Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Q & A with Cesca Major

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Today I'm very happy and excited to welcome lovely Cesca Major on my blog. Her novel The Last Night came out last week and she answered me some questions about the book and other things. Enjoy!

1. Did you always dream of being a writer? 

No I dreamt of being a TV presenter or actress. I came to writing very late, I didn't even do English A Level.

2. How did your writing career develop?

I read widely at university in between pretending to work really hard. I was an avid reader. I wrote a play at university which was performed in my final year. When I left uni I was working in television which is quite a strange job as you are often "looking for work" (unemployed) so I started writing in my free time. I wrote one novel, had it rejected and then found I couldn't stop writing them. My first published book (THE SILENT HOURS) was in fact the third book I'd completed. 

3. Your newest novel is called The Last Night, what is it about?

It's about an antique furniture restorer, Irina, who seems quite a troubled soul. She accepts delivery of a bureau and on its arrival strange things start to happen. She decides to find out more about the piece and in doing so uncovers a story long buried in the past. 
The other storyline centres on Abigail in the 1950s who moves to Devon after the death of her mother. It is this story that Irina uncovers. 

4. What was your inspiration for the book?

I was on holiday in Lynmouth, Devon and stumbled across a rather sad memorial to an event in Devon that occurred in the 50s. I wanted to fictionalise it, always fascinated to write about ordinary people swept up in extraordinary circumstances. 

5. Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Irina is a woman who can't forget the past. She has rather nasty facial scarring and a strained relationship with her mother. Throughout the novel we discover why she is not keen to discuss past events and the truth she is trying to conceal. 

Abigail is a woman who loves to live in the present. She has been dealt a hard hand and finds herself living in the middle of Devon with a sister she barely knows and a somewhat sinister brother-in-law. 

6. Where and when do you write your stories?

I normally write in chunks, planning first and then diving into the chapters. I write in a shed in my garden, radiator on and LP playing. And tea. Always tea.

7. What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I read and I see friends and I try to cook. I go for long walks along the River Thames and I waste loads of time staring at my nearly 6 month old son.

8. If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

I read far too many thrillers so I'd rather not..! I have always loved Elizabeth in THE LITERARY GUERNSEY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY so I would want her joyful nature. 

9. What books have influenced your life most? 

I adore commercial fiction, readable books that you want to devour in one sitting. I read widely so my favourite authors constantly change. A few at the moment include: Liane Moriarty, Hannah Richell, Natasha Solomons, Jilly Cooper and Helen Simonson.

10. What are you working on at the moment?

I'm frantically researching a third book set in New Zealand in the 1940s. It is fascinating and I must actually start writing the novel rather than reading lots of fun facts.

11. What do you enjoy most about writing?

Stopping..! Well that's not true but the idea of writing is so much more romantic than the reality. I have to drag myself to my desk some mornings. Saying that the time flies when the words are flowing and suddenly you are happy to carry on, the tea has got cold and you are lost in your imaginary world. I think it is the fact you can make your characters do ANYTHING. I never thought I was a control-freak but that is the ultimate thrill.

12. Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Jilly Cooper would just be a BLAST and would tell us lots of naughty stories. 
Kirsty Greenwood would be there as my wingman so we could giggle over Jilly's stories and take selfies with her. 
Liane Moriarty is bound to be good value so she should get an invite too.

13. Imagine The Last Night would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I am HOPELESS at this question. I think it would make a great TV drama or movie but I just can't begin to answer this. I think it would change who they are in my imagination.

14. Your debut novel The Silent Hours was published last year, can you tell us more about it?

It's a story based on a true event that happened in France at the end of the Second World War. It follows the lives of some inhabitants of the same village and is a 'Book Club' read. 

15. How would you describe your style of writing?

I hope compelling! I write short chapters and jump back from one story to the other but both connect. I hope it flows well and is also intriguing enough you need to turn the next page.

16. Coffee or tea? Tea but only if it's Earl Grey, am a total tea snob. 
17. Paperback or e-reader? Paperback for me.
18. Mountains or the sea? Sea, sea, sea. Oh unless free skiing. 
19. Summer or winter? Summer. Unless see above. 
20. Sweet or salty? Swwwweeeet. I regularly have cake for breakfast. 

About Cesca

Cesca’s first real writing success came when she was Runner Up in the 2005 annual Daily Mail Writing Competition. Since then she has written numerous short stories and two novels based on real events. Her debut THE SILENT HOURS was published by Atlantic Books in 2015 and THE LAST NIGHT in 2016. Cesca lives in Pangbourne with her husband, her son and three errant chickens. 

Twitter: @CescaWrites 
Instagram: CescaWrites

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