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Guest Author - Helen Brandom

A former primary school teacher, Helen has written numerous plays, serials and drama episodes for the stage and radio, with her work broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, Granada Television, Carlton TV and the BBC. Helen was inspired to write Writing in the Sand after hearing a Radio 4 programme on children carers.


What was your inspiration to start writing ‘Writing in the Sand’ and why?

The start was watching the finals of a talent contest and learning that a brilliant young singer was a carer for both parents. My ears and eyes were suddenly opened, and I noticed everything to do with child carers. I believe there are currently around 166,000 in the UK.

You used to be a primary school teacher, what was the most enjoyable thing about teaching? 

On the educational front, it was the excitement of watching 5-year-olds starting to read. I was an early reader and longed see all my pupils get the pleasure I’d had as a child.  On the emotional front, I got huge satisfaction from thinking I was one of the first adults to take their mum’s or dad’s place for several hours a day.

If you could give one piece of advice to our young writers what would it be?

Stick at it! There’s so much you can learn by reading: so read, read, read! Try studying your favourite author and see if you can write a short piece in their style. Don’t worry – your own ‘voice’ will emerge!

Have you started on another novel? If so could you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, I have. Its working title is ‘Truth Hurts’ and is about young love, and how the two main characters and their families try to cope with the consequences of a tragic accident.


Are you currently reading a book at the moment? If so what?

I’m reading ‘Ketchup Clouds’ by Annabel Pitcher.


Who is your all time favourite author and why?

What a difficult question!  It’s hard to choose between Anne Tyler, American and Carol Shields, Canadian. Despite the ocean between us, I identify with their family plots, sharply drawn characters and original plots. Though they never ‘over write’, they credit us with finding time to enjoy their beautiful prose.  Oh – and they’re often funny!

What are your plans/hopes for the future in your career as an author?

‘Writing in the Sand’ is my first novel. I’m hoping very much that it will emotionally touch Young Adults, and that I’ll write future books to fulfil this need.

To find out more about 'Writing in the Sand' please visit

*Come and 'like' our Young Writers Facebook page between the 20th - 27th March 2014 and you could win a copy of Helen Brandom's debut novel!