Interview with Author, C J Skuse | Blog Tour

Hi guys,

So I know I've been MIA for a while but today I'm bringing you something so exciting, something I'm super happy I got to take part in. As part of the 'Monster' Blog Tour being run by Mira Ink and MaximumPop Books I got to interview the author of Monster, C J Skuse. I got introduced to C J when we both followed each other on Twitter and had a few conversations with each other through tweets.

So without further ado, lets get into the interview.

Question 1. What is Monster about?

Ostensibly, it's about six girls who become trapped at their remote boarding school during one snowy Christmas holiday and an horrific murderous beast is outside trying to get in and rip them all to pieces. It's also about a girl who needs to dig deep to find out how strong she truly is - and only facing off with such a monster can bring that out.

Question 2. What inspired you to write Monster?

A few things really - seeing a news article about the Beast of Bodmin Moor. A big desire to write a story set in a boarding school. I also really wanted to write something with an all female group at its helm, like Amazon women, fighting now only to remain civil to one another but also to survive against all the odds.

Question 3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Always keep your phone on you, don't fear the mad girl and find out where the key to the javelin cupboard is kept.

Question 4. Did you read as a child, if so who did you most look up to?

As a child I loved Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton. I really looked up to Beatrix Potter because she did all her own illustrations too. I couldn't draw at all. I still draw the way I did when I was eight, with people having arms at right angles and the sky being a strip of blue half way up the page.

Question 5. What are some of your favourite current reads?

You can't go wrong with a bit of UKYA/UKMG. Anything by Keris Stainton, Cat Clarke, CJ Daughtry, Kevin Brooks, Keren David, Holly Bourne, Jo Nadin, Emma Haughton, Hilary Freeman, Anthony McGowan, Fiona Dunbar, Louise O'Neill, Melvin Burgess, Helen Grant, Non Pratt, Zoe Marriott or Lee Weatherly gets my vote.

Question 6. We know that Monster was recently released but are you working on anything new?

I've just completed 'The Deviants', that's the next one out this time next year. It's been described as The Famous Five meets We Were Liars and it's probably the most important book I've done so far. I'm plotting Book 6 now. That one is, well, interesting. Doesn't look like it's going to be YA this time either so I'm a bit scared and probably a lot out of my depth.

Question 7. Did you learn anything from writing your books, and what was it?

I have always written for one reason - to write the monsters out of my head. It's a catharsis for me and sometimes I need it like medicine. I wrote my first book to work out how I felt about losing someone. I wrote Rockoholic to compartmentalise my obsession with an unattainable life. I wrote Dead Romantic to give Death the middle finger and to work out what I wanted from love. I've learned something new with every book I have written. With Monster, I've learned to focus my anger on an objective, rather than just lashing out all the time.

Question 8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Choose a story to tell which you are passionate about because sometimes it's only your own passion for it that keeps you going. Start as you mean to go on. Don't write for the market because the market will leave you behind. Ignore the haters but embrace the criticism. Find a decent literary agent who loves your work as much as you do at the earliest opportunity. Don't let life get in the way - JK Rowling is right when she says you need to be ruthless about protecting your writing time. And be prepared for a long wait. Nothing happens quickly in publishing unless you're very lucky and hit a trend (accidentally) at the right time.

Question 9.  What's your favourite thing about Halloween?

When it's over.

Question 10. Would you like to say anything to your readers?

Thank you for being insane enough to take a chance on my books and sane enough to enjoy them. I'm always trying to be better for you. And stop breaking my spines. I hate that. *inserts smiley face*


At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of the prestigious boarding school, Bathory would be the biggest battle she'd face. Until her brother's disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory's assorted Misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school's hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory - a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school - run wild. Yet when the girls' Matron goes missing it's clear that something altogether darker is to blame - and that they'll have to stick it out together if they hope to survive.


C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children's fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on her second novel THE DEVIANTS for Mira Ink.
Follow her on Twitter @CeejaytheAuthor


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