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03 April 2019

The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews

I am absolutely delighted to share a guest post from the amazing CG Drews, a blogger I greatly admire for their ridiculously funny posts and discussions, and an author who knows how to break my heart into a million tiny pieces.

The Boy Who Steals Houses is out tomorrow and trust me, you need it in your life. It's dark and complicated and so full of love, and it will probably break you a little so have tissues at the ready.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews cover

5 Key Inspirations For The Boy Who Steals Houses

My stories always begin with a collection of wishes and schemes, of puzzle pieces that I need to sort through until they fit together. I don’t get hit with a full book idea at once. For me, it’s more like a being handed a collection of oddly shaped keys and shown a row of crooked, smudgy doors – and then I’m left cramming keys into locks until I get that magical click and my story begins to take shape.

It took me a few months to fit all the keys into their rightful locks before I was ready to write The Boy Who Steals Houses. Today I’m going to share five pieces of inspiration that sparked the story. (And, yes, you have to let me have this key metaphor because my protagonist, Sam, is a collector of keys…so it works ok. Let’s do this.)

“He puts his wishes into small metal keys and tucks them in his pocket to keep him breathing.” – The Boy Who Steals Houses

1. Goldilocks retelling.

I’m wildly fond of writing retellings, because you get a bare bone framework as a starting place, but you also have limitless possibilities on how to twist the classic tale into your own. I knew my version of Goldilocks would be genderbent + in a modern contemporary setting.

2. I wanted a story with siblings.

Sibling stories are pretty much my favourite things to read (and write). I have a large collection of siblings myself (five of them, to be exact) so writing the dynamics and shenanigans of big families comes naturally to me. When I started putting together The Boy Who Steals Houses, I wanted to have two brothers with a very intense but complicated relationship. Sam and Avery absolutely need each other…but they also fight. A lot. And just in case two starring brothers isn’t enough – let me introduce you to the De Lainey family, who end up absorbing Sam into their lives. They have seven kids and are loud and messy and catastrophically loveable.

3. A little bit of thieving…

Because the original Goldilocks was a bit of a thief. She just kind of walked into a house and ate all their food?! The audacity. With Sam, I made him into an apologetic thief – one who hates his life, but is powerless to stop the cycle that drives him to steal.

4. Food counts as inspiration, right?!

If you looked over my original outline you would see zero notes about writing lots of food into this book. And yet there are so many caramel brownies. Like…so so many. My true confession?! I was home alone for the weekend I was drafting and cooking is Not Fun when you’d rather be writing. I kind of existed on brownies. (Shh, no judgement. I am not sorry.) So, yes, I literally wrote about brownies because I was eating them. The imagination is, um, strong with this one?

5. Finding your place in the world.

A key (ha! I cannot stop using this word) theme I wanted to explore was: searching. Sam is searching for a place to fit in the world. He’s searching for a home, but more than that – he’s searching for a family. He loves his brother Avery so fiercely, but Sam is the one who props them up and keeps them going. He wants to collapse into someone else’s arms and be held up, just for a whisper of a moment, and this book is about if he can find that. And if he finds it, can he keep it, when he has left a trail of bloody sins in his wake?


  1. Loved this guest post. Especially the bit about varamel brownies. I'm really looking forward to reading this book

  2. This sounds like it will be an amazing read! I love the inclusion of brownies because you were eating them! That's so interesting - I wonder how often particular things appear in books because the author had them around them at the time of drafting xxx

  3. This is a lovely guest post! I am hoping to pick this book up very soon!

  4. Really interesting post, it's always great to see where someones ideas come from! And yes, food counts as inspiration!

  5. Interesting post idea! I might have to add this book to my tbr...

  6. Awesome post! I can't wait to read this. :)

  7. Lovely post! And this book sounds quite nice too!

  8. I've unfortunately not read any books by this author but this sounds fab!

  9. food always counts as inspirationt bh :')

  10. Love this post! I've always found Cait's twitter to be hilariously relatable too so I definitely need to read her books asap!

  11. Heard great things about this Book!

  12. I have always wanted to read one of Cait's books. I have loved her blog forever. I love her writing style, and I am interested in seeing how it transfers to fiction.

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