If life experience is a key element to quality writing, 27-year-old C-C Lester is more than equipped. Hailing from Berkshire, England, life pushed her out of the nest during her teen years and set her feet upon a path that extends beyond seas and across borders. Orphaned at 19, she sold her parent’s home and used the funds to carve a new chapter in life; one that started with an education. Lester pursued a Masters in Broadcast Journalism where her passion for writing and adventure intertwined.
“So far most of my published work is on websites and in newspapers,” she said. “I wrote an Op-Ed piece which got published in the New York Times, and was the Olympic Correspondent for Active.com during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.”
Truly, those are only a taste of her achievements. Other assignments delivered her straight into the heart of the stories she wrote. Lester traveled to South Africa to report on how the AIDs epidemic left countless children orphaned, and to the Philippines where she investigated the limitations upon freedoms of the press. Then, in 2007, she was recognized as Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Ultimate Woman of the Year.
“I hadn’t realized I’d won, so turned up to the award ceremony with no makeup on,” Lester confessed. “And I ended up sitting between Jordan and Peter Andre, and Ashley Jensen!”
In spite of her successes in journalism, Lester had another dream: to become an author. After completing her Masters, Lester used the rest of the money left over from selling her parent’s house to take a sabbatical. She flew to Australia, New Zealand and Figi, then to Patagonia. Her adventures tapped into an active imagination and thrill-seeker’s spirit that began to form the first pages of her novel series, Flicker.
“I combined the idea with my own gap year experiences [and] with sub-plots of grief and rejection. That’s where Flicker really took shape. It’s a very personal book, and probably the most autobiographical of my novels,” Lester said. “Though the more revisions of it I do, and the further I take the story, the less of myself I see in it, which is a good thing! I think the key to good fiction writing is to use touches of what you know, but mix it with hard concrete imagination.”
It worked. She caught the attention of an agent at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop who are currently pushing Flicker toward the light of publishing. Since then, Lester has started multiple writing projects including a new book tentatively christened End of Grace (a satire based on an indebted society), and a third novel called My Ten Future Lives which she’s currently translating into a screenplay.
“I want to be realistic about seeing writing as a future career,” Lester stated. She had invested years in her endeavor to bear the title of published author, and now that dream has begun to take hold. Even on certain days, when the long and meticulous road to signing a book deal feels more like wandering through no man’s land, Lester still pushes forward. She has to. Writing is no longer just a choice, but an arduous need that stirs inside of her.
“I remember being on a chicken bus across Guatemala, writing for perhaps an hour or two, when I suddenly realized I’d been absolutely beaming, and had been for some time,” she said. “That was the moment I realized I NEEDED to write. It made me so happy. And I loved my characters so much that I genuinely couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to them. I like the way writing a book can feel like you’re reading a book but choosing the outcome.”
Lester may have a taste for travel, but you can follow her road to authorship easy enough (without having to pay airfare). Her blog, The Elementary Circle, features clips of her writing as well as personal posts based on her experiences as an “Almost There Author”.