To take a break from our regular blogs, this week we hear from one of our candidates who has recently had an incredible achievement and published a fiction book set in an international school! It can be found on Amazon right here, and already has fantastic reviews such as “a sprightly, inventive novel, rich in amusing characters and situations. I enjoyed every word of it.” Read on to hear from Auriel Roe about what to expect from the book, and what inspired her success.
After 15 years on the international circuit, I felt compelled to write a novel set in an international school. I don’t think any other author has done this which is curious as they are quite fascinating places… little outposts of Britishness, uniforms with kilt-like skirts, the Cambridge system and that golden selling point, teachers with English accents… and often set up in the most inhospitable places so those teachers straight from Aldershot, Huddersfield and Stockport often find it quite a chore to keep smiling.
When I was first planning my novel, I whittled the characters down to seven “types” and the more I thought about them, the more I saw them as the Seven Deadly Sins. There’s Lust, the teacher who goes abroad to – quite literally – “sample” the local speciality and there’s Gluttony, who also goes abroad to sample the local speciality but in more of an oral sense. Then there’s Sloth, the guy who retired but his wife, bothered by him sitting about the house, sends him off on a little adventure to a far-flung place. Sorry maths teachers, but that’s what the embodiment of Wrath teaches at this school. I once asked a maths teacher why so many children were nervous about maths. His answer to me was because many maths teachers had no patience with children no good at maths. (Actually, most maths teachers I’ve met throughout my teaching career have been charming, but I have been that child who a certain maths teacher had no patience with so that was the most appropriate choice for me.) Pride is represented by Randolph, the newly appointed headmaster, chosen for the job because of his accent and well-groomed appearance. He’s in it for the easy ride he believes it will offer him, and the peacock-like parading he presumes embody the job. Envy and Covetousness are the two local hires who are jealous of the perks of the foreign hires to the point of distraction.
The school, out in the desert of a totalitarian state, soon flounders and, when the country becomes torn by revolution and the headmaster implicated, the end is nigh for the British experiment.