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Blog Tour | Book Review & Interview | Cherrington Academy by Rebecca J Caffery

As mentioned in the subject this post will contact both a book review and an interview :)

Book Review

SRL Publishing
Published August 25th, 2020
272 Pages

Logan’s the new boy at Cherrington Academy, a boarding school that’s promised to provide him with a safe haven away from homophobic bullies and neglectful parents. He’s left all that 2000 miles away.

What he doesn’t expect Cherrington to provide is; a bunch of friends who want to adopt him, a mysterious roommate who’s never home and a gorgeous guy with a secret crush on him.

His perfect new life begins to unravel when he discovers a web of secrets amongst his friends. Plus his roommate? Partial to blackmail. That gorgeous guy? Well, he’s taken by one of Logan’s now closest friends.

Can Logan shut off his feelings to protect his new friendships and the happiness he’s found at Cherrington Academy? Or is love really just all-consuming?- Goodreads

What can I say about this book other than how great it was. What I enjoyed the most about this book was the characters. They were well written and most importantly they had depth, they added to not just Logan’s (MC) story but to the world building and they had some development.

There is a lot that goes on within the novel, however, it does feel over-complicated nor does it feel as if the author threw in a lot of fluff to keep the book going. Everything connected and made sense (including the blackmail) and I am glad it did because when I read the summary I was a bit concerned about that.

I liked the pace of the novel. For most contemporaries, things tend to be drawn out due to the drama. And although there is drama in the novel, it moves very well. The romance was not bad either. But the characters, all of them, were fantastically written.

Overall,

3.5 Pickles

Quick Five Interview

Firstly, congratulations on your first published novel!

Image Taken via Goodreads

How was the process leading up to this moment? What positives, what difficulties did you face either writing, promoting, or publishing your book?

I think I have genuinely been so lucky with publishing that it has pretty much been an absolute ball of a time for me. I was incredibly blessed to be signed with SRL Publishing who have been the most amazing publishers to work with. They’ve listened to every idea that I’ve had for my story from the actual writing and editing of it, to the front cover and to letting me have a ridiculously long acknowledgements page. In terms of actually writing the story,

I loved it so much. The main difficulties that I faced were during the first stage of writing. I had all the ideas and an outline and character profiles ready to go, but I had no clue where to start.

Turns out the starting of it was definitely the hardest thing for me. I started writing in third person POV and about 45k words in I realised it wasn’t the right fit for my book, but I had no clue how to rectify it or change it. So instead I abandoned the book for around 7-8 months until I had a new plan and realized that I needed to move over to first person POV.

Some of the positives that I’ve faced were the absolute joy in working with my cover designer for Cherrington, Hayley is an angel and I’m always going to be so impressed with it and grateful for her! In terms of writing, damn I enjoyed every bit I can’t lie, I am so crazy that I absolutely just loved writing the book as it was my very first book baby and I just fell in love with the characters and the story.

 It is noted in your bio that it was not until you moved to Canada that you were inspired to write Cherrington Academy. What exactly in that change of environment or in general inspired you?

My study abroad year in Canada in 2017/18 was exactly what I needed, without actually knowing it was what I needed. I was incredibly anxious about moving to another country for a whole year with no family and friends close by, but it was the best thing I ever did. It bought me completely out of my comfort zone which led me to feel like I could pretty much do anything. That included the book that I’d been longing to write forever.

I also thinking living in a North American style dormitory with a roommate and a dining plan and everything else that comes with that environment also really inspired the boarding school element of Cherrington Academy as it helped me to feel like I have a decent experience of living in one.

I was also just surrounded by amazing people that I became incredibly good friends with and still am even though I no longer live there. The whole environment of Canada just inspired me to be creative and really get stuck into writing Cherrington Academy.

How do you separate being a writer and a reader when you are writing your book?

This is such a good question. I feel like I have two answers for it. Sometimes I definitely think that you need to separate yourself from being a reader and a writer, especially during the editing stages as I want to be focused a lot on format, spelling, grammar, whether the story actually makes any sense.

However, when writing the story and especially when planning the story, I really do feel like being a reader and a writer is important.

