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August 13, 2010

Celia Rees: 10 Random Facts About Me

Posted by Marisa Emralino


Did you know that Celia Rees --- author of numerous YA titles like PIRATES!, SOVAY, and the newly released THE FOOL'S GIRL --- is left-handed, or that Robert Cormier's classic I AM THE CHEESE is one of her favorite books?  Today, she pays the Blog a visit to share ten completely random, but oh-so-interesting facts about herself, including who inspired her first novel and how she celebrates after finishing each of her books.

1. I am a Gemini.

2. I am left-handed.

3. I did not begin writing when I was a child or a teenager. I’d rather tell or act out stories rather than write them down. I did not start writing until I was in my thirties.

4. I was an English teacher in a secondary school and my students were not only my inspiration, they became characters in my first book.

5. I never read my novels, cover to cover, once they are published.

6. I am thinking of taking up scuba diving because it is something that I have always wanted to do.

7. When I’m working on a novel, I always try to visit the place where that book is set. When I was writing SOVAY, I went to Paris. The photograph below was taken in the bookshop, Shakespeare & Co, where Earnest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald bought their books. There’s a torn photo on the wall of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath standing outside the shop. It is a place of pilgrimage for writers and readers alike.

8. I keep a scrapbook for each book that I write. I choose the type of book I use to suit the novel. I put down my first inspiration and ideas, as well as any images that sparked the idea and carry on sticking in notes, photographs, postcards, maps, plans, tickets, programmes, tracking the book’s development through the first draft and the re-writes. I finish with the cover and the date when the final draft was sent off.

Celia Rees.JPG9. When I’ve finished a book, I buy myself jewellery that has something to do with the book, or sometimes my husband will buy a piece for me. He bought me a hare brooch made from silver and gold for WITCH CHILD and SORCERESS --- the hare is my totem animal. For PIRATES!, I bought a ruby pendant and ruby earrings (well, maybe not real rubies, but red and shining); a diamond ring for SOVAY (OK, not a real diamond but very sparkly) and for THE FOOL'S GIRL, a cimaruta, an ancient Italian charm against witchcraft.

10. I never tell anyone which of my books is my favourite.

Ten of my favourite books by other people are…

3. ALL THE PRETTY HORSES - Cormac McCarthy
5. JANE EYRE - Charlotte Brontë
6. ALIAS GRACE - Margaret Atwood
7. THE OWL SERVICE - Alan Garner
8. I AM THE CHEESE - Robert Cormier
9. HOLES - Louis Sachar
10. RIDDLEY WALKER - Russell Hoban

 -- Celia Rees