Tag Archives: Night School

10 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


C.J. Daugherty

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Incorrectly

I grew up in the US and, until 2000, I’d spent every Christmas of my life there. That year, I moved to Britain (ostensibly for two years but here I still am so, ho-ho. Plans. AmIright?).

My first British Christmas was spent with kindly friends who took me in, stuffed me with delicious food and wine and spared me any singing. Therefore, it wasn’t until my second Christmas in Britain that I learned you sing all the carols wrong.

First I should mention, I love singing. I sang in choir as a child and used to dream of having my own band. I decided to become a writer instead so there went that always quite tenuous dream.

But I still love to sing. And Christmas songs are a thing with me. I start humming “Jingle Bell Rock” weeks before any trees are actually trimmed. In New Orleans, where I lived before moving to Britain, I looked forward to the annual candle-light carolling in the French Quarter with the breathless anticipation of a child awaiting Santa Claus’ tumble through the chimney.

So when my local church in London put up flyers about candle-light Christmas carolling I put the date in my calendar. I couldn’t wait.

On the appointed night I arrived early, and happily collected my candle at the door. I was very impressed to see a trumpeter or two in addition to the organ player.

Here in England, I thought, they do it right.

The song list looked pleasingly familiar. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem along with Away in a Manger. Just perfect.

The vicar called for us to rise for the first song, the music began and…

It was the wrong tune.

I stood there, mouth open comically but no sound coming out, staring at my song sheet.

The lyrics were mostly the same but the tune –the all-important hummable tune – it was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Everyone around me was singing with gusto but I just stared at them, clutching my candle as if it might save me from this Christmas nightmare.

The next song, I told myself, will be familiar.

But it wasn’t, reader. It wasn’t.

That’s not how you sing Oh Little Town of Bethelehem, I thought with rising horror. Or anything. Ever.

But it is. Here.

The problem is I know the US versions of those tunes as well as I know my own heartbeat. I don’t have to think about it – they rise from my subconscious memory without effort. I memorised them as a child through rote repetition and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to unlearn them. Singing those words with a different song was like being told to breathe just a little differently.

I did try but it didn’t work. My singing was out of tune. My voice sounded dubious even to my own ears. My heart wasn’t in it.

It didn’t feel like Christmas.

At last, I gave up the feeble attempt and just listened to other people sing as my candle dripped warm wax onto my hand.

Over the years I’ve had plenty of time to think about this situation. I might not have carols, but at least I have Christmas songs. Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole. All the familiar voices. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose…

But even the secular Christmas songs were different here and I don’t know why I thought they wouldn’t be. I’d never heard of The Snowman cartoon before I moved to Britain. Or of Slade.

I’ve come to like most of the popular British songs in a distant sort of way. But not all. I could happily throw Wham’s “Last Christmas” from the top floor of The Shard and watch it shatter into ten million pieces.

But I still prefer the ones I grew up with. So every year I pack my iPod with “The Little Drummer Boy” and “White Christmas” and all the songs I love and make my own holiday soundtrack.

Here are my Top 10 Christmas songs. In any nation.

Nat King Cole — The Christmas Song


Lou Rawls – Christmas Is


Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis


The Kinks — Father Christmas (Give us Some Money)


Dean Martin – Let it Snow!


Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree


The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping


The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight)


Louis Armstrong – Zat you Santa Claus?


Otis Redding — White Christmas


NIGHT SCHOOL FRACTURE by C.J. DaughertyC. J. Daugherty‘s latest novel, NIGHT SCHOOL: FRACTURE, the third book in her international bestselling series NIGHT SCHOOL is out now.


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Official US trailer for NIGHT SCHOOL

The US edition of NIGHT SCHOOL is out today.  The official US trailer below was made by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Jack Jewers of Trailermade Films, in close collaboration with C.J. Daugherty herself:   

NIGHT SCHOOL has been translated into 21 different languages, and we’ve already had the following fabulous review from America’s Booklist:

Night School.

Daugherty, C. J. (Author)

Jun 2013. 432 p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, hardcover, $17.99. (9780062193858).

Only gutsy first-time novelists would tackle the well-worn “sinister boarding school” trope, complete with a troubled new girl navigating the social scene and various shadowy dangers. After all, where to go with such familiar ingredients? Yet Daugherty knows exactly where she wants to take us, and soon enough, readers will be hooked. The lean prose certainly helps, as does how the plot is punctuated by several unforgettable scenes of suspense, including a skinny-dipping escapade complicated by a panic attack and a rooftop encounter with a bottle of vodka that ends in . . . well, that would be telling. Connecting such episodes is protagonist Allie Sheridan’s efforts to learn why she was admitted to such an elite institution, and about “Night School,” a shadowy training program within it. If initially some students seem stereotypical, keep reading: Daugherty is expert at revealing character through action. Similarly, Allie can appear too reactive, letting others rescue her—but then she notes this tendency, thereby incorporating it into her character arc. Ultimately, both the story and the writing itself are full of surprises.

— Peter Gutierrez


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Cover reveal!

Fracture by C.J. DaughertyThe UK book cover has now been revealed for the third book in C.J. Daugherty’s international bestselling series, NIGHT SCHOOL.


Cimmeria Academy has been more than a school for Allie, it’s been a safe haven. But no longer.

The school – her friends, her teachers – are under attack. A nefarious group, a group that Allie and her mysterious family might have more to do with than she could’ve ever realized, is trying to destroy everything Cimmeria stands for.

