Hi, everyone! So I’m back from Greece (I’ll have a recap post up here soon, but long story short, it was AMAZING & a literal dream come true for me), and super let-jagged…but I’m pleased to say that today, I have the absolute honor of interviewing C.G. Drews! You probably know her from her hilarious, down-to-earth blog Paper Fury. (And if you haven’t read it, then what are you waiting for!?) Or you might know her from her exceptional bookish photography on Instagram. I’ve admired/followed Cait for years now, and I’m so, so, SO excited for her upcoming debut novel, A Thousand Perfect Notes.
An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
- What inspired A Thousand Perfect Notes? And in general, what inspires your writing?
Ooh I get ideas from everywhere, which is the cheater’s answer haha. But also kind of true still?! Books and music and “what if” questions constantly inspire me, and also history and retellings! I feel like ATPN tumbled together from a collision of things I love, things in my life, and things that make me think! I have sneaky threads of a genderbent Cinderella retelling + some nods to a specific historic classical composer (I won’t say which, for spoilers sake, but you’ll know when you read it) so they were the first building blocks. Then I wanted to write about a pianist (I play too!) and discuss mental health and self-worth. So these all tied together into a bittersweet little story of my heart.
- If you could sum up your debut in three words, what would they be?
Intense. Aching. Bittersweet.
- Do you ever hide references to your favorite books/movies/pop culture in your writing? Anything readers should be looking out for?
Absolutely! ATPN is full of references to a classical composer (annoying @ me for not saying exactly who, I’m so sorry!) and Cinderella. There’s also a few scenes with cake which are a direct reference to my own blog. I couldn’t resist. 😉
- How (or why) did you begin writing? Did you face many struggles in the writing and publishing process?
My writing origin story is VERY inspiring (ha) and VERY humble (ha ha) and can be summarised by the fact that, when I was 12, my little sister started writing some books and got far too much attention for it. I joined in and just never stopped. I finished my first “real” novel (that I didn’t immediately staple together and horrifically illustrate, ahem) at 15 and started working seriously towards the dream of being an author. It’s everything I’ve been working towards for 9 years now.
The hardest parts of getting published for me where (a) actually believing in myself that I was good enough to do this! (b) all the waiting with querying and then being on submission eep, it is so stressful, and lastly (c) hoping people like my stories. Fingers crossed!
- If you could give your younger self any writing advice, what would it be?
Probably DON’T FREAK OUT SO MUCH, which my younger self would’ve just laughed at and continued recreationally freaking out. But so much energy is wasted, honestly. More writing, less worrying, Younger!Cait.
- Are there any reoccurring themes/concepts/imagery that often turns up in your novels?
I have a lot of themes in this book about self-worth and believing you deserve more than your current situation (especially if it’s a horrible situation you’re in). And I love imagery so there are lots of lines about wings, actually, because my protagonist Beck longs to escape. And you can see that reflected on the cover, which makes me really happy!
- What’s your favorite thing about A Thousand Perfect Notes?
Okay this is HARD, thanks, Kara. (Haha.) I honestly love my characters a lot. They go through so much but Beck stays soft (despite a cruel upbringing) and his little sister Joey stays spicy and terrifying (despite a neglected childhood) and August keeps bringing Beck cake whenever he’s sad (which is true romance).
- In the future, is there anything you’d like to try writing? A new genre, type of character?
I’d definitely love to write fantasy someday as well, perhaps magical realism too?! I have an unquenchable need to write about dragons!
Thanks so much for the fabulous answers, Cait!
C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her piano and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novels to make you laugh or cry (or both). She never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast.