Tag Archives: Challenge Charly

Look what I just stumbled upon …

Ok, so it’s almost 2 am in Canada, and I really ought to be in bed.  In fact, as if to illustrate the point, my boyfriend is sitting next to me on the sofa, his laptop also on his lap, but fast asleep, snoring, and looking very close to dropping said laptop …

But … I felt the need to post, because, after a comment on the blog post I just wrote, about what information is available about you on the internet, I decided to Google my name!  My REAL name, not my pen name.  (Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will know it doesn’t take a super-sleuth to discover my real name, or at least the nickname I have gone by all my life).

As expected, it brought up a whole host of information about me – from the global challenges I filmed for Challenge Charly, to my street address back in Reading (AARGGHHH), to the scholarships I received whilst studying at Cambridge and my Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year Award.

What I DIDN’T expect it to turn up was an Op-Ed article I wrote over a year ago, and sent to the International Herald Tribune! I actually only found it, because it was posted on the New York Times website, and then commented on in someone’s blog!

How crazy is that?!  If Wheelchair Pride hadn’t written a response to my Op-Ed and used my name, I’d have never even known my letter was published!  Insane!!!

Ah well … I guess now I can add ‘New York Times contributor’ to ‘nanny’ and ‘travel bum’ on my CV 😉

C-C xx

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The Pen Name: A Shield to accompany the Literary Sword?

My newest non-fictional effort!  Before I get started just wanted to thank WordPress for making me Freshly Pressed on Thursday!  And to thank all of you who took time to read, and comment on, my post ‘So Am I an Author Yet?’ Incredible reactions from everyone, will try my best to live up to expectations!

C-C xx

The Pen Name : A Shield to accompany the Literary Sword?

We’ve all heard countless times how the pen is mightier than the sword.

But in this day and age, where someone’s dirty, and not so dirty, laundry can be hung out to dry on the internet in a matter of minutes, do authors now need a shield to accompany their metaphorical sword?

It’s a question close to my heart, because obviously I’m intent on writing under a pen name of sorts.

‘C-C Lester’ isn’t a pseudonym.  However, it’s also not what my closest friends call me … In fact, the only people to have ever called me ‘C-C’ were the members of my university cricket team, because that was how my name appeared on the scorecard!

However, C-C is the name which I have chosen to write under.  Something my lovely agent Lucy Dundas queried early on in our partnership.

Because thanks to J.K. Rowling, it seems everyone wants to have two initials!  And the publishing world are getting rather sick of it!

Most avid readers and authors will know exactly why ‘Jo’ became ‘J.K’.  Bloomsbury feared that male readers would be put off by a female author, and so asked her to use her two initials. However, she only had one, and so added the initial from her favourite grandmother’s name, Kathleen, to become the legendary  ‘J.K.’

My reasons for become C-C are a little more complicated.

For a start, they are both actually my initials.  My parents had a bit of a thing for long names, and so I was born Charlotte-Cristina Lester, a fact very few of my friends even know, because all my life I have been called Charly.

C-C Lester was the tag on my school uniform.  The adult I always felt that ‘childhood me’ might grow into.  My parents only ever called me Charly, but told me I had an extra-long double-barreled ‘real name’, in case when I was older I wanted to use a ‘girl’s name’!

I didn’t.

However, I did always find something cool in the fact I had a hyphen where most people simply had a space.  To me it sounded rather epic and mysterious, and reminiscent of C.S. Lewis, one of my favourite childhood authors.  Even though even he wasn’t lucky enough to have that hyphen!

As I discussed briefly in my last post, I was a child who grew up writing, and longing to share my stories with the world.  And so in my head, ‘C-C Lester’ was the future writer me.  Whose clothes I was merely growing into!

However, when Lucy came to ask me why exactly I was writing under ‘C-C’, my main, and probably most convincing reason, was privacy.  In the cyber-world we live in today, it takes a matter of seconds to enter someone’s name into Google, and dredge up all kinds of information about them.  Thanks to the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman Award, which I received a few years ago, a LOT of my personal information was put into the public domain without my say-so, including my then address, and the very detailed description of how my parents died.

These weren’t necessarily things which I wanted people reading my books to know about me, or to associate with my work.

I was also quite keen to keep my broadcast journalism projects, namely my You Tube channel ‘Challenge Charly’ separate from my writing efforts.

One of my favourite high school teachers once gave an assembly about women juggling ‘lots of hats’.  The lover, the friend, the artist, the career woman, the mother etc etc…

And so, when I finished my first novel ‘Flicker’, I made a decision.  I wanted to wear a different hat when I was an author.  I wanted author ‘me’ to be C-C, and the rest of me to be scooped up under the name ‘Charly’.

I wanted to protect Clark Kent’s truths, behind Superman’s badge.

Except the problem was that no one had ever heard of my Superman!

It’s all well and good protecting your real identity, if your pen name has great exposure.  But one of the things I gradually came to realise, was that my ‘Clark Kent’ side – the part of me behind the writer’s mask, was actually pretty special too!  And perhaps those other aspects of my personality – my love of travel and adventure, my tenacity and positivity in the face of a really rather awful tragedy – were things which might inspire others in the same way I hoped that my fiction might too.

In a later post, I hope to write about my influences for each of the books, and the aspects of my own life which affected those stories.  And so, perhaps it is best that my readers see me as both Charly AND C-C Lester.

Check out my YouTube Channel and let me know what you think!  (And those of you who posted comments yesterday assuming I was a man, hopefully the video will clear that one up!)

So, now you all know my name.  You know the Clark Kent behind my Superman … or should I say, Superwoman?!

And yet, I will still continue to write behind the name of my favourite superhero.  Because I am really excited about my journey to becoming C-C Lester.  To becoming the adult, who that little girl in the baggy school uniform could only dream of being.  I’m excited about the opportunity to wear the hat of writer, or author, or whatever you want to classify it as.  And to explore all the experience which that hat provides me with!

What started out as a shield, is no longer necessary as one.  Instead, for me at least, it has become both a passport, and a destination.

In a number of the comments to my ‘So am I an Author yet?’ post, people discussed the journey of the writer – from conception to publication.  Well ‘C-C Lester’ is both a passport, allowing me on my personal journey – the side of me housing my immense passion and determination to write – and also the final destination – the writer I want to be, and have always wanted to be.

Thank you for continuing to join me on that journey!

C-C xx

 

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Where do I start?

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 ….

 

C-C xx

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