I'm very late posting about this event but I thanks to Bloomsbury I had the pleasure of meeting Celia Rees back in March to celebrate the launch of her latest novel This Is Not Forgiveness (this is an awesome book & you can read my review here if you haven't already read it). I was completely useless that day and forgot to take my camera with me so thanks to Viv for letting me use the above photo of Celia (Viv has included lots more pictures in her write up which you can read in full here).
It was a pleasure to meet with Celia and talk to her about This Is Not Forgiveness and her writing career. I may not have taken pictures but I did take lots of notes so here are some of the things that we talked about:
- When asked why she decided to change from writing historical fiction to writing a contemporary thriller Celia said that she hadn't written a contemporary story for a long time but it was the genre that she first started in. Her first book was a YA contemporary thriller called Every Step You Take. As a teacher she knew her pupils wanted to read gritty thrillers that were like adult books so she decided to write one for them. She heard a true story about students who were caught up in a murder investigation that gave her the idea for Every Step You Take.
- Her second book was called The Baby Game and was a story about bullying that her younger daughter suggested she write. After that she wrote a few more thrillers and even a vampire book. She actually spent 10 years writing contemporary books followed by 10 years writing historical ones so felt it was time for a change again.
- Celia was inspired to write This Is Not Forgiveness after watching an old French film called Jules et Jim. The film was set in the war and was a story about two boys and a very charismatic and free spirited girl that they both fell in love with. She was fascinated by the young girl and wanted to write about someone similar.
- She wanted to update the story for modern times rather than set it during the war, she started by making Caro a goth type but changed her mind and instead made her interested in politics. Celia knew that she wanted to make Jamie a normal, average boy but she wanted Rob to be very different to him. It was when she decided to make Rob a soldier that everything really fell into place.
- Celia pointed out that teens can be very intolerant readers - you have to grab their attention early and keep it throughout the whole story.
- One of her biggest tips for writers is to always have a notebook with you to jot down ideas. Celia (like a lot of women) has a lot of handbags so she is always having to buy new notebooks so she can keep one in each bag!
- She uses spider diagrams to keep track of her ideas and when she starts writing a book she types it straight onto her computer rather than handwriting it first. As she's writing she prefers to write the book chronologically from beginning to end. Even if she gets stuck she refuses to skip forward - she writes each stage in order.
- Celia also confirmed that she only works on one book at a time. She said it would be too easy for her to mix the different voices and styles if she was working on multiple books at the same time and that both books would end up reading like one single story.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to Emma at Bloomsbury for inviting me to the event and for spoiling us all with cakes, nibbles and books!
Who was there:
Emma - Bloomsbury
Celia Rees - Website
Alice - The Reader Room
Hannah - My Book Journey
Hayley - Dark Readers
Laura - SisterSpooky: Book Fangirl
Megan - The Book Addicted Girl
Michelle - Much Loved Books
Raimy - Readaraptor
Sammee - I Want To Read That