Monday, 4 February 2013

The Disappeared Blog Tour: From Inspiration to publication with C.J. Harper.

I have a very fun post to share with you today courtesy of C.J. Harper, author of The Disappeared. In this post, C.J. talks discusses the journey she's taken with The Disappeared from inspiration to publication. In this post you'll get to read about such things as tweaking and the importance of shoes.

Emily will be reviewing The Disappeared soon, but for now it's over to C.J.

The Disappeared by C.J. Harper
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: January 31st 2013. 

In a future where children are segregated into institutions that range from comfortable “Learning Communities” to prison-like “Local Academies”, seventeen-year-old Jackson is an academic high flyer, living in a top Learning Community and destined for a position in the Leadership. But when he is sent with his best friend Wilson to deliver a package to a factory block, the two boys are attacked, leaving Jackson badly beaten and Wilson dead.

Confused and upset, Jackson returns to his Learning Community only to be dismissed by his teachers who claim not to know him. Sent to an Academy, an institute set up to train factory workers, Jackson finds himself immersed in a world that couldn’t be further removed than the comfortable life he’s used to; a harsh, violent, semi-articulate society where the students have created their own hierarchy based on fighting ability.

Using his wits to survive, Jackson starts to realise that his whole life has been based on half-truths. And in order to survive he needs to expose the lies that surround the Academy and find out the truth about who he really is. As he builds alliances and begins to educate those closest to him, a plan for rebellion and escape gradually comes into shape...

Fast-paced, page-turning, moving, yet with a streak of dark humour, The Disappeared is a very British dystopia, with shades of Orwell and Huxl

Guest Post: From Inspiration to Publication with C.J. Harper.

APRIL 2009

I am a teacher. When I was training I had a vision of shining little faces looking up at me and hanging on my every word. Unfortunately, my students’ vision of their school day is that they will be able to pursue their interests without me interrupting to say Don’t stick that in the plug socket or You’ll suffocate if you keep that up and other annoying life-saving things like that . The interests that they hope to pursue are shouting out rude remarks about my clothes and tag-team wrestling. So we compromise, which means that I spend the whole lesson physically blocking the exit to make sure no one escapes, and they eat crisps and text. We get along with only an occasional disparaging remark about my blouse, just so I know that I’m not the boss of them. But you know what they say: Every cloud of food poisoning has a no-effort weight-loss lining. Thus while I am in the middle of being intimidated by a six-foot child, I have the idea for The Disappeared. Finally, a kid is giving me something back, and this time it’s not head lice or the Christmas card I gave them screwed up into a ball. Now all I need is the opportunity to write. Progress is slow because it takes all of my time and energy to do a really thorough and professional job of hating my job. There’s no time for anything else. In a life-changing moment I picture my funeral. I’m not worried that the church will be empty; I’m worried that hundreds of kids will turn up just to criticize my choice of funeral shoes. It’s time for action!


JAN 2010

I start writing The Disappeared.

JULY 2010

Finished! Except for a tiny bit of tweaking.



Finished! Except, maybe the ending needs a bit of work



Finished. Well, I’m not doing any more to it until I’ve consumed my own body weight in mince pies.

JAN 2011

Final once-over. Send extract to the agent at the top of my list.

JAN 2011

Agent requests full manuscript.

FEB 2011

Agent asks to meet me.


Can’t stop staring at my shoe collection and wondering which ones to wear for the meeting, as obviously an offer of representation is entirely dependent on my choice of footwear.

MARCH 2011

Meet charming agent who takes one look at my feet and offers to represent me.

MARCH 2011

Just when I think the universe can’t grant me anymore wishes I discover I’m pregnant. I am ecstatic and can’t stop smiling.


I am exhausted and can’t stop vomiting. Time passes in a blur of revisions and sick buckets. Eventually, I emerge with a two-book deal and a baby bump that enters the room several seconds before the rest of me.


I do a round of revisions with my lovely editor at Simon and Schuster.


I hand in the final version of The Disappeared.


Five minutes later (ish) I give birth to baby Flyn (I don’t know why I specify ‘baby’ Flyn; it would have been a bit of a shock if he’d been ‘full-grown man Flyn’ or ‘giraffe Flyn’). NB I highly recommend imminent labour as a motivational tool.

2012 Do copy edits and look at covers and do publishingy things for The Disappeared. Write sequel (The Wilderness). Play with baby Flyn. Keep calling baby Flyn, baby Flyn as if I have some kind of fear that if I don’t he will turn into a giraffe.

31st JANUARY 2013 The Disappeared is published! I am extremely proud of myself, largely for managing to not get run over before it actually happened.

So there you have it. How I got published in twenty hellish easy steps. If you are languishing around step two I suggest that you grab your pen. Even if you have to use it to stab whoever is standing in the way of your writing career first.*

*Metaphorical stab. I don’t advocate violence. It’s not like I’ve written a book about children being forced to fight. Oh. Wait. Well, even if I did, it’s entirely fictional, it’s not like I ever really made children fight to the death. And anyone who says I did has forgotten that gagging order I had issued.

 Follow C.J. on Twitter: @cjharperauthor



  1. Haha hilarious C. J! So pleased for you, can't wait to read The Disappeared x

  2. Reading authors' timelines for the books is always so interesting. Thanks for the great post! And for bringing this book to my attention, it wasn't high on my radar before but I think I'll have to check it out now.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. This was such a fun read. I love how you formatted the post! Thanks, C.J! :)

  4. I look forward to reading this book. I have read one of her previous books in this series and enjoyed it very much.


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