Today on my blog, it is my turn on the YA Shot blog tour. My special guest today is author, Nicci Cloke and I’ve asked her a few questions based on her most recent release Close Your Eyes.
Your book Close your eyes is based around the cliques of school: were you in a clique at school and if so which one?
No, not really – in some ways I was a bit like Aisha and Ash, the twins in the novel: quite bookish and not exactly one of the ‘cool kids’ but still with quite a varied group of friends. I did go through a stage of attempting to be one of the Dance Club girls but I have very little natural rhythm! In Sixth Form I was the editor of the newspaper which is probably the group that felt most ‘me’.
What was the inspiration for your characters in Close Your Eyes – are they based off of people you know or even yourself?
Remy is definitely based on a boy I knew (and had a crush on!) growing up, but the others just have little traits and features borrowed from friends or people from school. Aisha is probably the closest to me – I really sympathise with the struggle she’s having figuring out who she is and what she wants; the pressure to do well at school and the fear of disappointing people but also wanting to have fun and sometimes behaving irresponsibly.
Close Your Eyes is about a school shooting, what was your inspiration behind this?
I started writing the novel just after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon. I remember reading about it and just being really struck afresh by how horrific it was and how often we’re hearing about school shootings now. I think we’ve become a little numb to it; I don’t think we feel the shock we did after Columbine. That’s why I wanted to write about it in a UK school, even though our gun laws mean it’s so much more unlikely it would happen here – I hoped that unexpected change of setting might jarr enough to remind us how terrifying and tragic every single incident like this really is.
I’m also really interested in story-telling and how different people view a single event and how that distorts our telling of it. All of the characters who have a voice in the novel feel in some way responsible for the shooting and each of their versions of it are in some way true – but none are the whole truth. It’s only by looking at all of them together that we get something even approaching the full picture and can perhaps begin to understand.
(And a little light hearted one at the end) In your author bio it says you were once a cocktail waitress, if you could create a bookish cocktail based off of any book, which book would you choose and what would it contain?
Oooh that’s a good one! I read and loved Lydia Ruffles’s The Taste of Blue Light last year, so maybe I’d make something for the main character Lux (although it’d probably be more responsible of me to make her a cup of tea and give her a hug)… Definitely vodka, and it would need to be blue so some blue curacao, topped up with soda to keep it tasting quite clean and bitter (which is somehow how I imagine blue light to taste). I was going to say I’d garnish it with a snowdrop but a cursory Google suggests that might make it ever so slightly poisonous!
Thank you to Nicci for being a wonderful guest.
You can catch Nicci at YA Shot this April. If you want to get tickets for YA Shot 2018, you can get your tickets here. And if you want to purchase a copy of Nicci’s book Close Your Eyes (Hot Key Books) then you can here.