A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Book Birthday Interview – Nikki Sheehan interviews CJ Skuse about her latest novel MONSTER

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At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits.

As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild.

Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

I LOVED this book! It has a really classic feel and reminded me so much of my school, except, unfortunately for the super-hot boy. And the fact that I wasn’t within sniffing distance of becoming head girl. Anyway, I really had nothing to complain about compared with the terrors that Ceejay puts her poor characters through while they’re stuck in the sinister Bathory school over the snowy Christmas hols, including – and this is something to truly chill the heart of any teen – no wifi!

I’d better not say too much more except that it’s the perfect scary read as the nights draw in and the mind turns to Monsters… of every type.

So in the spirit of not giving away too much,  here are a few random questions that I asked Ceejay that had little or nothing to do with the book:

What is your first memory?

Sliding down our carpeted staircase on my stomach when I was two.

What is your most overused word?


What did you buy with your first advance?

I paid off my credit card.

If you could steal something and get away with it, what would it be?

Taron Egerton’s heart. Or one of those giant gummy bears from Selfridges.

 What is your favourite part of the day?

When it ends.

What sort of a kid were you at school?

A bit of an average Joe. I wasn’t picked last for team games, but I wasn’t picked first either. Probably fourth or fifth.

 If the house caught fire what would you take?

My dog. Everything else can burn.

What is your favourite adverb?


 Editing – love or hate?


 Where do you write?

At my desk or in bed.

 Plotter or pantser?

A plotter with big pants.

 What’s your favourite joke?

The one about the nun in the bath.

 How many times a day do you check Twitter?

Literally about 1,000 times.

 What one thing should aspiring authors know?

The number of a good psychiatrist.

 What do you want your readers to take away from your books?

A small feeling of revulsion.

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C.J. Skuse

C.J. Skuse, author of PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC, DEAD ROMANTIC and MONSTER, was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures on the MA in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University.
C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Continue reading…


“It’s so good, I’d even recommend it to people I don’t like.” — Kevin Brooks, award-winning author of The Bunker Diary for Pretty Bad Things

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Nikki Sheehan

Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist and went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in habits. Her writing was first published when she was seven and her teacher sent a poem she had written into a magazine. She always knew she wanted to be a writer, but, for some reason she can’t remember she did a degree in linguistics followed by psychology. Nikki’s first job was subtitling the Simpsons. She then retrained as a journalist and wrote features about child psychology for parenting magazines and the national press. Continue reading…


“. . . a wonderful, magical tale that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.” — Rachel Hamilton, author of The Case of the Exploding Loo for Who Framed Klaris Cliff?


This entry was posted on September 24, 2015 by and tagged , .

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