How holiday romance put Anne on path to authorship

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Anne Zouroudi went back to school for National Crime-Writing month.

The event, which runs throughout June in libraries and bookshops the length of the country, aims to encourage the crime-writing genre and attract new writers.

But Anne was keener to go back to her old school, Sheffield Girls’ High, to talk to girls studying a creative writing module about how to write a gripping crime story.

The event

was the only Crime-Writing Month event to be held in a classroom and Anne had been a little apprehensive: “This was my youngest ever audience; I thought it might also be my most difficult, but that wasn’t the case.

“The girls were very polite and interested and asked some very probing questions. I’m hoping there were one or two future novelists among them.”

The author, who shares an agent with Harry Potter’s creator JK Rowling and won the 2012 East Midlands Book Award, read excerpts from her sixth book, The Bull Of Mythros, which launched this month. In addition, she talked about her struggles to become a published author. It hadn’t been easy; “but you have to make time to write and persevere if your book is rejected,” she said, giving the pupils tips about writing techniques and plot and character-building for their course-work. She was happy to acknowledge that the school had played its part in her own literary success.

Says Anne: “I was a bit of a rebel at school, but there was no avoiding learning the rules in the English lessons.

“My teachers were sticklers for grammar and spelling. They gave me the tools you can’t do without as a writer.”

Anne was also delighted to find one of the High School teachers had been a pupil in the year above her. “We traded tales of waiting outside the headmistress’s door for a ticking off,” she admitted.

Pupil Juliet Armstrong, 15, of Chesterfield described Anne’s talk as: “Inspiring, insightful and informative, It really gave me the feeling that English has a place in my life.

“I think literature is like rain: bits of a creative writing piece fall in little pieces, then collect into something much more significant.

“It was a most enjoyable hour, which will be of the utmost use as we prepare not only for our exams but as regards future career opportunities.”