I wrote a story; the story became a book; the book got published (or will be, on the 28th of November). It sounds easy, it wasn’t, but I made it as easy as I could.
They say, “write about something you know,” so I did. I wrote a story set in a school. I design them, so I could easily picture the classrooms, the workshops, the hall, the playgrounds, the fields and how the building looked and felt. I’ve also surveyed enough schools to know their idiosyncrasies, their smells, and their problems.
But it is people that are the beating heart of a school, the teachers, pupils, parents and governors. They are the ones who really know what’s going on, the problems and opportunities. By listening, DKA have been able to design schools that work extremely well for the people who use them, and by listening, I have learnt a lot about the people involved.
In many ways my story is a perfect book for Bath with its plethora of independent schools. The story follows two private-school students on a pupil exchange with a state secondary school. Tasked with showing them how the other half lives are three pupils: Josephine, Winston and Andrew. They have to guide the newbies through the madness, mischief and miscreants of their new school… without incident. Fat chance!
This is a story about what unites us more than divides us. It is also about the excitement and embarrassment of being a teenager, and how that first kiss can turn your stomach, and your whole world upside down.
Weirdly enough, I have actually performed at the Bath Children’s Literary Festival in the past, but as an Architect, not an author. This is me running a workshop on behalf of DKA, as a confused alien, trying to get primary school pupils to design a fabulous classroom, where aliens could learn all about the earth. It was great fun. Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance as an author.
Andrew Batty is a Senior Architect at DKA and author of ‘The Boy and the Briefcase and the Moose.’ For details visit http://www.andrewbattyauthor.co.uk