Here’s one for you:
What do a long-haired, middle-aged teacher/writer/trampolining expert residing in West Africa; a thirty-something football-mad scribe and snowboarding loud-mouth with a penchant for beer and Ray Ban’s; a self-proclaimed neek (50% nerd, 50% geek) and super-hero wannabe (special powers – multi-instrumentalism) and a poem-writing, bibliophillic boarder (school, not snow) have in common?
Indeed, you might ask!
How could the universe throw such peeps into the melting pot and not expect chaos to ensue? And what would they come up with? Who are these people?
We all love a good mystery right?
Okay, before I introduce Miriam and Charley (because you already know the front and back end of the Saffna Desforges pantomime horse intimately), hands up those of you who can work out which one is which of us from the opening descriptions?
I bet you all thought that I was the quiet one and that Mark ‘Zebedee’ Williams liked the odd chilled glass of Stella right?
Sorry to disappoint, but Mr Williams doesn’t get anywhere near enough snow to be a boarder where he is!
So what of these crazy teen writers that we have gone and got ourselves embroiled with then? Who are they? How did we meet? And what do they do?
Say hello to Miriam Joy (of neek and super-hero fame):
Look, she admits she’s a geek, okay! Anyway, don’t take my word for it, here’s a few words from her royal-neekness herself:
Miriam Joy has lived all her life in South-East London, plodding through the state education system, and has got as far as AS levels: English Lit, French, Music and Classical Civilisations.
Never one to make things easy on herself, she plays three instruments (violin, flute and piccolo), does both archery and ballet, and is learning two dead languages and a made-up one on top of her schoolwork. She also makes YouTube videos and answers emails for the Teens Can Write Too blog, and still manages to find time to procrastinate.
She also has an obsession with mythology, mainly Celtic and Norse, which started at the age of eleven. Far from ‘growing out of it’ as most people expected, she has simply become more knowledgeable, or as her parents call it, weird.
You can also read another blog interview with Miriam on St Mall’s and collaboration here.
So who is this fellow-geek and trekkie-cum-Sherlockian, Charley that she mentions?
This is what Miss Robson had to say about herself when I
battered her repeatedly with a virtual lacrosse stick asked her to jot a few lines down (they’re sooo cool these girls, that they already refer to themselves in the third person. I’m surprised they don’t have a middle initial!):
Charley Robson is a student, geek and bibliophile, and has passed the majority of her education in a private Dorset boarding school. She has been writing “seriously” for around eight years; at thirteen, she began writing a high fantasy novel that spawned into her very first trilogy – which, despite its flaws, she is still very proud of. She credits the fantastical works of myriad fantasy authors, both from childhood and into her ever-approaching adulthood, for her enduring devotion to the genre.
Outside of fiction, Charley is also a fairly prolific poet – one of her poems was awarded a place in the Top Twenty of a Daily Telegraph poetry competition in 2010 – and enjoys writing articles for her school magazine. In 2012 she also followed up on a keen interest in theatre and acting by writing a pantomime for performance in the annual school Drama competition.
St Mallory’s Forever! marks Charley’s first foray into the mystery genre, something she has long admired but eternally struggled to concoct plots for. St Mallory’s has also marked Charley’s first serious escapade into co-writing, and the mechanics of the publishing world at large.
Oops! Almost forgot – this is Charley:
What other amazing facts can I share?
Oh yeah: These two new kids on the block are still at school.
Miriam will just have turned 17 by the time St Mall’s goes live, how cool is that? We are thrilled to have been able to work with them and assist on this project. It has been great fun and I have no doubt that kids, teens and adults alike will love St Mallory’s as much as we loved helping them write it!
So what’s it about?
Well, St Mallory’s Forever! is a good old, warm and fuzzy mystery novel. Set in an imaginary boarding school (think Malory Towers and St Clare’s), but written as blog posts from the point of view of three girl boarders. Here’s the unofficial blurb…
When her mother becomes head of music at St Mallory’s School for Girls, Helen is uprooted from her London comprehensive to start a new life in a totally alien environment – a boarding school. But before long, the behaviour of the other girls is the least of her problems: Helen picks up a piece of rare music from a shop in Brighton, and suddenly she is at the centre of what seems to be an enormous …conspiracy.The bursar is behaving suspiciously. Her mother is lying to her. And now Tim Morrigan, a boy from the partner school, is getting involved. Do they all want the music, or are there other motives in play? And since the music appears to have been written after the composer’s death, is it real, or simply an elaborate fake?Accompanied by Abigail Roe, a veteran student with a penchant for Shakespeare and geek culture references, and Xuan Liu, the well-travelled daughter of a Chinese diplomat, Helen sets out to solve the mystery. But homework, lacrosse matches, and morally ambiguous members of staff all seem to be determined to stop them.
- Competition! Win a signed copy of ‘Anca’s Story’ by Saffina Desforges (saffinadesforgesblog.com)
- Anca’s Story – A Young Adult Holocaust fiction novel (saffinadesforgesblog.com)