Friday, 29 September 2017

Debut Spotlight: Auriel Roe

2017 is certainly proving to be another busy year, especially for the publication of debut novels, so it's my pleasure to be shining the spotlight on another debut author Auriel Roe and her book  A Blindefellows Chronicle.

Auriel Roe juggles three occupations at the moment - she works in education, running a busy art department along with producing her own art and – just last month – having her debut novel published.  She had a phase of only painting pugs! (see painting featured here).

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Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey?
I’ve always enjoyed writing bits and bobs, keeping a writing/drawing journal but not really doing much in the way of writing extended pieces.  A couple of summers ago I had a germ of an idea for a short story.  I had some time on my hands so I sat down and wrote for two days solid, just for fun.  Anyway, a friend read the story and told me about a national short story competition which I entered my story into. It actually made it into the shortlist!  It was that experience that encouraged me to write my novel. 

Tell me about A Blindefellows Chronicle. 
I’ve encountered a lot of bizarre characters in the various schools I’ve worked in and I wanted to bring them all together in this fictional boarding school stuck out in the English countryside.  Blindefellows is a comedy in the spirit of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall and PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories.  In every chapter there is some kind of mischief afoot which the faculty have to ride along with or squirm out of, from a flock of sheep being taken hostage in the library to the biology master spending a few weeks up in a tree when the creation of a new road threatens a patch of woodland. 

Who are the protagonists in Blindefellows?
At the heart of the novel is the unlikely friendship of Sedgewick and Japes, two very opposite characters.  Japes is the older, worldly-wise mentor to the younger, naïve Sedgewick.  One of Japes’ ambitions is to set Sedgewick up in an extra-curricular romance. 

What did you enjoy about writing Blindefellows? 
I was working in a really tough school when I started writing Blindefellows  a couple of years ago and it really was my comic relief in the evenings and at weekends.  It really helped me to keep going because I had laugh-out-loud therapy as I wrote.  Fortunately, now the reviews are coming in, I see that my particular brand of humour is amusing to other people as that is one of the points everyone is making. 

What can we expect from you next?  
I’ve got two books in the pipeline!  A sequel and a prequel to Blindefellows because I’m creating a trilogy.  One of them is one quarter written. 

You can connect with Auriel at:

Website: http://auriel-roe.squarespace.com
Twitter: @auriel_roe
Facebook: Auriel Roe (there’s only one!) or A Blindefellows Chronicle

At midday on 31st August, Sedgewick, the new history master, arrives at Blindefellows, former charity school for poor, blind boys, now a second division private school for anyone who can pay.  

The naïve newcomer is quickly taken under the wing of the rumbustious, philandering Japes, master of physics, who soon becomes something of a mentor, though not in an academic sense. 

A Blindefellows Chronicle follows the adventures of Sedgewick, Japes and a handful of other unmarried faculty at an obscure West Country boarding school including the closeted headmaster, Reverend Hareton, stalwart Matron Ridgeway and loathsome librarian, Fairchild.

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