store shelves just this week.
|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?
Incredible post, Taylor. I've long been fascinated with cults, but I cannot imagine what it must have been like growing up in one. Congratuations on your bestselling novel and finding your way to stardom! Thanks for posting with us.
Great post, Taylor. Thanks for letting us peek into your past and see what made you tick! I do have twins (identical girls), and sometimes they fight like they're going to assassinate each other. But luckily our family's disFUNction is not so overwhelming that we forget to have fun. Can't wait to read the new series!
Hilariously, my own kids provided far more inspiratuonal fodder for these characters than my own childhood did. But mine aren't twins.
Thank you for the opportunity!
My father was s twin—fraternal—and while they were extremely intelligent and resourceful , I’m pretty sure they weren’t assassins.
Yippee! Love the idea of twin assassins. Excited to read this. How great that falling for Jason Bourne shaped your writing. I also fell in love with a spy at a young age – not mentioning names because I don't want to date myself.
I've been a Taylor Stevens fan for years. One of my "thrills" was meeting Taylor at Thrillerfest. Can't wait for the new one!