Just two years after writer Tara Lyons took her first stab at crime fiction, the Brunel University London alumna has won a publishing deal, attracted rave reviews, and is now set to release her fourth novel.
In 2016 the English Literature graduate (2008), penned her debut solo novel – In the Shadows – together with The Caller and Web of Deceit, written in partnership with New York Times bestselling author M.A. Comley.
Tara was snapped up by indie publishers Bloodhound Books in August, with a deal to continue a series started by In the Shadows, based around a Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton.
Released on 31st January 2017, No Safe Home sees DI Hamilton haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting women in London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed.
A passionate writer during her school years, at 18 Tara felt she was expected to choose her university degree based on her job aspirations, but was uncertain about what she wanted from a career. “Instead, I chose to study something I loved and wouldn’t hate in six months’ time,” she explains.
Tara says she “instantly loved” Brunel. “Not only did I like the look and layout of it, with campuses, classes, student union and shops all within easy access, but there was also a buzz about it. The people were friendly and helpful and really excited.
“I wanted to study English Literature and thought the library was fab. I know it's all had a make-over since I was there, so I can only imagine it's even better! Plus, Brunel really had a strong social side too, which is so important.
“The first week was an eye-opener for me. I didn’t think I was going to feel homesick, but I was. Thankfully, what I’d seen on my visits was true – everyone was so welcoming and friendly. You were assigned a buddy, usually from the year above, and they are worth their weight in gold. I met some fantastic people that week who encouraged me to get over my fears and nerves.
“One of my favourite memories was writing a feature for the university magazine, Route 66 (I still have a copy of it!). It was such a buzz. I was a Fresher and my name was in a magazine. I think that was the turning point for me, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I finished my degree, but then I knew for sure I wanted to write.
“I studied English because I loved reading. At only 18, it's sometimes hard to know what you want to do for the rest of your life, so I decided to continue studying a subject I knew I'd enjoy for three years. I didn't appreciate how much that degree would open my eyes. My reading options were endless and the support was phenomenal.
“For my dissertation, I wanted to write about fairy tales and literature, because it seemed like a cool thing at the time. But I explained to my personal tutor that I actually wanted to go down the journalism route, and he told me to focus on that. I'm so glad I took his advice. Not only was I concentrating on something I was truly interested in, but it meant I read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. I was hooked and my love of crime books blossomed from there. It's no wonder that’s now my chosen genre.”
With the help of her tutor, Tara also secured a work placement on a retail company’s in-house magazine. She went on to work for the publication for eight years after graduation as a writer then editor, before turning to creative writing when she was gifted a laptop and kindle for her 30th birthday.
In the Shadows was well received by readers and critics, with dozens of Amazon reviewers awarding the book five stars, describing it as “a fantastic debut” and “one hell of a heart racing read”.
Visit Bloodhound Books for more information and an exclusive preview, and follow Tara on Twitter @taralyonsauthor
Find out more about English at Brunel University London