Hello hello hello! It is my great privilege to share this blog tour post with you! I’m very honored that Becka asked me to be on this blog tour. Just a quick note: this blog tour stop will contain an interview, book aesthetics, mood boards, a bite-size review, and a giveaway, so there’s lot of great bookish content to go around.
Without further ado, let’s get into my delightful interview with the debut author of the hour, Rebecca J. Caffery!
1. What inspired you to write Cherrington Academy (if anything?) One of the big things that inspired me to write Cherrington Academy is my love for boarding school books. I read quite a few good boarding school books in my mid-late teens and they would always inspire me to scribble down fun boarding school stories. Then, middle of the night, came this idea for Logan’s character – an anxious mess who just wants a new start, but is still a little naïve and has never had a proper friendship group or relationship. I wasn’t sure for ages what story Logan was going to take on, but then I realised that if he was looking for a fresh start that a boarding school would be a great place to do that and so Cherrington Academy was born.
2. How long did it take you to write Cherrington Academy? I originally came up with Logan’s character 2016 – I wasn’t writing seriously at this point; he was just a character sketch that I had no clue what to do with and I wasn’t even sure that I was capable of doing anything. Roll on to the end of 2017 and I’d been reading hundreds of books and I was inspired and writing short stories that weren’t really stories just word vomits on a page. I started to think about Logan again and like I said above I realised where he belonged. I wrote 45k words in about two weeks in third person POV and then I couldn’t figure out how to finish the story so I abandoned it for 7-8 months, joined the writing community online and realised that the POV was where I was going wrong so I quickly switched over to first person POV and within a few months the first draft was written. I then spent four months editing, sending to betas, rewriting and polishing before I started querying in May 2019! So all in all maybe around 18 months I’d say, but the idea had been living in my head for a lot longer than that.
3. How did you get your book deal? I actually got my book deal through a pitch event on Twitter named PitMad! It was my third time pitching my book and I was in month six of querying Cherrington so it was all feeling somewhat hopeless at this point. I’d had a full manuscript request quite early on into my querying period and then never heard back from the agent again even after a nudge or two which was such a killer on my confidence and motivation. I’d also got a like before from another agent in the PitMad before and nothing had come from it, so the December PitMad was feeling sort of like a last chance. Then in rolled SRL with a like on my post and after a tonne of research on them and finding out they were not only incredibly ethical and environmentally friendly, but they were also really big on supporting diverse authors and stories which I love. I sent in my query, then my full manuscript and bam three weeks later I had a contract through my door. As you can imagine I was crazy excited to have a book deal, honestly one of the best days in my life!
4. How quick was the turnaround time between getting the deal and being published? The turn around was around nine months, which is all going to be the exact time period between Cherrington Academy and Coming Home coming out too!
5. What has been the process of getting your debut book published? This process has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. SRL have been nothing but a joy to work with, they’ve always wanted to listen to my ideas and thoughts on how to do certain things with my book. One of my favourite parts of the process was getting to work with Hayley my cover illustrator – absolutely overjoyed that she has also signed on to do the cover for the sequel too! She was so incredible to work with as it was like a team effort in making it, except she obviously did all of the actual work I just cried over every idea we had and was mesmerised every time she sent me a new draft, but she really did let me give my artistic direction.
6. What was it like to write from the perspective of a boy character? I’ve actually never written from another perspective before. I’m not sure why I find it easier to write from a male perspective, but I most definitely do. I also prefer to read a male perspective as well, it’s pretty strange I think but I always find myself connecting more with the characters. I’ve actually just started planning/sort of writing a story with a female lead character and I’m nervous about getting it wrong even though I am female and this should come really easily to me!
7. How has been the process of writing a sequel been? I loved every moment of it. I was so enamoured with the Cherrington world that I actually wrote all 80,000 words of the first draft in just 22 days, which was an absolutely crazy time as I was working sixty hour weeks at the time! Part of me adores the sequel more than I do book one, which is ridiculous because Cherrington Academy is my absolute baby. Mostly this is because Coming Home is written from a dual point of view so it allowed to write both Logan who I absolutely adore and then writing Isaac too which was such a fun experience for me because he is so different to Logan and it allowed me to write with another voice.
9. Did you always plan a sequel or did SRL reach out to you about a potential sequel? I actually had the sequel written and edited before I’d even been signed with SRL. I was so lost in Logan’s story that there was no way that I would ever be able to just step away form my Cherrington bubble. So in the July after finishing Cherrington I started writing ‘Coming Home’ and then about six months into my contract with SRL we started talking about the sequel and I sent them the full manuscript, one month later I had a second book deal! I’m ridiculously excited to get to work on the edits for ‘Coming Home’ and can’t wait to see it next to my debut on my shelf on May 25th 2021!
10. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there? It sounds really simple and basic but keep at it. I think one of the things that I admire most about some of my favourite writers friends is that they are resilient and they are constantly grinding on all of the different projects they are working on. That grit and level of determination is something you really need as a writer, if you can commit to being like then you’ll do just fine! Enjoy your writing, write whatever you want to write and whatever you love in life, as at the end of the day it’s your story.
Thank you so much, Becka! Next, I want to share my mood board I created after reading CHERRINGTON ACADEMY!
Do you like it?? Compliments only, pls, as I am soft :):
Anyways, let’s move onto the review. As is my usual, it will be bite-size, aka the quick, spoiler-free selling points of why you should read!
- Love Triangles! (And pentagons, and squares, and…)
- Queer story that doesn’t focusing on coming out!
- Diverse cast!
- Found family!
- Set in Canada!
- Quick read!
After that, here is my book aesthetic (a series I sometimes do, where I match a celebrity outfit with the book cover). In this case, I have matched the outfit with singer Starley, as her song “Call on Me” plays a pivotal role in the book.
And, as promised, here is the giveaway! I hope you all had as much fun on this blog tour stop as I did making it. And pre-order CHERRINGTON ACADEMY now! Here are some buy links, and a link to add it to both Goodreads and the Storygraph (a Goodreads substitute):
- Amazon UK
- Amazon US
- Barnes & Noble
- Book Depository
- The Ripped Bodice (affiliate link)
- Add to Goodreads
- Add to The Storygraph (I much prefer this one, for what it’s worth!!)