Friday, 15 February 2013

The Big Break with C.J Flood

Today as part of the Infinite Sky blog tour, I am so pleased to welcome debut author C.J. Flood on to the blog to talk about her journey into publishing.
Firstly, can I thank you for joining me today on my blog.
Thank you for having me! I’m very happy to be here.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I think I did, though not in a serious way. When I was a kid, I used to write lots of stories, and I always loved English at school. I didn’t consider it as a proper career path until after university, when I realised that there really wasn’t much else I was good at, or fancied doing, and so I began to put all of my efforts into getting better at writing.
 How long did it take you to write your debut novel ‘Infinite Sky’?
It took about three years. I started the book about six months before I began an MA at the University of East Anglia, worked on it intensively throughout the course, and finished it about a year and a half after graduating. 
Tell us about your inspiration for writing ‘Infinite Sky’?
The main inspiration for the book was the farm that I spent half my childhood at, my dad’s house, which Silverweed Farm is based on. I also drew a lot from my teenage memories, from friendships I had then, and my relationship with my older brother.
What was your first reaction when you found out that your book was to be published?
 It was a very strange feeling. Almost too surreal to grasp. It had been a dream of mine for so long, that when it happened it was almost unsettling. I felt, for the first time in my life, that perhaps anything (within reason) was possible, and that made me feel a bit nervous and weird. Of course, I should have just been excited, I realise that.  
How long did it take for your book to reach publication after the initial agreement? 
We sold the book in September 2011, and Infinite Sky publishes February 2013, so a year and a halfish.
What was happening to your manuscript during this time?
It was going through edits, which were fairly light, though still took a long time because I had a lot of ideas about things I wanted to change. It was a fairly delightful process actually, as my editor and I agreed pretty much unanimously on everything. Then there were copy edits and proofreading.
How did you keep yourself occupied as you waited for publication day?
I played an extraordinary amount of table tennis and became addicted to Twitter. 
I absolutely DID NOT google myself or obsessively scour the Internet and GoodReads for advance reviews. The reasons I didn’t do that are multiple: I have more dignity than that; I don’t have the time to waste on such pursuits; I am not that self-obsessed; and I
realise that no matter how many people love or hate the book it will always only be as good or as bad as it ever was.
How will you celebrate on publication day?
I am going out for lunch with two of my dear friends and their tiny baby, and for tea with another much loved friend. I am also going to go to Waterstones and Foyles and sniff the hell out of any copies of Infinite Sky that I find there.
Infinite Sky’ is already receiving excellent reviews, how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel very marvellous. I am so happy when I hear that people are enjoying it. I’ve had a few emails from readers, and a handwritten letter too, and really these people just make my day. Always write to authors when you loved their book.
Can you tell us anything about the next book you have planned?
Yes! My second novel is a story about a teenage girl’s search for her missing brother. He’s a soldier, due back from his first tour in Afghanistan, only he hasn’t come home. When his little sister hears that he has been spotted in the woods where they used to play as kids, she sets out with her friends to try and find him, and bring him home. But, of course, it isn’t that easy. It’s about friendship and adventure and bravery, and I think that readers who liked Infinite Sky, will enjoy it.
Do you write full time now?
I do. 
Tell us what a typical writing day would be like?
My writing days change depending at what point I am with a novel. When I’m thinking of ideas, I don’t necessarily need to be clocking in at my desk so routinely. I still have done in the past, but I’m thinking on book three, I will try to change this. It’s often just a waste of time, and I write loads of words that just get thrown away in this period. I think I’d be better off being out in the world or reading, trying to get inspired.
In the main writing days, I get to my desk at ten, and write until about two, and then do all the admin/social media stuff until about six. But as deadline approaches I’m at my desk, or more likely typing in bed, until much, much later than that.
In the editing days, I work for hours and hours at a time, day and night, reading and re-reading my manuscript until I feel quite mad, and can’t believe that anyone could ever find anything to enjoy in it.
And at all stages, I think about the book even when I’m not at my desk. I’ll steal a mannerism from a friend, or an annoying trait from myself that. I might see a red leaf spinning at the centre of a cobweb or white petals floating over the top of a flooded drain, and write them down for my character to notice later.
What advice would you give to aspiring and unpublished authors?
Read and write a lot. Keep a diary of your experiences, but write them as fiction. This is the main way I learned to write. Be yourself. Don’t adopt a ‘writerly voice’ because anyone can do that, while only you can write as you. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true! Write as you would speak, or as you have heard other people speak if your narrator is nothing like you. Be prepared for it not to happen really quickly, and to be rejected a lot. Don’t give up. Unless it is making you more miserable than you think giving up would make you.
Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood is published today! 14th of February! It is published by Simon and Schuster and available on Amazon for £6.89!
To find out more about C.J. Flood:
Twitter
Blog

6 comments:

  1. I'm absolutely dying to read Infinite Sky! It sounds amazing and I've read so many good reviews :)

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    1. Hurray! That is my favourite thing to read. I hope you like it.

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  2. Fantastic post :)

    I've never thought about writing a diary in a fictional format!

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    1. I really recommend it. Some of my published stories are reworkings of old diary entries. Buy a notebook today, and begin! It's loads of fun to read later on, much more engaging than if you stick to normal diary tone.

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  3. I pre-ordered Infinite Sky a couple of weeks ago because i thought it sounded like a great read. After reading this wonderful interview I am almost ready to stalk our postman ;)

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  4. Yes! That's the kind of mad statement I highly approve of. Stalk away Mari Hope it isn't a huge disappointment after such a long wait! Let me know x

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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.