Reviewed Cesca Major author of The Silent Hours novel earlier this year. It’s taken a while to post this but I think it’s a great honest, encouraging piece about remaining true to yourself and retaining your authenticity to make sure good things happen.
Jac: I assume setting came first, how did you conceive the narrators, who came first, which ones were easy and were any of them a challenge?
Cesca: Adeline came first – I felt the whole book revolved around her and the secrets she was keeping. Tristan was by far my favourite to write, I adore writing children and had to cut lots of his scenes as I could have gone on for hours..! I found the men challenging as I didn’t want them to be too feminine but at the same time I needed them to be distinctive from each other too.
Jac: The pace of the novel gathers momentum can you tell us more about how you develop this? Is it something you find easy or a challenge?
Cesca: The whole novel leads up to this one day in history and I think the hints and clues up to that point hopefully build, layer upon layer, until you are desperate to find out how it will end. You know something big is coming and I think the more you invest in the characters the more you worry for them and that helps the tension build.
Jac: Are you planning to use any of the main characters in future work?
Cesca: No I am not planning to return to THE SILENT HOURS or the people in it. I really needed to write their story but I think I have finished it now.
Jac: Did you write this foremost as a novel or as a work that could transfer to different medium eg audio, film and/or tv adaptation?
Cesca: I used to act and when I write I find myself picturing the scenes in a very vivid way and hearing their voices etc. I think it would make a great feature film as that is a really powerful medium. There have been some amazing WWII movies made in recent years and that would be the dream.
Jac: What are you working on now/next?
Cesca: I am finishing the first draft of my second novel THE LAST NIGHT. A story based in the present day and 1950s Devon. It follows the lives of two women and again is based on a true story.
Jac: What is your typical writing day?
Cesca: I write best in the morning and I love writing in short sharp blasts with lots of breaks. I need caffeine and some kind of biscuit and I write directly onto my laptop after planning which scene I will tackle that day.
Jac: What is your overriding advice to wannabe authors (aside from watching your videos)?
Cesca: It can’t be said enough – finish the first draft. Keep going. Then you can edit it, pull out themes, develop characters and work with something. Reward yourself too – it is hard to keep going but make sure you celebrate the small victories along the way.
Jac: Any advice re confidence/self-belief for emerging authors?
Cesca: Short story competitions really helped me to build my confidence. You can experiment and you can take risks and when you are placed or win you can learn from that. I would encourage wannabe writers to enter some.
Jac: What/who are your biggest literary, cultural, wider inspirations?
Cesca: History. I was a History teacher and have always been fascinated by ordinary people living in extraordinary times and want to explore their lives more. I read widely too and outside my genre so hopefully pick up tips from other writers with different strengths.
Jac: What are your other passions/ interests?
Cesca: I am a keen reader and love a long walk by the river near where I live, a good cream tea, a catch up with friends, a game of lacrosse, a round of golf (9 holes, the promise of a drink at the end) and seeing my family.
Jac: Did The Silent Hours evolve the way you anticipated or was the completed novel quite different?
Cesca: It had even more people in it! I cut a character I was quite attached too and that was a strange moment. It did turn out how I imagined it though, I knew where it was headed.
You can follow Cesca @CescaWrites or find her at www.cescamajor.com