Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Beauty Chorus: Guest Post Equals Published Author

Hey there. I know I've been MIA again and missed a TTT, but I'm working on it. I've got a travel post on the back burner for next week, a little trip through Waikiki.

Meanwhile. Happy Easter! Happy Spring! Happy New Beginnings.

I've got a treat for you all. One of the first bloggers I met out here, Kate - from What Kate Did Next - has her debut novel out and has generously guest posted for me in my absence. Kate is amazing. Enjoy....

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Hello everyone – and thank you to Pseudo for hosting me today. In her honour, I’d like us to consider teachers. Sometimes I think school teachers must have the patience of saints. Maybe you are the same, but I find two children quite enough of a handful. Leading up to the publication of my first book I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing people who held my hand as I learnt, and opened my eyes to the beauty of words.

Really great teachers change children's lives – I know a few of mine did.
While scores of other teachers have been forgotten, I often think of the remarkable men and women who inspired me, who taught me that words, that art matters just as much as quadratic equations and the Periodic table.

There was Mr S, who swept through the flagstone corridors of my senior school, black gown flapping. He was formidable, rigorous – but when he smiled he looked like Alfred E Neumann’s grandfather. He rolled the words of Chaucer and Auden round his mouth with relish like gobstoppers, and he wasn’t averse to flinging a blackboard eraser at the head of anyone who wasn’t paying attention. He also gave me the nickname that stuck the whole way through school – Claude.

And what about Mrs G, our English teacher at prep school? It was rumoured she knocked off steamy bestsellers for Mills & Boon when she wasn’t teaching wide-eyed schoolgirls about D H Lawrence, Byron and Shelly.

Who were your great teachers? Looking back and knowing now just how wonderful but tough it is coping with your own children half the time, I think I admire them more than I ever did.

During a tutorial, I remember Mr S wistfully saying one day as he gazed out of the old stone window across the frozen quadrangle: ‘Claude, sometimes when I look at the essays I wrote in Cambridge, it amazes me that I was ever capable of such dazzling work.’ Maybe that is what great teachers do – they take that fire, that dazzling enthusiasm and pass it on like a torch to the next generations. Some of the kids will let the torch sputter and die, but some of them will take it and run like the wind.

Kate Lord Brown’s d├ębut ‘The Beauty Chorus’ is being published by Corvus Atlantic 1/4/11

Available at Amazon


Romance, glamour and adventure in the skies: an enthralling debut inspired by female pilots in World War Two. 166 women signed up to fly Spitfires and bombers from factories to airfields across the country. It was an adventure that would cost many their lives.

New Year’s Eve 1940: Evie Chase, the beautiful debutante daughter of an RAF commander, listens wistfully to the swing music drifting out from the ballroom. With bombs falling nightly in London, she is determined to make a difference to the war effort. Evie joins the ATA – the civilian pilots who ferry fighter planes to bases across war-torn Britain. Two other women wait nervously to join up with her – Stella Grainger, a forlorn young mother from Singapore, and Megan Jones, an idealistic teenager who has never left her Welsh village before. Billeted together in a tiny cottage, Stella, Megan and Evie learn to live and work together as they find romance, confront loss and forge friendships that last a lifetime.


Brian Miller said...

nice. congrats on your book...mrs c taught me freshman and senior english...will never forget her...

Kristan said...

First of all, sounds like a very adventurous, empowering book! Congrats. :)

Second, love this post! Especially the last paragraph about the torches (and the lovely man sitting at the window). I had 2 profs in college who I would call mentors, but by the time I got to them, I think my torch was burning pretty bright. So who lit him? Hmm. My pre-k and kindergarten teachers, Mrs. M and Ms. S (later Mrs. K), who along with my mother instilled in me a love of reading. Then probably Mrs. G in high school, who thought I was one of the most talented students she ever had. And maybe even Mrs. S, who most decidedly did NOT think I was one of the most talented students she ever had -- but that lit my fire in a different way, you know?

Kate Lord Brown said...

Thanks for having me at 'yours', Pseudo! Loving hearing all about people's teachers ..:)

JES said...

"Claude": I'm gonna have to remember that. :)

Mr K in middle school, Mrs K (a different "K"!) in high school, Mrs R and Dr M in college -- a great collection of (in their own ways) eccentric inspirations. Two, possibly three of them have moved on, as the saying goes; I like to imagine them sitting around a table in the Cloud Bar, laughing and slapping the table... "You told him what?!? Ha! I bet that set the cocky little fellow back on his heels!" Etc.

Unknown said...

Congratulations on the book! We, who have had great teachers inspire us, are truly the lucky ones.

Joanna Jenkins said...

A big High Five on the book publishing. That's very exciting.

My second grade teacher Mrs. W was awesome. I still remember some of the life lessons she taught me.
THanks for the lovely reminder.

Cheers, jj

Carolyn said...

Congrats on your new book!

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Smart Mouth Broad said...

Mrs. H! Loved her! She taught an elective class at my high school called "Write On" I've not been the same since.

Look forward to reading your book. Can you get it on the nook?

Anonymous said...

Hallooo! Missed this post and put up a TTT on Sunday- geesh!
My favorite teacher was Mrs Keefe in Kindergarten. I remember my Algebra teacher fondly and my Band conductor with a combo of dread and awesomeness. Unfortunately I was not blessed with fab teachers but I luckily am a great reader! I get jealous when I hear about inspiring teachers....sigh. I'm happy I've met a few great teachers blogging :) Hope all is well with you and the family.