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The historical crime writer.
What, in relation to your writing, are you most proud of?
Keeping going as a writer.
At what point in your life did you start to describe yourself as an author?
1982, with the publication of my first novel, Caroline Minuscule.
What did you buy with your first royalty cheque?
A stereo, which lasted about twenty years. I wanted to mark the occasion by using the money for a specific and enduring purpose, rather than fritter it away.
What is the first crime story you remember reading?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- 1982: Publication of Caroline Minuscule, which won the CWA’s John Creasey Award (now the John Creasey New Blood Dagger) and was shortlisted for an Edgar by the MWA.
- 1985: Publication of Our Fathers’ Lies, shortlisted for the Gold Dagger.
- 1989: Snapshot shortlisted for the NatWest Children’s Book of the Year Award
- 1999 Awarded the Red Herring for services to the CWA, including founding what’s now the Debut Dagger Award
- 2001 The Office of the Dead wins the Historical Dagger
- 2003 The American Boy wins the Historical Dagger
- 2004 Shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library
- 2004 The American Boy shortlisted for the Barry Award
- 2005 The American Boy selected for the Richard and Judy Bookclub
- 2005 The American Boy (as An Unpardonable Crime, the US title) wins the Audie in the Literary Fiction Category for the audio version
- 2005 The American Boy shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
- 2006 Call The Dying longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
- 2007 The Roth Trilogy, dramatised as Fallen Angel and starring Charles Dance and Emilia Fox, is shown on ITV
- 2008 Bleeding Heart Square shortlisted for the Historical Dagger
- 2009 Bleeding Heart Square shortlisted for the Barry Award
- 2009 Awarded the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger
- 2009 Bleeding Heart Square wins Sweden’s Martin Beck Award
- 2010 The American Boy selected by The Times as one of the Top Ten Crime Novels of the Decade
- 2010 The Anatomy of Ghosts shortlisted for the Historical Dagger
- 2011 The Anatomy of Ghosts shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
- 2013 The Scent of Death wins the Historical Dagger
- 2013 The Scent of Death selected for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club
- 2015 The Silent Boy shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger
- 2017 The Ashes of London is The Times/Waterstones Number One Bestseller for eight weeks
- 2017 Andrew Taylor shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library
- 2019 The Fire Court is longlisted for the Gold Dagger
- 2019 The American Boy chosen by the late Marcel Berlins in The Times as one of the top fifty crime novels of the last fifty years
I’ve published nearly fifty books, and I’ve supported myself by writing since 1981. I’ve also reviewed widely – especially in the Independent, The Times and the Spectator (whose crime fiction reviewer I was for ten years).
For further detail, please see my website, andrew-taylor.co.uk and Wikipedia.
I’ve been very fortunate – first in knowing I wanted to be a writer from a very early age, and second in being able to make a living from it for most of my adult life. On the whole, it’s not as easy for writers to make a living now, I think, with the creeping globalisation of publishing, the erosion of copyright, and the widening gap between the few winners and the many (often excellent) also rans.
Writing as a career has always been a lottery, with precarious rewards. For me it’s something between an obsession and a financial necessity. And when it’s going well, it’s pure joy.
I was also lucky in tumbling into crime fiction at the time I did, when its horizons were steadily widening. It’s wonderful genre to work in because people want to read it. It has no pretensions, and everyone is welcome. You can write almost any sort of story you want now: as long as it includes a crime and remembers to entertain (in the broadest sense) the reader, it can be called crime fiction.
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