Monday, 14 March 2016

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring C.L. Coffey!

    Cheryl works in an office by day. By night she leads a (not-so) secret life DJing, and throughout it all, is constantly scribbling away as the plot bunnies demand constant attention.
    Her first novel was written when she should have been revising for her GCSEs. While it is unlikely to ever see the light of day, it was the start of long relationship with the evil plot bunnies of doom.
    A need to do more than just one subject led her to the University of Hull, where she graduated with an honours degree in American Studies. For the third year of the four year degree, she was able to call Baton Rouge home. Since then, Louisiana has claimed a large chunk of her heart, and remains a place she will always consider home.
   LSU was where she discovered FanFiction and currently writes (mainly) CSI:NY stories.
   When not transcribing the stories of the angels and archangels, working, or DJing, she is at the beck and call of three cats – all of whom rank higher in the household than she does.

What she has written:
 Angel in Training (Louisiangel #1), Angel Eclipsed (Louisiangel #2)
 and Angel Tormented (Louisiangel #3) (cover to be revealed) 

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT of Angel Tormented:
    Joshua rolled his shoulders before turning his attention away from the water to face me. “I found Darell.”
    It took me a second to place the name, then I whipped around on the spot. “Darell? Lilah’s Darell. You found him?” I repeated as a bolt of excitement shot through me.
    Joshua nodded. “Once you told me his name, and the fact he was once US Army, combined with the fact he was in the city for a time, it was quite easy. He’s in Houston.”
    “That’s only a six-hour drive – less depending on traffic,” I said, already planning on heading back to the convent for an SUV. Okay, it was a day roundtrip, but it was a day out of New Orleans.
    “We can leave now if you want?” Joshua offered.
    I blinked, looking up at him. “You want to come?”
   “Of course,” he said, frowning at the suggestion he wouldn’t. “I get that you can take care of yourself, but it’d be pretty lousy of me to let you go on your own.”
I flung my arms around his neck and kissed him. I was completely prepared to drive to Houston by myself, but the fact that Joshua was willing to come with me relieved some of the tension I was feeling. “Are you ready to go?”
   “Now?” Joshua asked, his head cocked.
   “Might as well get going,” I confirmed.
    The confused look remained. “You don’t want to run by the convent?”
    “I think some space is a good thing right now. Besides, if we leave now, we can be back before he notices.”
    Joshua still looked concerned, but eventually shrugged. We gathered up the dinner containers and made our way to his car. Soon, we were on the road and New Orleans was nothing but a serious of lights in the rearview mirror as we headed out to the west.
    No sooner had we left the city and hit the causeway, the rain moved in. It was only a drizzle that seemed worse than it was because of the speed we were moving at, but the sight of the windscreen wipers going back and forth startled me. “How long has it been since it rained last?” I asked.
    The question was more to myself than Joshua but he answered anyway. “That was on the news the other day. Apparently there was one storm back in October, but before that was what was left over from Hurricane Tabitha. It’s got the weather guys confused. They seem to think that any rain cloud diverts itself before it actually hits the city, and obviously that’s not possible.”
   “October?” I muttered. That had to have been the night I had found Joshua in an abandoned house being held at gunpoint with his own gun. If that was the case, that was six weeks ago, and although I had no idea what the average rainfall for the area was, I was willing to bet it was significantly more than ‘nothing’. “I wonder if it’s the work of the Fallen,” I mused.
    “I thought the Fallen were more interested in sending hurricanes in our direction?” Joshua frowned. “What benefit would it be to them to stop all the rain? It’s a city, not farmland, and it’s not like we have a drought watch going on. The Mississippi has the highest levels this year thanks to heavy rainfall upstream.”
    “I don’t know,” I said as I raised a shoulder in a half shrug. “I’ll bring it up with Cupid when we get back.”
    “Speaking of Cupid,” said Joshua. “I realize that I brought up this little road trip, and I’m not against spontaneity, but is this okay?”
    “Is what?” I asked, turning to face him. “Discussing the weather?”
    Joshua shook his head. “We just took off, darlin’,” he pointed out.
    I pulled a face. “On a road trip. It’s not like we’re running away and eloping. We’re coming back tonight.”
    Joshua briefly took his eyes off the road to look at me, an eyebrow disappearing under his hair. “Tonight?”
    “Yes?” I responded, suddenly confused. “Why wouldn’t we?”
    “Because it’s a five and a half hour drive, longer judging from this traffic: we’ll be lucky if we get in before midnight at this rate. Were you just thinking we’re going to turn up unannounced on his doorstep in the middle of the night?”
    “Yes?” I admitted. Okay, I hadn’t considered that. Then something else occurred to me. “If you weren’t planning on seeing him tonight, why are we leaving now?”
    “You’re the one that wanted to leave straight away, darlin’,” Joshua pointed out. “I assumed you were happy with us grabbing a room at a motel, or something.”
    “I don’t have anything to sleep in, much less a change of clothes for in the morning,” I realized.
Joshua glanced at me and gave me a huge grin. “When you didn’t want to swing by the convent, I figured you were happy to be sleeping nude.”
    My mouth fell open. “Of course you were,” I grunted, backhanding his arm.
    Joshua laughed. “Look, we’re nearly off this bridge, I can turn around and head back, if you like?”
   “What were you going to do for clothing?” I asked, curious.
    “We’re going to Houston, not the boonies. They have 24-hour stores there,” Joshua chuckled. “I believe you can even get a toothbrush in some hotels.”
    I rolled my eyes, a gesture lost in the dark of the car. “Keep going,” I grumbled, reaching for the radio. I knew better than to change the station from the country one Joshua favored, and though I would never admit it to him, it was growing on me the more I listened to it, but some background music was what was needed now. I was also hoping Joshua would sing along too.

