The Difference a Year Makes: Catch up with bestselling author Caz Finlay one year on from the launch of her debut novel
One year on from the launch of her debut novel, The Boss – which counts itself in the top 100 in the Amazon bestseller rankings – Liverpool author Caz Finlay is set to return with the second installment of the ‘Bad Blood’ trilogy.
It’s been a busy year for Caz who is also one of the organisers behind Liverpool’s first ever crime writing festival, ‘Perfect Crime’, which will be happening online in November.
We caught up with Caz to find out how things are going and how support from her business advisor at The Women’s Organisation has helped shape her business journey…
|Liverpool author Caz Finlay|
So, how has it been since you launched book 1 a year ago?
Where do I start? It’s been a whirlwind year of firsts and doing things I never thought possible. I’ll try and keep it brief by sticking to the highlights.
My first, and very own book signing at Liverpool Waterstones on the day The Boss was released in paperback. This was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences of my life. I remember sitting there being interviewed and looking out at the audience, thinking about all of the times I’d been in the audience myself at a book signing, and how I’d dreamed of one day sitting up there on the stage talking about my own book – and there I was doing it. It was absolutely incredible, and afterwards I was buzzing for days. I felt like a rock star! I had more book signings throughout the year and all of them were wonderful in their own way, but it was that first one in Waterstones which made me feel like I had finally made it as an author.
Attending the Harper Collins summer party at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Another time I felt like a rock star. There were so many famous authors in one place, I spent most of the night walking around with my mouth hanging open. There were cocktails and canapes aplenty, and they even left the Dior exhibit open for us throughout the evening. I sat there at the end of the night and wondered how this working-class girl from Bootle had found herself sipping bubbly with all of these famous authors in the beautiful grounds of the V&A museum.
Being asked to do an event for Smithdown Literary Festival. I could hardly believe it when I was asked to do an event for a festival that was being headlined by none other than Ann Cleeves! I loved chatting with the audience and it was a great event. I was interviewed by the festival founder, Ian Skillicorn, and a chance conversation with him at the end of the night led to another massive highlight for me. More on that later.
Attending my first crime fiction festival, Capital Crime in London. It was a 3 day festival and I attended with a good friend of mine. We had an absolute blast. I loved every minute of it, and again I sat in the audience looking up at the panel members and wishing that one day that might be me. When I got back, I had a meeting with Jo from the Women’s Org, and I remember talking about Capital Crime and how much it had inspired me. I remember us talking about my plans for the future and I set one of my goals to be on a panel myself one day – a girl can dream right.
The impact of attending Capital Crime didn’t end there though. Remember that conversation with Ian at the Smithdown festival? I told him all about my CC experience when I got back, and together with another Liverpool author, Margaret Murphy, we went for a coffee one evening and Perfect Crime was born.
Visiting my new editor at Harper Collins HQ and the rest of the team, or my ‘squad’ as they are now know. It was great visiting the iconic News Building in London and being able to talk about exciting plans for the future. I even met Chris Tarrant on my out and he was so nice! He posed for a selfie with me and even agreed to come back and retake it when I messed up the first attempt.
Finally, a few weeks ago, The Boss hit the top 100 in the Amazon bestseller rankings – a feat to be truly proud of. It peaked at 66 and got 2 bestseller flags in Vigilante Justice, and Organised Crime. 66 out of over 6 million of books isn’t bad going, is it?
Tell us about book 2 and 3 and future plans for the series.
Book 2 and 3 in the Bad Blood series are due out this year. Back in the Game, is out on 5th June and Head of the Firm on 6th August. Both of them follow on from The Boss and follow Grace and her family as they continue to wage war on the streets of Liverpool. I’m currently writing book 4 in the series and there are some very interesting characters coming through, so who knows what will happen next?
Tell us about the crime festival and wider experiences.
Perfect Crime is Liverpool’s first crime fiction festival and was due to take place in The Radisson Blu in Liverpool on November 14th 2020, featuring some of biggest and best crime fiction authors including Ann Cleeves, Sophie Hannah, Elly Griffiths, Mandasue Heller and many more. Unfortunately, due to the current covid pandemic, we’ve had to postpone the festival to 2021, but we’ll still be hosting a digital festival this November. You can find out more details by visiting our website perfectcrime.uk or following us on Facebook: Perfect Crime UK or Twitter @PerfectCrimeUK.
In my day job as a Senior Probation Officer, I do a lot of informal coaching, it’s a natural part of my job and the supervision of Probation Officers. Recently, I have had the pleasure of doing some coaching/ mentoring with a new writer who is just starting out on her journey to publication. It’s something I’m really enjoying and something I’d like to pursue more of in the future.
What are the future plans?
Future plans are to keep on writing as much as I can. I have so many ideas for so many books. Eventually, I’d like to write in another genre too. I’d also like to explore the coaching and mentoring side of creative writing. It’s a subject I’m so passionate about, and while I’m no expert, I have quite a unique experience and enjoy sharing that with others.
I have a few long-term dreams. Firstly, I’d love Perfect Crime to be a huge success and become a well-established event in the crime festival calendar. Secondly, although I love my career in Probation, one day I’d like to make writing my full-time career. And finally, but probably most up there in terms of the dream, I’d like some production company to get their hands on the Bad Blood books and turn them into a film or into a television series – featuring Tom Hardy and Stephen Graham if at all possible!
How has Support from The Women’s Organisation helped shape your journey?
I’ve been working with Jo from The Women’s Organisation for about a year now and she has been such a massive support to me. Whenever I doubt myself and my credentials, she always has a way making me look at the world in a different way. She brings such a great and valued perspective to my journey and I’m so thankful for her input. Whenever I talk to her I always come away feeling really empowered and inspired. Recently, I was exploring another avenue related to writing and Jo put me in touch with Victoria who helped me put a great CV together. I hadn’t done one of those since I was about eighteen. But I read this one and thought ‘wow, I’d employ me!’
What advice would you give to budding creatives?
Most importantly, just do it. Whether that be writing, art, music or whatever your creative outlet is. The first step is the hardest, but once you’ve taken that, you’re on your way.
And don’t take things personally. I was rejected so many times by so many agents when I was trying to get The Boss published, that I was even considering shelving it. But I persevered, and now my debut novel is an Amazon bestseller.