Beginner’s Pluck: Cesca Major

Cesca became addicted to writing whilst at university.

Beginner’s Pluck: Cesca Major

But, following an early ambition, became a freelance TV presenter, working for ITV West. She left, and became a history teacher, because she wanted a more regular income to fund her writing.

She taught at Bradfield College for nine years, before giving up teaching to write full-time.

“I’m still a house mistress,” she says. “I miss teaching. The teens were great. But I’m their writer-in-residence, giving creative writing workshops in prep schools.” The idea for the debut came from her work. Teaching WW2, she heard of a massacre in a French village. She researched in France, read loads of books, and took three years to get the novel right.

Meanwhile, she had a short story published and was runner up in a Daily Mail completion for a best opening paragraph.

“Things like that cheer you up,” she says.

Cesca now writes romantic fiction alongside her historical work, as Rosie Blake. How to Stuff up Christmas has just been released.

Who is Cesca Major?

Date/place of birth:

November 17, 1981/Exeter. “My father was a conservative MP. We moved around a lot, but lived longest in Portsmouth.”

Education:

Downe House: Bristol University, History.

Home:

Bradfield College, Berkshire.

Family:

Husband, Ben, a vet. “And the ex battery hens we’ve saved through the British Hen Welfare Trust.”

The Day Job:

House mistress in a boarding school.

Interests:

Playing lacrosse, golf and tennis. Going to the cinema.

Favourite Writers:

Hannah Richell; Natasha Solomons; Jilly Cooper; Enid Blyton.

Second Novel:

The Last Night, based on a true story. It’s set in 1950s England.

Top Tip:

“Work in hour-long chunks. Then give yourself an hour off.”

Twitter:

@cescawrites

The Debut:

The Silent Hours; Corvus, €8.99/Kindle, €1.38

Sebastian, a young Jewish banker has to flee his French village in wartime, leaving Isabelle, the love of his life behind.

The village isn’t under German occupation, and young Tristan’s family seem unaffected by the war.

But what happened in the village to make Isabelle’s mother Adeline lose her voice? What are the memories that haunt her?

The Verdict: Stunning, but sad. Gives a fresh view of wartime France.

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