The Treasury Interviews: The Russley Writers’ Club interviews Sarah Aileen

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Sarah Aileen is a budding writer from outer Christchurch with her husband and two naughty cats! Her background is cooking, as a qualified chef of eleven years. She is a novice in the writing world, but is continually inspired by the great writers around her, and draws from her surroundings to soothe her soul from the daily grind of nine til five.

 RWC team 4 RWC team 3


The Russley Writers’ Club is a group of students at Russley School (Christchurch), from Year 5 to Year 8. We meet three afternoons a week to hone our craft, writing everything from poetry to short stories. For many of our writers, English is a second language. We enjoy a tradition of writing success, with many of our students winning writing competitions, and some have had their work published online and in print.


The Interview

Mera: What are your favourite words that rhyme?

Sarah: I use a lot of foodie words, colours, anything visual … and especially alliteration eg. the petulant pea pod passed by the pickled pompous pepper. Rhyming wise I like slime and lime!

Hazel: How many poems have you written?

Sarah: Too many to count, approximately 150 plus, although some end up at the back of my notebook or in the bin!

Grace: Do you ever meet your editor or illustrator?

Sarah: Haven’t yet no J

Darcy: What is your favourite book of poetry?

Sarah: Kerrin Sharpe’s collection, and also Bernadette Hall’s The Lustre Jug are among my top poetry reads, as well as Roald Dahl.

Anthony: If you had the chance to go back in time and study to be something else, what would you do?

Sarah: Well, I am a qualified Chef by trade also, but I attempted to be a Vet when I was at school and wished I had the stomach for it. The one time I trained to be a vet I fainted face first and broke my chin and front tooth out … so needless to say I didn’t follow up on that subject.

Pierre: What was life like for you as a child? Did you have the internet to help you think of or find ideas for your writing?

Sarah: Life as a child for me was fine, I came from a split family so we moved about every two weeks to Dad’s. Mum worked full time, so us three kids kept the house in order and kept entertained together. We had internet at high school, the computer was coming in when I was at primary school. My ideas for writing never come from the internet, I find my ideas around me, from experiences, feelings, situations, watching people and from things I see in the news. Sometimes I research a word, or topic on the internet but I never seem to get ideas there, it’s not creative enough for me.

Brayden: What do you think is the best poem you’ve written?

Sarah: I wrote one for my father on Father’s Day which I was quite happy with but my favourite piece was one I wrote about one of my ancestors wedding dress that was in the Otago Museum who wore a black dress as did I. It was nice finding out I was not the only rebel in my family.

Mirette: What books did you read when you were a kid?

Sarah: A lot of Roald Dahl, Hairy Maclary, Charlotte’s Web was a favourite, The Hungry Caterpillar, The Breakfast Club collection & Famous Five collection (when I was a bit older). I also loved comic books! I was obsessed with Archie and a few others. I forget their names.

Kara: What was the first poem you ever wrote?

Sarah: It was rubbish! I don’t quite remember which came first but it was one I wrote at CHCH Polytechnic with Frankie McMillan & Kerrin Sharpe tutoring me, they smiled and said it had ‘potential’ I knew it was rubbish! So I started again!

Holly: Have you ever judged a poetry competition?

Sarah: No, not yet J

Quinton: What was your most embarrassing moment?

Sarah: As a child, I was with my little brother standing at the Butcher’s with Mum, and she was calling us to the car, so I kept calling my little brother who would’ve been about 3 and I was 5yrs old, he wasn’t listening so that made me mad, so I grabbed his curly hair and pulled on him to come to the car. But the kid started crying, and turned out it wasn’t my little brother standing in front of me anymore… the poor kid!

Thanks Russley Writing Club and Aileen for a great interview!

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