Tales from the Chalkface; Philip Key Meets Brian Jones, Building a New Career as an Author after a Lifetime in Teaching

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

Tales from the Chalkface; Philip Key Meets Brian Jones, Building a New Career as an Author after a Lifetime in Teaching


Byline: Philip Key

IN A NEW book on schoolboy life most of the characters swear, cheat, drink, smoke and try to avoid work. And that's just the masters.

Nine Till Four is a first novel by Birkenhead-born Brian Jones, 58, a former Wirral teacher who five years ago took early retirement.

It's a comic novel but Jones suggests that it has a basis of truth - he has wisely set it in the early 1970s and a fictional Burns Secondary Modern Boys School.

His anti-hero is English teacher Trimble who - between nipping off to the local pub for passionate sessions with the landlady - is desperate to get the job of head of English.

It doesn't quite go to plan but, in between, the novel bubbles with classic comedy capers involving the indolent masters and equally indolent boys.

Typically Trimble tells his landlady lover: "I could sweat blood with these kids and they'd still be pig-ignorant."

It has taken Jones a lifetime of teaching to write the book. As a young man planning a career, he had "some vague idea to do some writing." Then he discovered teaching.

"I was not intending to stay in it but found I enjoyed it so I just carried on."

He trained in Nottingham - the only occasion in his life when he lived away from Wirral - and returned to teach at a primary school. He felt he wanted to specialise - "at the primary school you taught all the subjects" - and turned to secondary education.

He moved a few times "for promotion" and eventually ended up as head of English at Bebington High School. It was from there that he took early retirement five years ago.

In his final school years, he had turned to writing fiction. "There were some short stories which appeared in writers' circle magazines, none of them to do with teaching."

The breakthrough came when the women's magazine Bella published one of his stories Be Prepared.

It was a magazine read by his teacher wife Pam and Jones had spotted that each issue had a mini mystery on the last page.

His story with a twist was about a man who is bullied by his boss and discovered one day standing over his prone body. It seems the bullied man has strangled him, the twist being that he had actually saved the boss's life after he had had a heart attack.

"I needed someone to tell me that what I was writing was good and when someone was prepared to publish my work and pay me money, it showed I was not deluding myself and that I could write."

In fact the story was successfully sold elsewhere, South Africa, Canada, and used at a Cheltenham writing college to explain how to construct a short story.

The story is now framed in Jones's study at his Prenton home, complete with an uncashed cheque for $50 from one publisher. "It was in dollars so I never got round to cashing it."

He had already started working on his comic novel at the time, with some chapters written. In fact it was to be seven years from writing to publication.

"It took a long time because I wanted to get the structure right. It was a few years before it came to be in anything like the form it is now."

At one stage, he sought professional guidance and was told it was no good.

So he scrapped the manuscript and started again.

It was rejected by a number of publishers until one expressed an interest but wanted changes. By the time Jones had made them the publisher had lost interest.

Then a small publishing house said it would publish. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tales from the Chalkface; Philip Key Meets Brian Jones, Building a New Career as an Author after a Lifetime in Teaching
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.