And throughout it all, someone they eat with, sleep with, train with, is betraying them. There’s a spy in Night School. As the paranoia grows and the fights begin, it’s not the enemies outside they have to worry about.

They’re hurting themselves.

UK Publication: Atom, 15th August 2013 

C.J. Daugherty will be a special guest at Camp Bestival where she’ll be reading from FRACTURE and signing copies on Friday 2nd August 2013.

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C.J. Daugherty tours the UK

Lady Holles School 2C.J. Daugherty, author of international bestselling NIGHT SCHOOL, has been touring the UK with the second book in the series, NIGHT SCHOOL: LEGACY.  She’s had fantastic events so far, giving talks at schools including Frensham Heights (Surrey), Lady Eleanor Hollis (Middlesex), The Mary Erksine School (Edinburgh), Westfield High School (Newcastle) and Wakefield Girls High School (Yorkshire).

Upcoming schools include Queen Margaret’s School (York), The Queen’s School (Cheshire), Burford School (Oxfordshire), Caterton School (Oxfordshire), Surbiton High Senior School (Surrey), and Hartlands School (London).  At each school she’s talked to over a 100 NIGHT SCHOOL enthusiasts.



NIGHT SCHOOL, the first book in a series of darkly romantic YA thrillers set in a British boarding school, is generating excitement around the world.  It has been translated into 20 different languages to date.  The US edition, published by HarperCollins, is out this May. Christi also been doing signing events at bookshops across the country together with an extensive blog tour and publicity for all her foreign publishers worldwide.

Wakefield School

C.J. Daugherty with girls at Wakefield School in Yorkshire


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Sequel to one of the best YA debut’s of 2012

LEGACY by C.J. Daugherty

Congratulations C.J. Daugherty on the publication of the second book in the utterly addictive, chilling and suspenseful NIGHT SCHOOL series. Little, Brown/Atom publish today, 3rd January.

NIGHT SCHOOL has now been sold to over 20 foreign publishers worldwide, and was No.1 in Germany on Amazon over Christmas!

Here is the official LEGACY trailer:

Take part in the LEGACY blog tour

“If you’re a fan of mysteries and haunting secrets, you’ll love the pacey plot and distinctly British edge this dark and gothic tale has within its pages.”

“This book has everything I look for in a novel; a little action, some romance, deception and an ending that leaves you wanting more”

“Five stars!” Teen Now

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Author publicity tours

Author publicity trips are extremely important for promoting books abroad.  With so much going on in the UK, a lot of people are unaware of the efforts that foreign publishers make when publishing their editions.

Two of my authors went abroad for foreign publicity trips last week.  C.J. Daugherty, author of the international bestselling NIGHT SCHOOL series published by Atom/Little, Brown in the UK, and Anna-Lou Weatherley of CHELSEA WIVES published by Avon/HarperCollins.

Book signing at the Montreuil book fair in Paris

C.J. Daugherty was invited to the Paris Montreuil book fair  by her French publisher, Robert Laffont, where the response to the second book in the NIGHT SCHOOL series was fabulous.  They sent a camera crew to film her, organised a huge publicity breakfast for 35 bloggers, they had her on panel events, and held a book signing where Christi signed 200 copies.    Their edition was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks even before publication because of pre-orders.  It went into reprint on the same day it was officially released, and it has been in the top 20 on Amazon.fr among digital children’s books.  The French reviews have been hugely positive  — several girls who came up to Christi at Montreuil said they were buying it ‘because I read about it’.  Bloggers even blogged about meeting her.  Christi told me that one of the bloggers actually asked her “Can you go out in France without being recognised?”

C.J. Daugherty with her French editor Glenn Tavennec

C.J. Daugherty with her French editor Glenn Tavennec

This is testament to a great author publisher relationship.  Christi is willing to do as much as possible to promote each of her 21 editions of NIGHT SCHOOL around the world.  NIGHT SCHOOL is also a German bestseller, and remained on the charts for six consecutive weeks.  The second book in the series, NIGHT SCOOL: LEGACY, will be published in January in the UK, and we will start to see extensive review coverage in our papers and magazines.

Italian book cover

Anna-Lou Weatherley arrived in Rome on the day of the launch of the Italian edition of CHELSEA WIVES.  Her publisher, Newton Compton, cleverly changed the title to REVENGE OF THE WIVES, making it more suitable for the Italian market. Anna-Lou went for a wonderful lunch with her publisher followed by a video interview.  They’ve done an enormous marketing campaign for the book with a fabulous book trailer, a popular facebook page, excellent promotional adverts and a mini booklet of the first few chapters which is going into Italian Vanity Fair.

Italian promotional billboard for 'Revenge of the Wives'

Italian promotional billboard for ‘Revenge of the Wives’

Anna-Lou went shopping on Saturday and every bookstore she passed had rows and rows of her book in the window with huge billboards and placards. The strapline was ‘The novel all the women are talking about!’  She had her picture taken with the bookstore owners and signed copies for customers. Anna-Lou said “I was shopping in Jo Malone and got talking to the assistant and when I told her and her colleague about the book they rushed to the local store and bought copies for me to sign for them – I felt  like I was famous!!”

Here is the Italian booktrailer for REVENGE OF THE WIVES

Foreign publicity is so important.   Most foreign publishers invite authors to promote their books once they have a fan base to build on so it may be after the first book has been published.  They are intense trips but great fun for authors and really help to build profile and sales.

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