GETTIN’ LUCKY: An interview with C.J. Flood, author of INFINITE SKY

Infinite Sky_300We’re talking with C.J. Flood, author of INFINITE SKY which is debuting today. I didn’t have the opportunity to read all of the novel, but what I’ve read so far has me hooked. Congratulations, Chelsea!

When Iris’s mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, goes off the rails and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, it’s the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to Iris it’s an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and discovers that home can be something as simple as a carved-out circle in a field full of corn…

What was your inspiration for Infinite Sky, and can you talk a bit about your path to publication?

Infinite Sky draws a lot from my adolescence. There’s a lot in there about my parents’ split, and my relationship with my older brother, and Silverweed Farm in the novel, is based on my dad’s house. As for my publication journey, I started writing seriously when I was 21, and had my first short story published in a local magazine soon after. I kept writing short stories, and starting novels, and occasionally published a few little things along the way, but nothing much really happened until I decided to do an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. My writing improved here, and I started a novel, and for the first time I could tell I would finish it. This one actually had a story! I met my agent in the spring, and signed with her six months later. Another year on, she sold my book. So things moved quite fast towards the end of the journey.

I’m wondering if your MA in creative writing helped you with the publishing process? Or was it a whole new learning curve?

The MA focused more on getting a deal. They introduced us to agents and publishers who told us lots of key information about what they were looking for, and the etiquette of getting a deal. But as for the publishing process, I’d say it was a whole new learning curve. I didn’t have much of an idea about how any of it worked when I got my deal, which is why I’m so grateful to be involved with The Lucky 13s. They are the kindest, most talented group. I hope you are finding the same with OneFour Kidlt.

I am finding that to be very true of my awesome group. As the OneFours are all in various stages of publication, various stages of panic/joy/learning curves, etc., so can you tell us what your editorial process was like?

Wonderful. I get on very well with my editor, and we seemed to have a remarkably similar vision of the book. There were only the tiniest disagreements, and they were resolved very easily.

So glad you had an easy time of it. Having a fabulous book probably didn’t hurt 🙂 Something that I found particularly interesting are the Travellers. The Traveller lifestyle is becoming more well known in America due to shows like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Gypsy Sisters. But you can probably see from the  titles that those shows are pretty outrageous. Can you talk about the gypsy culture and how you came to write about it?

Excellent!  I hope that means my book will sell over there too. That’s my dream. And yes, these shows are outrageous. I tried to present a more moderate portrayal in
Infinite Sky. I decided to include a family of travellers, because the story centred so much around Silverweed Farm, and so I wanted to think of a conflict that would centre around the same. A conflict over land was perfect, and so I began researching Irish Travellers. I decided to have an Irish Traveller family because I have Irish heritage. Also, Romany Gypsies are more often portrayed, so there was that too.

And finally, as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

Books I loved as a kid were Anne Frank’s diary, What Katy Did, The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five books and Charlotte’s Web.

chelseaC.J. Flood graduated from the UEA Creative Writing MA in 2010, where she won the Curtis Brown Award. She blogs as a member of the Lucky 13’s and at cjflood.blogspot.co.uk, and tweets as @cjflood_author. INFINITE SKY is her debut novel and she is currently working on her next book in Bristol.

Tracy Holczer lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, and two rather fluffy dogs named Buster and Molly. She has a deep love for the mountains where she grew up so she writes them into her stories. THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY (Putnam/Penguin Spring 2014) was written in praise of both nature and family, and all that can be found if you’re willing to hunt for treasure.
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