Tuesday 10 February 2015

HELP! There's a WRITER in my school!

Just been invited to talk at a Year Seven Parents' evening at a local secondary school. Doing school visits is one of the most enjoyable parts of the 'job', and I shall be sad if I no longer get to do it now I've shifted to writing Adult crime fiction.

I started doing school visits when The SPY GIRL books first came out in 2001. Initially I was totally freaked. Facing 60+ Year 7's and having to interact with them for an hour seemed even more scary than facing a spider in the bath! Now, I love it. Though I still get stage fright as I see them all file into the room.

 Kids are great. They ask the best questions. The three I always get asked every visit are:
                                                                               1.  are you famous?
                                                                               2. how much do you earn?
                                                                               3. where do you get your ideas from?

But then there are the 'left field' questions that leave you yammering like an idiot. Such as : if you weren't a writer, what would you be? (Probably dead.....) Actually, kids are MUCH better at doing this than adults, cos they're less inhibited and not so polite. And afterwards you get to hang out and eat lunch with them too! It's a win-win situation.

Gentle blog reader, have you ever been asked a question you couldn't answer? And how did you deal with it?


  1. Many years ago, when being interviewed for pub management (jointly with my then husband), I was asked to describe my husband's personality (he was unpleasant, unfriendly, schizophrenic - you get the picture). I just asked "do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, or do you want me to be honest?"

  2. I worked as a therapist with abused children, and was often asked impossible questions. The most difficult, from children in temporary foster care, was, 'can I come and live at your house?' The child I wanted to cheer was a 5year old, who sidled up to me and asked if she could say anything to me and I wouldn't be cross. I did lots of reassurance, half expecting a disclosure, and she looked up at me with big brown eyes and told me to, 'f*** off!' I knew terrible things had happened to her - and she'll be fine, if she can do that!

  3. As you know, I get quite nervous doing school visits but I'm battling on with them. The worst question I was asked when talking about my Children's Book of Richard III was, "Was Richard III alive when you were young?" The teacher promised to work on their time awareness skills. I decided to work on my make up!

  4. Oh Carol I love those questions especially,how much do you earn. When we meet Turkish people on holiday they think nothing of asking that question,we would rather die than ask someone how much they earned. When I worked in the library I was asked to talk to each class in my daughter's school telling them how to use the library.All went well as one class after another trooped through. It came to my daughter's class and I aske if they had any questions and one girl put her hand up and said,"Why did you not invite me to Karen's birthday party" lol


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