Castley Cresswell is sixteen. She lives with her three brothers and two sisters in a big house in the woods. Her mom doesn't speak and her dad keeps telling her that God hates the world.
Castley can't bring herself to hate the world. She likes the woods, for one thing. School can be fun, sometimes. And then there's boys. God definitely hates fun and boys.
Castley loves her brothers and sisters, too. Even if they annoy her. Even if they are scared to death of Father. Even if they're too scared to run.
Father wants Castley and her siblings to stay in the family forever. And he'll do whatever it takes to keep them there, even if it means the Cresswell kids never get to grow up at all . . .
What if survival means Castley must leave her brothers and sisters behind?
If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
God. I reckon he’d be pretty good and he’s got the best sense of humour in the universe.
What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
Since my husband Alan died last year I’ve been travelling a lot because I don’t really know where to go—it’s a tough thing to figure out when the place you want to be doesn’t exist anymore. So I’ve been to New York City, Charleston, Asheville, Phoenix, Livermore, Los Angeles, San Diego and now I’m on my way back to London. Wherever I go, I check there’s a desk in the room with me and I write every morning. Sometimes the words come easy but more often it’s a struggle and I’m romancing the story—I take it on walks and into the shower, feed it tea, read it books, play it music and if it’s just not working, I throw it’s underwear out onto the street and write I hate you in lipstick on all the mirrors.
What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Ugh, plotting, by which I mean having a plot. I would much rather just write and see where I end up. I have to work very hard to keep myself from getting lost, rather as I do in life.
When and why did you first start writing?
First I started wronging and then to fix it I had to start writing.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The thing about books is they’re more of a layering of ideas and failed stories, so it’s hard to define a single source, but the very, very first scene I ever wrote for The Cresswell Plot was from Caspar’s perspective and was about him shovelling snow from driveways after dark as a way of reaching out to people outside of his cult-like family.
Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
Yes, of course. I’m reading The Secret History as a comp title for an adult book I’m drafting. I actually DNF’d the novel last year and now that I am F-ing it, I am like, how did I miss that this is MAGIC?
Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
On a practical level, write every day, research writing and the industry on the Internet, but the number one thing is YOU ALREADY ARE A WRITER. Don’t let anyone tell you different and DONT GIVE UP. Write everyday knowing that you will get there, because you will if you keep going.