C.J. Flood is a wonderful writer of Young Adult fiction. Her first novel, Infinite Sky, was published in 2013 by Simon and Shuster and won the Branford Boase award in 2014. It’s a beautiful book about the summer that changed one girl’s life – one in which her mum leaves home, travellers set up camp in the family’s field, her older brother goes off the rails, and she falls in love for the very first time. Chelsey’s second novel, Nightwanderers, will be out in 2016.
Chelsey is a graduate of the the UEA Creative Writing MA, is a member of the Lucky 13 writers group and live sin Bristol. She is also a wonderful creative writing teacher. She teaches on residential Arvon courses and is about to start teaching on the BA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I can’t wait to take part in one of Chelsey’s workshops this autumn. I know that you will be inspired by her answers.
Which three words would you use to describe yourself?
Sensitive, nosy, adventurous.
What do you love most about writing?
Taking the time out to reflect on, and capture, how never-endingly weird and terrible and magnificent the world and its inhabitants are.
What do you find hardest about writing?
What kind of child were you?
The miniature judge kind.
Where’s your favourite place in the whole world?
Kynance Cove in Cornwall.
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Ultimate mega strength.
Which fictional character would you most like to meet?
Jo March from Little Women.
What book do you wish you’d written?
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.
Do you have any writing tics that you’re forever editing out?
So many. I am always going on about white gulls against navy skies, and skies in general. Also lots of sounds are ‘like a countdown’: jean buttons, the dog eating garlic bread, and a number of other things that I’ve since edited out of my stories.
What’s your greatest fear?
Going mad/losing my beloveds.
What are you reading at the moment?
Coconut Unlimited by Nikesh Shukla.
What’s your favourite word?
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?
To judge people relentlessly, and be unforgiving until the bitter end.
Which writer do you most admire?
What song or piece of music would you choose as the theme tune to your life? I think I might be taking this question too seriously, because I’ve written and rewritten my answer so many times. Clair de Lune by Debussy, (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman by Carol King, This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want This Time by The Smiths. OK. Clair de Lune by Debussy for a peaceful, gentle life.
Where do you write?
At my desk in my flat, mostly, otherwise Bristol Central Library, plus in bed or on the train as the need strikes.
What or who inspires you?
Hills, trees, that unavoidable sky, bodies of water, stories…
When were you happiest?
Yesterday when my writing was going really well, and I had no other engagements and for a second felt I was fulfilling my destiny.
What keeps you awake at night?
What three tips would you give aspiring novelists?
- Read a lot
- Write a lot
- Live a lot.