C.J. Daugherty at Westfield School
|CJ Daugherty and me!|
Some of you may know that a few weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity of returning to my old school (Westfield Independent Day School for Girls, Gosforth) to meet the author of the popular Night School series, C.J. Daugherty. As soon as I heard that C.J. would be visiting Westfield, I jumped at the chance to meet her - not just for my own enjoyment, but for my lovely blog readers too! C.J. was a delight to meet and I hope that this short write-up of her talk will be of interest to you, it's always interesting to learn a little about the author behind the books that we read.
C.J. started by telling us a little about herself, starting from where her whole writing career (sort of!) started- when she was 19 year old and wrote a letter to a newspaper. C.J. has always loved reading and writing which is why she got a job in journalism. Understandably, C.J. was very interested in crime journalism, something quick, intense and fast-changing which she described as a 'lesson in focus'. C.J. told us about her many different but all equally interesting jobs related to writing, which provided huge entertainment for everyone listening - hearing stories of her job where she got to meet spies was particularly interesting and everyone was completely absorbed. Whilst we were all captivated by her journeys in journalism, C.J. became a little bored and decided to use her very creative mind to write a book, a political thriller. When writing and researching, she discovered the story of the Bullingdon Club - an exclusive society at Oxford University, and the inspiration behind the Night School series....
Upon hearing of the Bullingdon club, Daugherty became deeply interested by the idea of secret groups of rich and famous - elite - children around the world. Did laws apply to the elite? Do they have limited morality? If you were elite, if your parents could bail you out at any time, would you be a good person? You can understand why C.J. was interested by this whole idea - I know that as soon as I heard about the Bullingdon club, I wanted to know more. C.J. went one step further and created her own elite group - the Night School.
C.J. then went on to read an extract of her latest book, Legacy. The girls were absolutely hooked! It was a lovely experience to listen to an author read her own work. The talk then finished with a rather extensive Q & A session! The girls had a whole load of questions to ask, and here's a few things that we learned:
- It usually takes around 7 months for the whole writing process of a book to be completed - 4 months for the first draft, 6 weeks spent editing and then the book is sent to an editor for any more changes.
- C.J. has 5 books ultimately planned for the Night School Series.
- Some of C.J.'s favourite books that she didn't write include The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and This is Not a Real Test by Courtney Summers. She also loves J.D. Salinger.
- If she hadn't become an author, C.J. thinks that she'd have probably become a lawyer.
- The most important thing for her in books are the characters.
- She would like to write a book set in the 1920's about a US based Night School
- If she was one of her characters, she certainly wouldn't want to be Allie but she would like to be the very clever Rachel.
- She would have loved to have gone to boarding school!
C.J. then went on to sign books for the girls and had some photographs taken. The whole experience was relaxed and interesting - I thought it was really interesting to hear the idea behind Night School and it has made me really, really interested in following this series. I hope that this small summary of her talk has made you interested too. I will be posting more Night School and Legacy related posts through the week, so keep checking back for more!
For more information about the Night School series, visit her website here:
For more information about Westfield School, visit the website here:
Many thanks to C.J. for holding such a fantastic talk and many thanks to all at Westfield School for welcoming me.