Tuesday 3 January 2012

Night School Blog Tour - C.J Daugherty's inspiration for the book.

Today I am happy to be hosting the third stop on the ATOM blog tour for Night School by C.J. Daugherty. I read this book before Christmas and I absolutely loved it. I will be publishing my review this afternoon at three. However if you want to find out how C. J Daugherty was inspired to write about Night School, then read on!
The Inspiration for Night School by C.J Daugherty

I’m the kind of person who’s always telling stories. Stories about my life, or just something that happened on this day, you know, the one when the lady did that thing that made me laugh… I’m the kind of person who gets told fairly often that she should ‘write a book, someday’.

But I never really thought I could do it.
Now and then I would try half-heartedly – I’d write a chapter here, or an outline there. But when I sat down to actually write, only really awkward, boring words would come out.

And eventually I’d give up and forget about it for another year.

One day in 2008, my husband and I were on holiday in Devon in November (I KNOW) it was freezing (inevitably) and we were scrambling up some cliff or another, and I was telling another hilarious story about my childhood when he interrupted me and said, “I bet you a bottle of champagne – the good kind – that if you sat down to write a book now – subject of your choice – you can do it.” When I demurred, he frowned and added, “I dare you.”

I have never in all my life been able to resist the lure of a dare I am fairly certain I’m going to win. And he knew that perfectly well.

So I started thinking.

When we first considered moving to the town in Surrey where we now live, we spent some time driving around the countryside near it. Along the way we passed the private boarding school at the edge of town where my husband’s sister had gone to school as a day student.

School was out at the time but the big, metal gates were open. So we turned in to the school’s short, curving drive. At the end of it stood a vast, Gothic-influenced Victorian building. I was stunned by how beautiful and scary it looked. I couldn’t imagine dropping a child off at those steps and just saying ‘Bye! See you in six weeks!”

That afternoon stayed with me. And after Jack dared me, I sat down one afternoon and tried to imagine what it would be like for a city girl like me to be summarily uprooted from my urban life and dropped into such a different world. What would that feel like? How would I react? How would the other students react to me?

I wrote the first chapter of Night School that day, sketching out the character of Allie Sheridan, with her troubled home life, dodgy friends and unsteady grades.

By the time I got to the end of that first chapter, I knew I had something. I loved Allie already. I could feel her emotions with her. I understood her. And I needed to know what would become of her.

Night School came out of that.

Thank you Christi for showing us how you were inspired. I would definitely like to see this school, although I couldn't imagine being dropped off either.
To find out more about C.J. Daugherty
Twitter: @CJ_Daugherty

Remember to pop back at 3pm for my review of Night School. 


  1. What a feeling that must have been :) Getting to chapter 1 and knowing it would be a good one

  2. This is a great post. I'm really looking forward to reading Night School :)

  3. I loved her story! I can't resist a dare either :)

    This is a book that sounds great.

  4. Blodeuedd - we dream of this!

    Jenni - It is a fabulous book. You will love it.

    Jules - I am good at resisting dares! #toocoward

  5. I can't wait to read this one it's at the top of my review pile!

  6. Ah, so it was the words I dare you that we have to thank for this book. My sister-in-law loves this story so I'll be sure to pass on details of this post.

  7. Great to hear the origins of Night School. I love how a place can evoke such strong emotions (awe, fear, curiousity). To me, the setting IS a character in the story so I look forward to this book.

  8. Jess - it is fabulous. You will love it.

    Petty Witter - it really is a brilliant read. I am glad your sister in law loved it too.

    Durango - you are right there, the setting is a character in this book.

  9. Ooh! I love this post, and being dared to write a book, that's one way to get motivated :D

    I can't wait to read this one :D


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.