Mistress of The Macabre

Radio copywriter to best-selling sensation

Some years ago, I employed a young lady in her early twenties – Caz (C.J.) Tudor, as a commercial writer at a radio station in Yorkshire. She stayed with us for a few productive and eventful years, before heading off to an exciting new gig - as a TV presenter. Co-hosting Channel 4’s Moviewatch with Johnny Vaughan.

Although I’d originally hired her for an indisputable flair in making double glazing sound remotely interesting and exciting to the Sheffield populous, what I could never have imagined at the time, was that her true writing talent would only become evident decades later, with the publication of her first full-length novel. A taut, grisly and thoroughly unsettling tale called “The Chalk Man”.

To be honest, when I learned of its imminent publication recently, I was just impressed enough with the fact that she’d written it in the first place. To then quickly learn that the book had been the subject of a fierce bidding war between major publishers took things to another level. The fact that it entered the Top Ten hardback best-sellers list during its first week of release, should surely have been the icing on the cake.

But things really went into overdrive a few days ago, when the master of the macabre himself – Stephen King no less, gave “The Chalk Man” his very own personal endorsement via Twitter.

When Caz eventually composed herself and posted a euphoric reply, The Shining author came straight back with a simple two-word response: “You rock”.

Imagine for a moment, as a debutant author, being told that “you rock” by Stephen fucking King for chrissakes! I reckon if it had been me, that would have seen me off once and for all, prompting an instant aneurysm! At least I’d have died happy though. Unlike the majority of characters in Caz’s unputdownable tome.

I was interested to read in her publisher biog, that as well as radio copywriter and TV presenter, she includes reporter, waitress, and dog-walker among a list of varied former occupations. But now she appears to have discovered her true vocation.

So, whatever lofty ambition you secretly harbour for yourself, I say… follow your dreams! Or in Caz’s case – your nightmares!

Mark Gregory