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Writer Wednesday: Cesca Major

Cesca Major read history at Bristol University. She went on to work as a television presenter for four years before becoming a history teacher. She has written an array of short stories along with regular reviews and features for the popular women's fiction website, Novelicious. She currently records writing tips as vlogs for the Writers & Artists website. She lives in Berkshire with her husband.

1. Why did you want to become a writer? 
 I'd always been a reader, particularly throughout university where I devoured a wide range of fiction in between writing very dry essays on the printing press of C16th/the Corn Laws/the Tudor Revolution in government. I'd always loved history for the human element, the faces behind the events, the ordinary people living through extraordinary times and I wanted to write their stories.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
The mid-part of the first draft. You know your idea, you have made some great progress, you think you have it planned and then suddenly, whoosh, you are staring at 50k and you wonder whether the idea was originally good, whether you are veering down the wrong path. Cue trauma and days of struggling to write 100 words.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing? 
For me I love the second edit. When you have the first draft and you start to pull out themes, emphasise certain elements, develop an interesting setting, kill off a character you never liked and who won't be missed. That is where you start to get excited and think one day it might be a good book.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why? 
The Literary Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows is such a favourite. It is warm, filled with gorgeous characters and wonderfully depicts a certain time in history.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why? 
 Oh I can't answer this without ruining the plot of THE SILENT HOURS. You'll know who when you finish it.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
I would definitely want to spend some time with Dumbledore. We could use that basin to look at the past together. I would love to go back and see what people were like in other centuries. It would be fascinating to sit in a Privy Council meeting with Queen Elizabeth I, or be in Henry VIII's court.

7. What can we expect next from you? 
I have just finished writing my second novel THE LAST NIGHT. It's a time slip novel set in the present and in Devon in the 1950's. It is also based on real events and is out with Corvus in 2016.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
To finish that first draft. You can't do anything without it.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you. 
I write a lot in the mornings and then tend to plan, re-read or "do publicity*" (*go on Twitter) in the afternoon or evenings. To be honest when I am nearing the deadlines all that goes out of the window and I write when I can, where I can.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 
I am mid-way through Liz Fenwick's Under a Cornish Sky - lots of secrets and a fabulous setting - thoroughly enjoying so far..!

*

An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart: 

Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past; 

Sebastien, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically; 

Tristan, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.

Follow Cesca on Twitter | Buy The Silent Hours on Amazon |
Visit her website | Watch her YouTube videos

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