Blog tour: The Cry of the Lake

Welcome to the blog tour for The Cry of the Lake, Charlie Tyler’s debut novel. And what a debut novel! Described as evocative and riveting, it will stay with you long after turning that last page.

But now, let’s hear it from the author herself...

Hi Charlie! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Cry of the Lake! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: The Cry of the Lake centres around the relationship between deeply troubled sisters, Grace and Lily, and Grace’s step-daughter, Flo. The sisters have immersed themselves within an idyllic, chocolate-box environment – playing along at happy families whilst harbouring a terrible secret. But when Flo’s father is accused of murdering a schoolgirl, their past starts catching up with them and events begin to spiral out of control. Lily has it within her power to prevent any more deaths, but to do so she has to go back into her past to dredge up a memory that she would rather stay hidden in the depths of the lake.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I didn’t have the plot entirely figured out when I started writing. I had the outline and knew where I wanted to end up but, as the characters evolved, they did dictate that certain events had to happen a different way than I had originally intended. 

Was The Cry of the Lake your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: My working title was ‘The Forget-me-not Crown’ because these flowers are an important trigger for one of the characters in the book, but my publishers, Darkstroke, felt it didn’t shout out psychological thriller and made it sound more like a romance.  When I had to come up with a different name, I chose ‘The Cry of the Lake’ because the crucial turning point in the novel revolves around Lily giving a voice to what happened down by the water. 

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Lily and Flo?

A: What a lovely question! I could imagine Megan Stott as Flo and Chloe Grace Moretz as Lily. 

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: I loved writing about ‘Monarchy Day’ because I could picture Grace trying to get her picnic just perfect when, in fact, the field in which the village congregates doesn’t fit at all with what she has in mind. The setting of the book is based on my own hometown and the surrounding villages. The well that is featured in Monarchy Day is based on the well of King Charles I which, according to legend, was where he stopped at to water his horse after defeat at the Battle of Naseby (1645). I stumbled across it a couple of years ago – it’s nothing more than a fenced off rectangle of slime! Grace would have hated it.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: It was more a case of adding extra bits into the final version rather than taking any away. Initially I didn’t describe the murder of the school girl, but an early reader said that they felt cheated by not seeing how it happened, so I included it.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I am currently writing another murder mystery; this time it is set in a girls’ convent school. Two bodies are discovered hidden in the crypt of an Abbey, but the police cannot make any headway into how or why they got there. They have to send in an undercover policewoman to try and engage with the girls and figure out what secrets they are hiding.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: At the moment I am reading ‘The Five’ by Hallie Rubenhold.  The author recounts the lives of the women who died at the hands of Jack the Ripper and tells their history – not as victims, but as individuals with their own defining stories to share. It’s powerful stuff.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: Social media has become a huge part of an author’s daily routine. I was very overwhelmed by it at first, but now I try to limit myself as to how often I visit the sites. I love to write first thing in the morning and when I do, I switch the internet off.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: My one piece of advice to aspiring writers is to get the first draft down as quickly as you can. By the end of the novel those early chapters and how the characters speak will have changed considerably; too much editing as you go along might not be such a great use of time. The editing is where the magic happens, but you need those bare bones out there first before you can flesh things out. 

Thank you for your time!

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