Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts

Books on a bookshelf


Our Lakeside team are a creative bunch, full of individuals undertaking their own artistic pursuits. Take Box Office Assistant, CM Thompson, who in addition to working the Box Office and creating resources for the Learning Team, is a published author. Learn about her interests in reading and writing and even take away some book recommendations.

Would you mind introducing yourself?

I’ve been a Box Office Assistant at Lakeside Arts for ten years now, in fact this is the longest I’ve spent away from the Box Office. Previously, I studied for a BA in Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire before going onto obtain an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Portsmouth. In addition to working at Lakeside, I am an author. I have two novels published with Hookline Books: What Lies in the Dark and Who Killed Anne-Marie?.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I have always loved to read, some of my earliest memories are of being read to. I can't remember when I started writing, I know I wrote some very bad poetry and fanfiction as a teenager and that inspired me to study Creative Writing.

I think what I love most about reading and writing, is that it really is what you make it. Anyone can write and anyone can read. Likewise, anything can be your subject. Personally, I use reading and writing to combine my love of things such as History, Psychology and Drama into fictional reality where anything is possible.  

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

The one thing I recommend is writing as much as you can. However, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on being productive every day. I have good days and I have bad. On the days when the words aren’t flowing, look at different artforms. Watch things like films or TV shows. Start questioning why you like or don’t like something and develop your own critical eye.

Pink quote mark 

Ideas are like rabbits, you get a couple and learn how to handle them and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
– John Steinbeck

Now, let’s talk about reading. What book are you turning to right now?

At the moment, I am craving a little comfort so I am reworking my way through the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, today I am reading Interesting Times. I love rereading the Discworld series, there is always a line I have forgotten about, or suddenly you understand a small sub-reference or see something in a new light.

If you were on a desert island, what book would you take with you?

It really depends on how long I was on the island for. Thinking strategically, I would take House of Leaves by Mark R. Danielewski or the Game of Thrones books by George R. R. Martin if I was there for a few weeks. There is a great section in Public Confessions of a Middle Aged Woman, by Sue Townsend, where she describes going mad on a train journey from London to Leicester because she has forgotten her book. She searches up and down the train constantly, desperate for something to read, eventually finding a pamphlet called The Campanologist: “I fell on the bell-ringing news and chitchat like a starving dog on a bone.” That's me when I am idle and I haven't got something to read, so a long stretch of time on a desert island with only one book would be a struggle.

What’s your favourite literary adaptation?

I like the adaptation of The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean (the film is called Adaptation and stars Nicolas Cage), because of how different it is from the book but yet still manages to involve the book so strongly. It’s an odd film, surreal at times and hard to predict, just like the book itself. I also really like the film adaptations of Coraline and Howls Moving Castle because whilst those books are so imaginative, they are really strengthened and brought to life by the films.