The view from the teacher’s desk

So, Sophia Bennett, how was your very first school visit to talk about Threads?

– It was a great experience, thank you. Exhausting (talking about myself is even more tiring than I thought). But fabulous to do. Special, because my elder stepdaughter, Emily, was there to chat to at lunchtime, and because at least one of the teachers had read the book in manuscript, so they’ve known about me and it for a long, long time.

What was the funniest bit?

– Probably trying to organise my first ever creative writing workshop while being snapped by two photographers with long lenses for the local press. Who kept checking their camera screens, showing them to each other and going ‘No, that’s really not going to work.’

And the best?

– Definitely those workshops. The girls were amazing. They got what they were supposed to do straight away (which was to incorporate four words that I’d chosen into the opening paragraph of a short story), and worked hard at it, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were super-keen to share their mini-masterpieces, which were entertaining and excellent. I could have done that all day.

And the worst?

– In my third talk of the day, trying to remember what I’d already said about myself. And trying to name more than 2 authors who’ve inspired me. I was tired, OK? Tired!

And the other best thing, that you forgot to mention earlier?

– The profiteroles at lunch. I had five.

And the most unexpected?

– How interested the girls were in word count. How they were trying to imagine writing up to 80,000 words and not losing your place in the plot. And how amazed they were that 80,000 words in the finished text can easily be over 400,000 in unfinished drafts on your computer. All stuff I’m so used to by now, but it made them think differently about essay length, I think.

And what happened next? I know you’re dying to tell us, Sophia!

I had a quiet cup of tea in Colchester to recover (I really must remember not to talk about myself any more than strictly necessary) and my lovely publicist texted me to tell me that Threads has been mentioned in Heat. Heat, I tell you, Heat!!! And I went out and bought a copy and there it was, under the heading ‘Ripping yarn’ (loving the pun, Heat), in the ‘Things we’re loving this week’ section. And having looked at it about twenty times I read the rest of the magazine and it was FANTASTIC! Funny, witty, entertaining and not too unnecessarily intrusive or rude. Liking Heat at the moment.

Happy day.

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