"Hi there! My name is Rachel Stedman. I’m a physiotherapist by background, but now I work as a freelance procurement specialist. I live in the wild and windy place of Dunedin, New Zealand, with my husband and two kids. I write mostly for children and young adults. I have had a number of short stories published in The School Journal and in various magazines and in 2012 I won the Tessa Duder Award for an unpublished YA work.
My first novel, A Necklace of Souls, was published by HarperCollins in 2013 (available in the United Kingdom from June 2015). A Necklace of Souls was awarded Best First Book at the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and my new novel, Inner Fire, will be released in November 2014.
I’m currently working on a sequel to A Necklace of Souls.
You can find out more about me on my website: www.RLStedman.com or follow me on twitter: @RLStedman
When I'm not writing, working or playing with my kids, I enjoy hiking, running and just generally mucking around."
Tips for Teaching Writing.
Encourage children to read. This sounds really trite, but if a child doesn't read, he/she will never understand how to write well.
Read exciting, funny stories that capture kids' imagination and their hearts. Ask them why they liked it - was it the characters? Was it the action? Was the ending satisfying? How else could it have ended? What words didn't they understand? What other words could the writer have used?
[Thinking of teenagers here] Writing is subversive. Write a satire about the principal (provided he or she has a sense of humour). Classroom or small group discussion - what things in their school would they want changed? What things work well? Why? Ask them to write down what they think. Before they know it, they'll have an opinion piece.
Writing is more than just putting words to paper; writing is about building stories. If students struggle with fiction, maybe there's another type of story they can tell, like something that happened to their grandfather (I did this, in Silas the Stretcher Bearer), or the time mum lost her keys, or the first time they went on a plane, or what it feels like to win a running race. It doesn't have to be written; it can be said out loud, or drawn, or made into a powerpoint. The important thing is to learn the shape of a story. The actual words can be added later.
Finally, if you have really eager students, you can do more than just writing, you can add in illustration, cover design, marketing strategies. They can create their own publishing house. Who knows - they might even make real money from their writing!
Marooned on Strange Shores - Semaphore, September 2010
An Evil Drinking Fountain - School Journal , Feb 2012
Silas the Stretcher Bearer - School Journal, Feb 2012
A Necklace of Souls - HarperCollins Voyager, 2013
Inner Fire - Waverley Productions, 2014
Olden Days - School Journal, November 2014"