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Salisbury Literary Festival – 20/10/2018 – CJ Tudor & Stuart Turton

I booked my tickets and headed off to Salisbury – a popular city – with its own cathedral, renown for its iconic clock- the oldest clock in the world, built in 1386 and the tallest spire 123 metres tall, but less of that, as I didn’t go to see the cathedral (but neither did the Russian spies). Google gave me that information too. 

I went to the Salisbury Literary Festival, 17th-22nd October, held in various venues throughout the town, due to the number of events they had going on during the weekend. An amazing array of authors, of all genres collected over the week to come together to celebrate the humble book. 

Just some of the Authors attending: 

Val McDermid, Matt Haig, Kate Summercale, Asia Mackay, Gill Sims, Libby Page, Claire Fuller, Jane Corry, Sarah Hillary…… I could go on, and there are many more to choose from.  

Having read both The Chalk man and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I wanted to hear CJ (Caroline or Caz) to her friends, and Stuart talk about their books, the motivation behind the stories and how on earth Stuart (Stu) pieced together such an intricate storyline in Seven deaths. 

I have previously written a review of The Chalk Man, please see this for my thoughts. 

As with most author talks – the authors give a short reading from their books, go through some questions with the Host – in this case Tarn Richardson – himself a published Author of The Darkest Hand Trilogy.  Both himself and CJ Tudor hail from Salisbury – though CJ moved to Nottingham as a child.  Q&A from the audience and then the all important book signing. 

Deep in conversation 

We were assured that CJ & Stu had been paired up before, so they have a  good relationship and actually bounce the questions and answers off each other, with added humor is thrown in. They have a great rapport and are clearly used to working alongside each other, even to the point that Caroline handed out Haribo to the audience, whilst she waited for Stu to find the page he wanted to read from – clearly all ad-hoc and not experienced this situation at all before. 

Stuart reads from “Seven Deaths”

As well as reading they answer questions about the characters and the ideas behind the story.  Caroline came up with the idea for The Chalk Man after her daughter was given a pot of chalks for her 2nd Birthday and they had drawn on the path, they caught Caroline’s eye looking creepy that night on the driveway when she went out later in the dark – Ding! The Chalk Man was born.

Stu explained he had to keep an Excel spreadsheet with his characters’ movements for the whole week, for the intricately detailed story of Seven Deaths, whilst they are at Blackheath House.  So that he knew where they were and where they should be each day, at 2-minute intervals – hence it took 4 years from agent to publication, with editors in between wanting him to remove the more Sci-Fi parts he’d written.    Anyone whos read Seven Deaths will be able to tell which host is his favorite, and mine.  By the detail he goes into – no spoilers here!   “No boring bits, at all, even page is a gem” Says Stuart Turton. 

So, what next from the dynamic duo ?

Well – Caroline Jane Tudor – Caz – CJ – not for any reason other than her full name was quite long and CJ Tudor sounded and looked good on the cover – not trying to hide her identity or to draw a male/female demographic by just using her initials. I digress….. CJ has a new book The Taking of Annie Thorne out in February 2019 – “with a dark and creepy undercurrent” based around a mining village when Mother kills her son, then herself but leaves a note saying that he wasn’t her son – the village is left in turmoil. 

NEW BOOK!!! The Taking of Annie Thorne

Stuart is writing and editing now …… and his book is due out in Spring 2020.   There are times when I wish I had a time-machine – and this is one of them.

See, theres the Haribo…. 

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