Monday, May 7, 2007

[Interview] Cindy Jefferies

Even as a small child, Cindy Jefferies wanted to write. "As soon as I learned to read I wanted to write stories," she says on her website. "I was always telling tall tales to my two younger sisters, and I still have a 'newspaper' I wrote about my older brother's friends, including Colin Flooks, who later became the famous rock drummer Cozy Powell.”

She says at school a teacher called Janet Hurst nurtured her love of literature. "I also used to write plays, and one about Charles the Second was performed by my class at primary school. My favorite lessons were always English, History and Art."

But it wasn't until after leaving school, raising a family, working in a variety of jobs, and setting up her own business that she decided to make a serious effort to write. "I started grumbling to my family about still being a frustrated writer. My youngest son suggested I wrote a book for him, so I did."

The result was an historical fantasy, based on the old farmhouse the family lives in, and the ancient standing stones at Avebury. "I loved doing the research, and turning it into a fantastical story. That story became Sebastian's Quest, and was published by Barry Cunningham, the person who discovered J.K. Rowling. I sold my business and concentrated on writing."

She says her personal experiences have given her a huge store of memories to draw on when she writes. Her latest novel, Christmas Stars, draws on her musical background and is part of Fame School, a series of novels for children, about the dreams and ambitions of a group of aspiring pop stars. The novels are set at Rockley Park, a school for talented young performers.

So far the Fame School series is made up of Solo Star, Reach for the Stars, Rising Star, Secret Ambition, Rivals, Lucky Break, and Tara's Triumph. "It's fiction for children, and is about popular music. It's pretty similar to the last seven books I've written. The characters are the same, and so is the setting," she says.

Christmas Stars came out at the end of October in England and will be available shortly in Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, and Australia. The series is also having great success in Spain.

Cindy Jefferies' work has also appeared in The Kingfisher Book of Horse and Pony Stories, a collection of exhilarating and moving stories about horses. "I also wrote a rather bleak poem for the anthology Lines in the Sand [a collection of over one hundred and fifty poems, stories and pictures about war and peace]," she says.


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