Well I guess, seeing as this is an ‘Author Blog’, I probably ought to start by telling you about the author. About me 🙂
I write under the name C-C Lester, however, rather quickly, with the help of Google, you will realise my name (or the nickname I have always gone by) is Charly. I’ll tell you later why I go by ‘C-C’ when I write, but for now let’s focus on the more biographical aspects of my life.
Where do I start? How about with where I started?!
I actually wrote a mock-up ‘About the Author’ to go with my newest book – The Dream Navigator – just a few weeks ago, and it went something like this ….
‘If my Stage formed before the age of fifteen, it would definitely be The Oval cricket ground, back when it was known as the Fosters’ Oval. My Library would look like the Sherlock Library at Catz. My Control Room would be the Whistler Roundhouse, on a blue bird afternoon. And deep within the Safe of my mind, you would find a simple wooden haberdashery basket, just like the one which sat at my side, as I watched TV as a child. If the segments unfolded, amongst my other talents would be questionable Bikram yoga capabilities, kick-ass liquid eyeliner skills, and the ability to communicate rather vocally in Spanish without being able to use either the past or future tenses!’
Which, in terms of Dream Navigation, actually tells you virtually everything about me!
However, seeing as The Dream Navigator is still in ‘unpublished, unsigned, final draft mode’ … I guess I ought to also describe myself in layman’s terms!
I’m a twenty-seven year old, female, British author.
My main focus is teenage fantasy fiction. And I like to think it’s a genre which I address well. My most recent ‘rejection’, from the very generous Simon Taylor at Transworld Publishers, had only one criticism. That my writing was ’emphatically on the YA side of the adult/YA divide’. Something which, whilst obviously very important to him, in my opinion, wasn’t even a criticism, more a recognition of my firm genre!
My path into writing, like most authors’, has been a convoluted one.
I majored in Law at Cambridge, more because it ‘sounded sensible’ than because I wanted to become a lawyer.
Of my chosen subjects, Media Law was the one which most inspired me, and having realised that the odds on becoming a Blue Peter presenter were far better than those on getting a Media law pupillage, I decided to focus on the former as a career option!
In 2008 I completed a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster.
During my year in London I was offered several opportunities. I received a Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year Award that winter, and after receiving the award from none other than Gethin Jones, was actually offered work experience at Blue Peter! Unfortunately a TV work experience placement didn’t fit with the priorities of my course (don’t ask!!) and so I was forced to turn the offer down.
I did, however, go on to complete a month of work experience as a child presenter Mentor at Takeover Radio. The placement was close to my heart, not only because when I was 14 I pioneered Children’s Radio by Children, as the Breakfast Show Host at Kiddz FM, but also because I have very strong views on role models for children, and being an inspiration to younger generations.
During my Masters I also made documentaries in South Africa, on AIDS orphans and the work of South Africans to combat HIV in their communities, and in the Philippines, on the culture of impunity towards the murder of journalists.
I loosely mentioned my Cosmopolitan Award. The reason I was honoured with this award was because of my personal strength in the face of adversity. When I was 19 years old, I was orphaned. It’s not a part of my life that I like to dwell on, however, it is a part of my life which has motivated and inspired me.
Losing my parents at such a young age made me realise how important it is to seize the day. That there are so many opportunities and challenges that the world has to offer, and you only have one life, so you may as well take on those challenges.
The culmination of this attitude, of the tragic events behind it, and of all the things I learnt during my Masters was ‘Challenge Charly’, a YouTube Channel where I filmed myself completing different challenges around the world. Very much in the style of my wannabe alma mater ‘Blue Peter’, I tried new sports, completed great feats of endurance, raised money for charity, and pushed myself to the limits of my own fears. I bungee jumped, sky dived, ran marathons, cycled hundreds of miles, and climbed to Everest Base Camp, all in the name of Challenge Charly.
And so, with my MA firmly under my belt, I decided to take a year to travel the world, and expand both Challenge Charly’s, and my own, horizons.
I travelled to Australasia, and then on to Patagonia. From the southern-most point of South America, I took eight months travelling all the way up to Los Angeles. During this time, I spent countless hours on the back of overnight buses, with nothing but my laptop for company.
It was during these lonely, cramped hours, generally on the left-hand side of the rear of the cheapest ‘semi-cama’ (half-bed) buses, that I began to write my first novel Flicker ….