Saturday, November 10, 2012

Children's history, picture books and short stories - meet Rosalind Adam

Like Jo Carroll, who I weberviewed a few posts back, Rosalind Adam is a recent blogging friend who I tweeted into by chance on Twitter. After visiting her blog a few times, I became interested and curious to know a little more about Rosalind and her interest in history and short story writing, so Rosalind has kindly agreed to answer some questions for my blog weberview too.

Rosalind, after 'meeting' you on Twitter, I've been going through your blog pages and was really interested to see the variety of work that you do. I loved the short story you've published there and also the page about Leicester and its historical surroundings. So, I'm really chuffed you've agreed to come to my blog for a chat. I've prepared some questions for you, so here goes:

Q.1. I see you used to teach but are now a writer and workshop leader. What led you to give up teaching as a career and make this fairly radical lifestyle change?

RA. It was the stress of teaching, not the children. They were lovely. It was the paperwork, the Ofsted inspections, the National Curriculum demands that knocked all our imaginative lesson plans into the waste paper bin.

Q.2 Yes, I've heard that can be a terrible burden. I can't blame you for giving that up. Anyhow, I see you have written a number of short stories for women's magazines. How difficult is it to get stories published and how do you know what kind of story is likely to be accepted?

RA. I spent several years writing magazine stories. I used to buy all the magazines who accepted unsolicited manuscripts and read their stories carefully. They don't want the regular boy meets girl story. They want something quirky but clean, original but satisfying, the sort of thing you can read over a morning cup of coffee. They're not as easy as they look to write.

Q.3 I can imagine. I think the Short Story is a very difficult genre, so hats off to you!. May I ask if you now make a living as a writer, or do you need to do both the workshops and the writing to complement each other?

RA. I have recently become eligible for my teacher's pension and Mr A commented that it was the most money I'd brought into the house in years... enough said?

Q.4 Oh goodness, I know the feeling! Still, I saw that you have written a number of children's books (including the Children's History of Leicester), you are a Historian, and you have written fiction for both children and adults, so what is your favourite genre for writing and why?

RA. I love writing children's picture books. Trust me to choose one of the most difficult genres to get into! These colourful books cost so much to produce that publishers have to think very hard before accepting a submission. As for why, it's because I can see the pictures in my head and you can have such fun with the genre.

Q.5 I love children's stories too. You can get very absorbed in them. Talking of being absorbed, though, I see you are very involved in local history, and that you have a history degree. Have you ever thought of writing a historical novel or series of novels?

RA. I've thought about it. I've even made notes and plans but nothing more... yet.

Q.6. Maybe this will act as a spur then! Talking of history, may I ask what your interest in Jewish history was prompted by?

RA. I have been a member of the Leicester Jewish Community all my life. My book, Jewish Voices, documents the recent history of the community during the Second World War and beyond. It was created from a series of memory writing workshops and I found it a fascinating project and the most rewarding book I've ever written.

Q.7 It sounds fascinating. I'll have to try and get a copy. I see you also work as a creative writing tutor and a writing workshop leader. Have you had to do any training yourself for this, or is it something you found you had a natural talent for?

RA. I used to teach 'Beginning to Write Creatively' classes and those were really good fun. Watching new writers producing that magic of a previously unknown idea appearing on the page is priceless. I no longer teach formal groups but I still lead the occasional creative or therapeutic writing workshop. 

Q.8. Rosalind, the short story you've published on your blog pages is very compelling. Do you have any kind of method that you follow when writing short stories?

RA. I love writing 'twist in the tale' stories. You lead the reader along, making them guess at one ending and then you produce an ending that they weren't expecting.

Q.9 You certainly surprised me with that one! Okay just a couple more questions. You mentioned to me that you have had some experience of canal boats. As you know, I have my own barge in Rotterdam, so this is a subject of great interest to me. Can you tell me a bit about your own watery experiences?

RA. For several years our summer holidays were taken on a canal boat in the UK. I love being on the water. Everything slows down. Standing up front with a mug of tea and waving to other boaters as they pass is my idea of the perfect holiday.

Q.10. It's just the best, isn't it? Lastly, Rosalind, do you have any books, articles or short stories in progress now? If so, would you be able to share what they are with us and when they are likely to be published?

RA. At the moment I'm working on several children's picture books. They may be short but they take quite a while to pull together in a satisfying way.

Val, thank you for inviting me along to your blog and for asking me such interesting questions.

My very great pleasure, Rosalind. Let me know when your picture books are being published. I have several small nieces and nephews who would be candidates for those!


  1. Val, you are evolving into an excellent interviewer.
    Interviewer, Writer, Teacher.

    Thank you for sharing this interview, Rosalind and her short stories.

  2. Thank you so much for allowing me to visit your Watery Ways. I very much enjoyed our blogging chat.

  3. What fun, finding Ros going visiting!

  4. I am utterly blown away by Ros' picture! =How pretty are you!!!And I soo agree about the teaching. Loved the kids and the lessons, hated the marking, and paperwork and 'targets'. Being a private tutor is so much easier! Lovely interview, Val and Ros.

  5. Thank you all, and thanks very much to you, Rosalind. I enjoyed it too. Carol, are you willing to be up next in a week or so?

  6. Lovely interview Ros you are so talented. Val I love the barge on the photo, great lifestyle.

  7. Thanks, Anne! The barge is mine, and has been home to me for the last ten years. I've relinquished it to my daughter for a little while, so these days, I'm a part time boat dweller, but I'll be full time again before too long, I'm sure. I love the way of life, hard work and all - and my barge.

  8. Rosalind and Val this was a nice review.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  9. Great interview, ladies. It's been a pleasure visiting with y'all on the barge.

  10. Thank you for your visit Shelley and Susan! Glad you liked the interview! Come again :)

  11. Hi Val - great guest having Ros over - and so interesting to read her replies to your searching questions ..

    Food for thought - or a cup of tea on a barge ... that's rather far off - cheers to you both .. Hilary

  12. Rosalind sounds like a fascinating lady, I bet there were a lot more questions you wanted to ask! Thank ou for introducing her to us xxx

  13. Hilary, thank you so much for 'dropping in'! Ros is a special person, I agree.

    Fran, thank you too. You're right, there are more questions I would have liked to ask! How perceptive of you! xx

  14. I really enjoyed this interview! Val and Rosalind, you both work very well together. Lovely photo Rosalind! Julie

  15. Thank you, Julie! It was great to have Rod 'over' here!


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