Ex-teacher inspired to write first novel

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An ex-All Saints’ teacher has drawn on his experience with teenagers to write a book about a rocky romance between two school pupils.

John Clarke says although the characters and the setting are fictional the tone of the novel is true to the experience of teenagers everywhere.

John, who was deputy head of English at the school from 1985-90, said: “I did not want to pull any punches.

“I wanted to paint a realistic picture of the bumpy journey through life faced by young people.

“The book touches upon peer group pressure, bullying, fragmented families, violence and grief, but essentially it is a love story.”

Who the Hell is Ricky Bell? tells the story of a standoffish school misfit who comes to the attention of a fellow school mate.

Reviewer James Nash described the book as ‘a gripping, if bumpy journey where life can be messy.

He added: “Who the Hell is Ricky Bell? explores some key issues - growing up, dealing with changes in life and falling in love.

“I often found myself smiling with recognition at the realness of the characters and places. I loved this book but it also brought me to tears.”

John, who at one time played cricket for Sherwood Colliery, said the idea for the book stemmed from a class exercise in which he encouraged students to write about experiences relevant to their own lives.

“The central characters are teenagers aged 15-16 but essentially it is a love story and would not preclude anyone from reading it.

“I hope anyone who reads it recognises something of themselves in it.”

Who the Hell is Ricky Bell? is available on Amazon priced £6.99.

If you are part of a reading group and would like to hear John read the book phone him on 01924 256368 or emailjohn.i.clarke@btinternet.com.