As mentioned in the subject this post will contact both a book review and an interview :)
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.
Quick Five Interview
Firstly, congratulations on your first published novel!
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.