Author August: CJ Skuse – Q&A

Author August- CJ Skuse Q&A

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

CJ Skuse discusses her newest book The Deviants and her career in writing.

  1. The DeviantsYour fifth book, The Deviants, is due to publish in October this year. How does it feel to look back to when Pretty Bad Things was published in comparison to now?

I feel like I’ve learned loads since writing Pretty Bad Things. Each book teaches me something completely new about writing and about myself. The Deviants taught me how to spin a tight plot I think. I don’t think any other book I’ve written has been as difficult to write, nor as rewarding but I couldn’t have written it without doing the other ones first. I’ve grown up a lot over the course of five books, that’s for sure.

2. Can you describe The Deviants in one sentence?

Five childhood friends, separated by a family tragedy, reunite as teenagers to wreak revenge on those who have made all their lives hell – with tragic consequences.


3. Monster, was a serious double-twist surprise, any unexpected surprises in The Deviants?

Yes it was. And yes, there are *cue evil arched eyebrow*


4. Do you listen to music while writing? If so do you have a playlist for each of your books?

I only listen to music when writing if I reach a point where I need music to unlock something for me, or if I’m having trouble relating the emotion of a scene. For instance, if I have a particualrly angry scene to write, I’ll chuck on a bit of angry music and I find it helps me achieve the anger very quickly. Similarly if I need to write a very sad scene, like in The Deviants, I had Explosions by Ellie Goulding on a loop to unpick the necessary sadness.

5. Who/what inspires you as a writer?

I think most authors are inspired by just general life – songs, movies, conversational exchanges, even a glimpse of a person walking along the street. I once wrote an entire novel based on someone I saw fleetingly through a restaurant window – he turned out to be Mac in Rockoholic. I’m also really inspired by bigger events (The Deviants was written primarily as a response to the Jimmy Savile scandal.) I can usually work out what I think about things when I write about them. Pretty Bad Things and Rockoholic were written as responses to bereavement. Dead Romantic was a response to heartbreak, Monster as a response to redundancy. I steal from life, same as everybody else but the majority of the time, I write to get over something that’s happened to me.

6. What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Ruth Ware’s In the Dark Dark Wood and I’m about to hop on board her second crime novel, The Woman in Cabin 10.

7. What are the three most important pieces of advice you would pass on to an aspiring writer?

“Every sentence should reveal character or advance action” – Kurt Vonnegut
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write” – Stephen King
“The powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse” – Walt Whitman

My personal thanks to CJ for taking part in Author August!

To view all guest author posts so far and for a chance to win a £40 Foyles Giftcard visit the Author August Page.

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