Now on to the Interview!
1. How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
   I recently unearthed some work from infant school (I’d have been about 5) which had me writing stories, using paragraphs and real punctuation. I hadn’t realized it had been that long, but my oldest friend told me that one of her earliest memories of me was me telling her I was going to write a book when I grew up, so I guess that would be right.
   In terms of serious writing, I started a novel when I should have been revising for my GCSEs at 16. It took a few years to finish because I would only ever work on it when I had to revise. I go back and read it sometimes. It’s a both terrible, but the basis of a decent story is there. However, I have no intention of releasing this.

2. What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
    Primarily, a time of escape to disappear into Angel’s world, but also to realise that you don’t have to be perfect – you just have to try your best.

3. What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
     I’m not sure if my suggestions would differ from what others say on this. The first is to read a lot. You won’t know what you like unless you discover what you don’t like. Read all genres, for all age groups. The second is to actually write, and this can often be the hardest part. Find the time – at least once a week (I’d personally say more if you can, but I do know how life can get in the way!) – and make yourself sit down and write. The third tip I’d give, is try your hand at Fan Fiction. It gets a lot of stick because you’re writing someone else’s characters, but actually, that’s something which is really challenging. Keeping their voice, and keeping their universe true to the fandom is a really hard thing to accomplish. It also had the added bonus of getting instant feedback, which will also help you to improve your writing and storytelling skills.

4. What is your favourite novel, why?
    This is a tough one. One of my earliest favourite novels was Companions of the Night, by Vivian Vande Velde, (it’s a great vampire novel from long before Twilight got big), but more recently, I’ve completely fallen in love with the world in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

5. Who is your favourite author, why?
    Again, another tough one. As I’ve just mentioned, the world created by Marissa Meyer blew me away, and I think she has a wonderful gift at story telling. However, if I was to look at my book shelves, I have every book ever written by Jackie Collins, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Chloe Neill.

6. What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
    I’m a nightclub DJ and I LOVE doing that. There is nothing more satisfying than playing a song and hearing the nightclub sing it back to you. Once you take the day job, the DJing and the writing away, there’s very little time left so I alternate between reading, watching TV and sleeping.

7. Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
    I don’t think there’s any one person in particular. I get inspiration from everyone and every experience. In terms of story development and being able to develop an idea further, that would go to two of my beta readers – we met in the Fan Fiction world ten years ago, and I think they’ve read everything I’ve written since then. I love being able to bounce ideas around with them!

8. What are the top five things on your bucket list?
      I actually don’t have a bucket list! I suppose I should create one!
Hmmm, well, I’d like to finish the Louisiangel series (my number one goal was publishing Angel in Training, so this is the replacement).
I’d like to visit New York City.
I’d like to meet Jensen Ackles – I was supposed to go to a Con in Houston last month and unfortunately that couldn’t happen.
Fan art. I would love to see fan art – to see what images my words have conjured in reader’s heads!
To work with schools to promote reading.

9. What is your funniest childhood memory?
    At the time, it was mortifying, but now I can look back and laugh – I would have been about 10 and we’d just got these brand new desks in our classroom. I was swinging on my chair and the next thing I knew, I fell backwards, bringing the desk – the hanging drawers underneath, and all the arts and crafts on top – crashing down on me. I broke the chair, cracked the drawer, and got covered in paint and glue.

10. To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
    When I was at high school (11-16), all I wanted to be was a lawyer. I went to college (16+) and did a law A-level. I hated it. By the time I went to university (18+), the only think I knew was that if I did just one straight subject (like English literature) I would be bored. So I did American Studies. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. I got to 28 before I settled in the day job I do now which is essentially making sure that a pharmaceutical company updates its safety wording on a schedule – something most people don’t even realise exists. It took a further year doing it before I realized I loved it. I also got to 30 before publishing my first book.
     What I really wish someone had told me is that it's okay not to have a plan! You're going to be surrounded by people who will tell you that you need to know what you're doing 'when you graduate', and you're going to be surrounded by people who know what they want to do. But if you don't know, that's completely fine! There's a lot of pressure at such a young age to know your life plan – what college, what job – but it’s really not the end of the world if you don’t know. University / college may not be for you. You might decide that it is after a couple of years. You might go, hate your course and want to change. You may go, graduate, and end up in a job still not knowing what you want to do. But, that really is okay!

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