During Lockdown and without the usual pressure and hectic nature of my work, I decided to undertake the writing of a fiction book.
I enrolled on a ’21 Days to eBook publication’ course from my friend Neil Bakewell and started to write a short (one hour) fiction book for Kindle on 30th March 2020. I decided to write a semi-autobiographical book about a group of characters at a boys’ school and call them the Back Row Boys. They’re all semi-autobiographical
On April 21st the book, Back Row Boys: Criminal Fashion was published under my Jamie Stone pen-name on Amazon in the UK and worldwide.
And then I wrote another one, and then another and another. Each one semi-autobiographical and each one designed to help readers with shorter, exciting storylines with no adult language or content that may get reluctant readers to dip into an eBook. All the books are about the trials of teenage life and about how fitting in is tough – and being an individual is even tougher. They also cover relationships, friendships and family issues.
After sharing the books on social media, I had a number of discussions with teachers – and especially those in English and #PSHE who said these stories would be good to start debate in Citizenship and PSHE sessions – as each of the stories deals with a different set of issues which are encountered in the journey towards adulthood.
So, with this in mind, the first four titles from the Back Row Boys series are contained within a Paperback edition which also includes a section of discussion points for each of the books so that teachers, mentors, youth workers and parents can use the stories to explore the issues brought up in the book.
The stories all follow the key character Mark Allen and his best friend Charlie and Mark’s girlfriend Vanessa as they navigate their way through school, college, sixth form and onwards considering relationships, bravado, friendships and moral challenges. The four titles are as follows:
Criminal Fashion – finding an identity, creating an image and stealing clothes to fit in…and what happens when things go too far, including getting arrested.
Where are you really from? – with a title inspired by Afua Hirsch’s experiences recounted in her BRIT[ish] book is about family secrets, mixed heritage, pushing boundaries, racism and adoption.
Battle Lines – delves into the murky world of football violence, getting carried away and anger management, and what happens when a young man’s notion of respect and his position in a hierarchy is challenged.
Curve Ball – is about intimate relationships, dealing with hormonal changes, men’s attitude to medical issues and cancer.
This paperback includes all four stories and a final chapter featuring questions that will be useful in opening up debate around the issues in the book, teenage and adolescent challenges and allow teachers and pastoral staff to use the book to discuss individual’s feelings.
The book is available exclusively from Amazon at £7.99 and through the Jamie Stone author page you can see the range of eBooks and the reviews received to date.
Back Row Boys: The First Four Stories: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08B379FQT/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4
If anyone is interested in your students hearing from me as the author then I will be doing #BackRowBoys book tours for English or PSHE sessions when schools are back to normal. Look out for video content too!
In addition, those of you who have heard my LAUNCH workshop, these books cover many of the stories I tell in this workshop.
Thanks, stay safe.