As I want to be writing a book that is readable, that an audience is going to love and is actually a proper story, so I do feel like being a writer and a reader is necessary during these stages of writing my book.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in the next five years?

In the next five years I would love to have three or four books out. With Cherrington and the sequel Coming Home both coming out within the next year I definitely think that this is a good start towards this goal of at least three, maybe even four books being published.

I would also really like to have my writer website up and running, as I have dramatically failed at getting that going again this year. Another thing I’d really like to be doing more of as a writer, is writing short stories! I wrote my first one this year and submitted it to a competition and although I didn’t win, I had such a ball writing it that I’d love to write some more.

I also wrote a really random poem this year, it was very heartfelt and somewhat emotional, but again I also really loved dabbling in poetry so maybe I’ll even write some more poetry in the next five years.

Finally, what do you want readers to take with them when they finish your book?

I really hope they take my book as a little slice of life into a mid-late teen’s life. When writing this book, I really wanted it to be real and gritty and not a book that just portrayed teens lives to be fun and easy and just all about love being simple. Because it isn’t. I hope that came across; I really did. I wanted to portray LGBT characters in real situations, rather than Cherrington just being a coming out story.

I also wanted to deal with some of the stigma around male mental health and emotions and showing that there is support out there and that you should not be afraid to cry as a man or reach out for therapy.

Twitter Goodreads

Quick five© with Cheyenne Raine

Courtesy of Cheyenne Raine

Name: Cheyenne Raine

Twitter: @rainepoetry

Website: http://www.rainepoetry.com

Books: maroon daydreams, One Hundred and One: A Collection of Poetry, lavender petals and a wild heart, charcoal thunderstorms

Buy: Amazon & Website

This woman is a sweetheart and as author her words are powerful with emotion, imagery and thought.

There is something Ms. Cheyenne mentions as a side note during our interview. I was already captivated by her but after reading her note, the support I have for her will be endless. This is extremely important and I want you to note this because its her style and it shows a side of the poet that you may not see within her poetry. 

i use lower case letters because it reminds me of how small i am. the only times i use capital letters is when mentioning God, or referring to a subject that is meant to be capitalized, like places and people (sometimes). in my most recent collection, charcoal thunderstorms, i used all lower case, even though i had originally wanted the titles to be uppercase, because it was a youthful piece of work, and being young is like being small, everything around you seems so big and wonderful and mighty. 

Why did you choose poetry as a way to express yourself? What about it makes you feel that you are able to convey your emotions better as compared to other artistic mediums?

i chose poetry because it was the easiest and most rewarding thing to do, when i first began in my second grade classroom. i feel that it allows me to be as vague or as detailed as i wish to be, and i’m able to be unfiltered and raw or dreamy and magical. it’s like a power. i have the ability to craft my words into whatever i imagine and want them to be.

What is your process? How do you get in the mood to write? How do you make it

Self- Published
2017
102 Pages

flow smoothly?

usually, poems tend to come to me at all times of the day. so, i have plenty of napkins, receipts, sticky notes and sides of the paper scribbled on with little fragments of my thoughts. it’s just a matter of sitting down to compose the full piece. also, events and emotions, places and memories tend to influence much of my work. i’m always in the mood to write, i carry a sharpie pen with me everywhere! writing is more than a hobby, for me. as for the flow, well, sometimes my rough drafts come out perfectly, and other times i have to move words and phrases around until i think it’s perfect. it’s just a matter of spilling and playing with my words.

What are you currently reading? And is it good?

i am currently reading interview with the vampire by anne rice. her work is beyond captivating! the language draws you in and the storyline is so beautifully made, one of my favorite classics that i’ve read so far, this year!

If you had to describe your style of poetry in one sentence what would it be and why?

i would describe it as: a carefully and wild arrangement of words that echo in one’s thoughts. why? because i’ve grown careful with my wording and my topics, my flow and my outcomes. i choose an echo, because it’s not heavy, it is soft. and, from what i’m told, it’s a unique and elegant voice that people remember like a summer ocean breeze. gentle.

