“As a child, I felt protected lying in bed reading books” | Cathy Clement, Aarhus 39

Cathy Clement is an acclaimed Luxembourg writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. Cathy will be appearing at the inaugural International Children’s Literature Hay Festival Aarhus 2017 later this month. Here she talks about her new story for Quest, our new anthology of 17 stories for children, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
My story is about myself and my thoughts in everyday life on a big cruise ship.

Why did you pick that theme?
We were asked to write a short story based on the catchword: „Journey“. I went on a Mediterranean cruise in the summer 2016. That was the first time I did that kind of travel. I appreciated it a lot and learned many things about myself. There were positive moments but there were sad one’s two. I liked writing about what I saw as well as about what my thoughts have been.

When did you decide to become an author?
I decided to become an author when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was always fascinated about books. One of my first books was a collection of fairy-tails written by Astrid Lindgren. The short stories were happy, simple and often sad as well. I had a lot of sad moments during my childhood and reading was like entering another world. I felt protected lying in my bed reading books. My parents did not always agree with me, they wanted me to play with my younger sister and brothers or to go outside. I went outside when they insisted on it, but I secretly took a book with me. Then I lay down somewhere in the grass and continued reading. When I became older, I read in the school-bus and during the breaks instead of speaking to others. There was a girl who did the same, so we both were often sitting side by side, putting our noses in our books. When other young made fun of us, we pretended not to hear them. Our books were our protection.

When did you publish your first book?
I published my first book when I was 15 years old.

What is special about writing for children?
I have written for teenagers because I was one, too. I did not think about it. I just wrote down what I felt. In the future, I will try to write a novel for adults but that will take time. I have to grow up further before and make new experiences. I don’t know exactly how to do this but I’m confident that time and God will help. I think it is difficult to write for children being an adult.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
I’m happy to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival, it’s like a childhood-dream coming true.

Do you have a favorite spot where you write? Where is that? And why is that your favorite spot?
I prefer writing in my bed. I don’t even have a desk with a real computer. I only have a laptop. A big problem is that I’m always out of time or tired. I am a mother and I work as a nurse, full time. I have two dogs and a boyfriend. And friends who I want to spend time with. Also I am doing a vocational education in pastoral care. I go to church and need time for prayers. And so on… for the moment I don’t have enough time to write on a new novel.