This month we’ve been banging on about all things ‘Night School’ and the lovely CJ Daugherty. In this interview CJ reveals all! We love her. A little too much.
The Night School series, has been quite the success. ‘Night School: Resistance’ is the fourth book in the series. Without giving too much away, what can we expect from it?
‘Night School Fracture’ ends with Allie running away, broken both mentally and physically. In ‘Night School Resistance’, she’s healed. She’s strong again. And she’s ready to fight back. In this book she’s listening to her heart at last, deciding who she really loves — Sylvain or Carter. But Nathaniel will not give up easily. And he will stop at nothing to win. No one is safe.
What was your inspiration for the ‘Night School’ series?
I was inspired by a photo I saw in the paper of the Bullingdon Club. It’s a real secret society at Oxford University. Its members are the children of the country’s richest and most powerful families — the political elite. The photo I saw showed David Cameron as a teenager, when he was in that club. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, was in it, too. So was George Osborne, the Chancellor. In fact, many senior politicians, members of ?media and CEOs of major corporations were in this secret society when they were teenagers. Days after I saw that image, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I wanted to write about what it would be like to be those guys. Rich teenagers, in a secret society, preparing to take over the world.
Is there a character in the book which you can really see yourself in?
?The main character, Allie, has all my anger and sarcasm. Like her, I got into a lot of trouble as a teenager. Like her, my family fell apart and I had to grow up fast. So she is the most like me of all. But Rachel has my sense of humour. And Zoe is the vicious little sister I never had…
Have you always known you wanted to write for a living?
Writing is the only thing I know how to do. I have no other talents. That said, I make awesome cupcakes so, maybe I could have been a baker. But the early hours would have killed me.
I was an obsessive reader as a child — when I was 12, I read 145 books in one school year. I won a prize for it. ?Only thing I ever won. Even then, all I ever wanted to do for a living was write.
But my parents thought writers were poverty-stricken and lived in attics (which is largely true, to be fair). They tried very hard to talk me out of writing. When I registered for university, my mother chose my area of study — business studies. I let her do it. As soon as her car drove out of the university car park, I marched into the dean’s office and changed my focus to journalism. And I never looked book.
What is your writing process? If you have one.
?I can’t write well in the morning, so I’ve given up even trying. Instead, I use my mornings to update my website and Facebook page, take the dog for a walk, and read. ?At noon, I turn the internet off on my computer and I write for the rest of the day. I can write pretty much anywhere — all I need is a cup of coffee and a bit of space. I write until seven or eight o’clock most nights. I write every day — I don’t take weekends or holidays off. Otherwise I lose the emotion that’s driving the story. I write every day until the book is finished.
What advice would you give to someone if they wanted to become a writer?
?Read everything. Read magazines, newspapers, blogs, ads on the sides of buses, the backs of cereal boxes, notices on bulletin boards. Decide what you like and don’t like. Know why you like or don’t like it. Write stories, on paper or just in your head, it doesn’t matter which. All that matters is that you practice putting words together in a pleasing, interesting, lively way. Take your time. Writing isn’t a race. Then, one day, when you least expect it, you will find the characters you love, and stumble onto the story that begs to be told. On that day, you’ll become a writer.