National Share-A-Story Month Challenge at Boulton

Friday 04 May 2018

“National Share-A-Story Month is an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing.” (The FCBG).

At Ark Boulton this week, we have been marking the occasion by sharing stories in our morning assemblies. The stories have been about friendship, courage, loss, commitment and gratitude - showcasing the importance of our academy virtues and how they can be used within storytelling and literature, as well as playing a vital role in our attitude and character building.

We have also been celebrating Mrs Andrews’ (English Teacher and now our Resident Writer) self publication of her book trilogy ‘Sarah & Steve’. Mrs Andrews has published these books recently and are available in our academy library for staff and KS4 students to read. We caught up with her to find out more about her journey to becoming a published writer.

What inspires you to write?

I have always had a passion for reading and have done so since I can remember. Combined with my love for the English language and all the people and experiences I have encountered in my life, sharing them in story form appealed to me. Writing to me is like weaving together bits of life (the good and the bad) into a fictional story.

How often do you write?

My first love is being a teacher which keeps me very busy, and so that only really leaves some time in the holidays to write. I have been known to keep writing sometimes until my family tells me to stop! To give you an idea, I have written approximately over 250,000 words in the past six months!

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

I have been writing stories since I was five years old. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I remember being at school and writing my first story which was three pages long!

How realistic are your books?

The trilogy is realistic and is based on an rural area in the North West of England where I grew up. 

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I get through at least one book a week and read in my spare time regularly. I have many favourite authors, so that’s a tricky question! If I had to pick I’d choose Robin Cobb for his fantasy books, Thomas Hardy and Daphne Du Maurier. 

If you could have been the original author of a book, what would it have been and why?

There are so many to choose from, but if I had to pick one it would be ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. It is one of my many favourites as I tend to like classic books that showcase realistic scenarios in realistic settings, especially love triangles! These kinds of books show real emotion, the good and bad, and the trials characters face throughout their journey. 

Any advice you would give to aspiring writers?

Write as much as you can and don’t limit yourself! Keep a notebook with you at all times, so whenever an idea comes to mind you can jot it down. Inspiration can come at any time. Also, don't be afraid to let others read your work and take on board any constructive criticism you may receive.

What kind of feedback have you received from the students at Ark Boulton since publishing your books?

Students have stopped me in the corridors and talk to me in class about how they’ve just finished reading a book and give me such positive feedback! One of the most memorable comments I received was from my student Saif who said “These are my favourite books right now because they are so relevant to teenagers today”, and that’s exactly what I had in mind when writing them - I wanted them to be relevant.

Mrs Andrews has dedicated a few of the books to the students of Ark Boulton Academy who “nagged her into finally publishing the books!” So now, it’s your turn! As part of National Share-A-Story Month, the academy has launched a story writing challenge. The aim is to share your stories with your peers and the Boulton community, showcasing one or more of our virtues. For example, were you ever in a position where you had to show compassion to someone or show gratitude toward a person that helped you? 

Hand in your entries to Mrs Andrews by Friday 25th May for a chance to have your story published!