Self-Published
2017
140 Pages

Finally, where do you see yourself in the written world, be it poetry or another genre, a year from now?

a year from now? ah. i believe that i will still be hooked on poetry, but, introducing short stories and prose, more often. like my first book, maroon daydreams, it was poetry and prose. now, charcoal thunderstorms, my second book, is poetry and short stories. maybe a few years from now i’ll experiment more, but for now, i am thrilled to even have my poetic voice out in this wild earth!

 

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Quick Five© with Tendai Huchu

Courtesy of Tendai Huchu
      Courtesy of Tendai Huchu

 

Name: Tendai Huchu

Twitter: @TendaiHuchu

Website: http://www.tendaihuchu.com

Books: The Hairdresser of Harare & The Maestro, The Magistrate and The Mathematician 

Buy: Amazon & Barnes and Noble  

Reading books written by men is a completely different experience from reading a book written by a women. Not to say that one is greater than the other but reading books by the opposite sex is an experience in its own.

I love when I have the opportunity to interview male authors. So I welcome all my readers to this wonderful interview with Tendai Huchu; an author who writes easily through his heart.

Enjoy.

What inspired your first novel “The Hairdresser of Harare”?

Weaver Press Published Oct. 12, 2010 190 Pages
                Weaver Press
       Published Oct. 12, 2010
                  190 Pages

I can probably better describe the process of writing the book than pinpoint the “inspiration”. It was Christmas day 2009 and I was at a friend’s place, sponging a free meal, when I heard Vimbai’s voice in my head. I borrowed her laptop and began banging away – fourteen days later, red-eyed, weary and under threat of eviction from her couch, I emerged with the first draft. It was a spontaneous event.

Why did you feel you needed to write this book? Was it because the story was missing in the world of literature or because you had a need to let it out?

I am sure some would argue that writers all circle the same few universal themes so there is nothing really missing in the WoL. Part of me thinks the reason I do this is the same reason dogs pee on lampposts, I just can’t help it.

Do you feel that it is more pressure on you as a writer for accuracy to write about a female main character? If so, why? If not, why not?

   Amabooks Publishers    Published Dec. 1, 2014               284 Pages
Amabooks Publishers
Published Dec. 1, 2014
284 Pages

I had a crutch when I wrote the story. I used Sarah Ladipo-Manyika’s wonderful book In Dependence as my metronome, so I would write a chapter of my book, read a chapter of her’s and alternate all the way through, that way she tempered my voice. Luckily, we have become friends and Sarah has not sued me, yet. I am very aware that I don’t do female characters well (like most male writers) but the solution isn’t to write navel gazing Bro Lit.  Instead one should read more female authors, try to figure out what they are doing, and you really are spoilt for choice there, then maybe compare that to some of the crap male authors are writing and figure out what the potential pitfalls are. I can’t say I felt pressure, but I am very aware that if your characters are not believable, if they lack a soul, then the whole project collapses, so it was essential to get Vimbai right. Luckily, I also had a female editor, so that second pair of eyes caught some of my errors and helped me iron them out.

As an author of color do you feel it is your duty to write diverse books? Specifically to have main characters who are non-white?

I’m Zimbabwean, and within that literary tradition, this question doesn’t even factor. Small as it may be, our canon is mostly of books by black writers writing about black experiences and characters.   However I live in Scotland now and am aware that there is a lack of representation in this society (across many different media) of non-white characters, which is not healthy for art and society at large. This opens up a very interesting and rewarding space for writers to mine and I think, to an extent, this is happening today. I don’t think one can approach this ideologically as a “duty”, rather it is an organic and necessary exploration of our common humanity, which literature as an art form does so well.

Finally, how would you describe your success? What makes you feel that your books are a success?

I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly successful. What drives me on is the hope that if I work just a little bit harder, study the craft with a little more diligence, then maybe one day I will become a better writer. Perhaps this is beyond me, I don’t know, but it is that hope that keeps me going. I’m not sure what matrix one can use to gauge success in literature – sales, critical acclaim, longevity? – but my job is to wake up each morning, stare at the white blank page and shed blood on it. Outside of that, nothing else really matters.

 

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