Friday, 8 February 2013

Self-Pubbed Hub #7 - C.J. Duggan & The Boys of Summer!

Emily reviewed The Boys of Summer yesterday, and today author C.J. Duggan has stopped by to talk about her writing life, the self-publishing process and The Boys of Summer.

This one sounds like such a cute read!

The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan  ||  Release date: December 2012 

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.
To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

It will be a summer she will always remember.


C.J. Duggan talks The Boys of Summer...

Hi C.J! Can you tell me about your self-publishing experience so far – the high points and low points (if any!) and also let me know on a scale of one to ten just how much work is involved in getting your book out there. 

I made the decision to self-publish and I have never looked back. It’s more than just writing a story, doing a spell check and pressing a button. The Boys of Summer was two years in the making. It was something I wanted to get right so in order to do that I had to research, build an audience and make sure the result was polished.  I also work with a graphic designer, formatter, editor, copy editor - an entire team. The difference with self-publishing is that I have complete creative control and I love that, at the end of the day whatever I produce has been because I have whole heartedly fought for it to be that way. It’s very liberating as an Author to have that kind of freedom.  It wasn’t an immediate thing, but one day something did click that made me think that I was going to take my writing to the next level and self-publish. The day I decided to ‘own what I do’ was a day that changed my life.

 I wrote and rewrote The Boys of Summer about a dozen times through my own edits, substantive edits, copy edits, and proofreads. For me it’s hard to rate. Even though it is, without question, a lot of hard work, I never look at it as something to complain about. I am so passionate about what I am doing and I am so busy, I seldom get a chance to think of it any other way than an utter blessing to do what I love. Yes, there are some really bad days like with anything. Self-Publishing is certainly not all sunglasses and autographs, it’s hours and hours of work, of being in the zone neglecting loved ones. Yes, we put our own money into it, our time in creating, producing, publishing and promoting our work is also all on our shoulders, it definitely has its challenges. However, the feeling of seeing something transform before your eyes and then have readers emotionally connect with your story, it wouldn’t matter if I had to claw my way through finishing it, that’s the ultimate pay off.

I like the idea of self-publishing, but it does seem like a lot of work.  What made you take the self-pubbed route with The Boys of Summer?

It’s such an exciting time to be a writer with the advance and demand of technology. It is easy to become overwhelmed and question: “how am I going to be part of such a massive thing?” Technology nowadays with self-publishing allows people to make a place for themselves in this market; you just have to make room for yourself in it. I chose to self publish because it suites my lifestyle and I have such creative flexibility. The fact I also get to make a living out of writing has exceeded all my expectations, my one and only regret is I should have started self publishing years ago.

Speaking of The Boys of Summer, this one sounds like such a fun read.  I love coming-of-age stories with beach/summer settings.  What inspired you to write the story?

It was something that has been churning in my mind since I was a little girl, even if it was something no more mapped out than a group of friends hanging lakeside over a summer. It was an idea that has manifested into an entire world and I felt that I owed it to that eleven-year-old little me to develop it into a story. I know I was eleven because I had found an old exercise book with the story plotted out in my child-like handwriting and I could seldom believe it was something that had been swimming around in my subconscious for so long. It fell perfectly in line with me doing NaNo that year (National Novel Writing Month) and that was that, in one month I smashed out the bones of ‘The Boys of Summer’ (TBoS). In writing TBoS I really wanted to capture the essence of growing up in Australia. I set it in a small fictional lake side town in the 90’s to give it a certain flavor and provide a rich setting for a coming of age story, it is an absolute labor of love.

Can you name some other books that anyone who enjoyed The Boys of Summer might also enjoy?

I think anything by Melina Marchetta, she is an amazing Aussie Author who writes wonderful emotionally charged YA books set in Australia. ‘Saving Francesca’ and ‘The Pipers Son’ are two of my favorites.

What is your writing process? Where do you write? How long do you dedicate to writing each day?

I am predominantly a night writer, I work fulltime so I have the evening to sit down in my office and get to work, usually until 2am. I have decked out an office, or as I fondly refer to it as ‘the cave’. It is my own space with my desk, my bookshelves, filing cabinets and of course a couch! I think it’s so important to have a place to be creative in, it really works for me.

What are your top tips for any aspiring authors out there?

Read, read, read. I cannot stress that enough; it’s a form of invalid research for genres, tense and style. What gets you hooked into a book? What makes your heart race? The more you read the better writer you will become.

Write what you know. Don’t write for the market, write what comes natural to you. Don’t pigeon hole yourself exclusively to a particular genre. You are a writer, go with your heart.
Research but don’t be overwhelmed by it. There is a lot of great advice out there and great forums to be a part of to learn more about your craft from those who have gone through what you are about to embark on.

Set yourself goals and stick to them as best you can, procrastination is the writers arch nemeses, it really is.

Editing. Don’t cut corners, there is a particular expectation that Indie Authors don’t produce quality, this is a falsehood. Research, build a team of people you gel with and be open to criticism, remember you are all striving towards making that manuscript the best it can be because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Own what you do, be proud of your ability and don’t be afraid. Have the humility to accept you are not perfect and that you will learn something new every day, this is a GREAT thing!

And the best advice I have received was to remember you write because you love writing first and foremost, anything else is a bonus.

What books are on your ‘must-read’ list for 2013?

My TBR pile is so ludicrously large I long for those times when I am not working on my own book so I can read someone else’s. I have to do a catch up on my Richelle Mead, Karen Marie Moning, Patricia Briggs, Sarah MacLean, Stephanie Perkins. And of course I am always excited to see what my fellow writing friends are producing. I am really looking forward to 2013.


Find out more about C.J. Duggan and The Boys of Summer:

If you are a self-published author and would like to take part in Self-Pubbed Hub send an email to and I will get back to you if your book is a good fit! Please include book cover and synopsis in your email.

1 comment :

  1. this book looks so great ~ i didnt even realise it was self-pubbed until i read more about it

    i love how she says to write what you love and not for the market.

    also, she has fab taste in fave authors <3



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