Published author began her writing career as a Buckingham schoolgirl

Fay Knowles looks back on starting her first adventure story, aged 11, and how her writing has now come full circle

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:21 pm

An author who now lives in The Bahamas began her writing career as a schoolgirl in Buckingham

Fay Knowles is a Scottish-born writer who was brought up in England and has also lived in Australia and Canada, before making The Bahamas her home.

A Fleet Street-trained journalist, she has published poetry, romantic fiction and short stories.

Fay Knowles

But in this article, Fay, now aged 77, describes how she began writing her first adventure story when she was a pupil at Buckingham's Royal Latin School, and how she feels her writing has now come full circle.

Full Circle, by Fay Knowles

When I was between 11 and 12 years old (1955-1956), I wrote a children's adventure book.

At the time, I was living with my parents, Josephine and William Johanson, in Buckingham, where they owned and operated the former Saxby's, a watchmaker and jeweller's shop, on Castle Street. I attended the old Royal Latin School.

Fay and her husband Erskine

My father gave me an unused accounts ledger in which to write the book. It was quite thick and had a hard cover. I carried it everywhere I went for a whole year, scribbling my adventure story, Two Gangs in a Cliff, every chance I had in school recesses, lunch hours and after school.

At the end of the year it was finished, but I had no outlet for it. I didn't even have a typewriter. And there were no computers or internet in those days.

During the school term after that, I lived in the hostel of Wolverton Grammar School. The housemaster, Mr. Hodge, who was an author, read my book to give me his opinion. He gave me a little review with a few suggestions for changes. I was thrilled when he told me it was very good and I should try to get it published.

However, the book still didn't go anywhere. I carried on writing the poems and stories I had written since the age of nine and took my book with me when I moved to Devon, Canada and finally The Bahamas.

Part of the original manuscript of Fay's adventure story, Two Gangs in a Cliff

I still have several pages from the book, but sadly the rest of it was somehow lost over the years. I believe it may had been eaten by insects when stored on a Bahamian Family Island for a while!

One comment from a friend when I posted a copy of the part manuscript on Facebook was: "This is remarkable, the ledger book, your penmanship, wonderful!"

Other comments ranged from: "Such a lovely start to a great career," to: "This reminds me of how you used to scribble when we were in the same class at school! What a shame that you lost some of your precious writing. Such fond memories and look at you now," to: "A writer from the start."

And one friend wrote: "Is it worth trying to edit and produce a new one from this - the writing is so good for an 11 year old - signs of things to come..... and I want to know how it all progressed!"

I did start typing it up some time ago and do think I should be able to write an ending again, even though I can't remember what the original ending was.

What I find interesting about this old manuscript is that my current writing style doesn't seem to have changed from way back then.

As I say in my writer's guide - How to Be the Best Writer Ever! - "For centuries, students have been instructed how to write correctly, but writing style cannot be taught."

Reading over what I have of the book, I realise that I have actually come full circle. I started off writing mysteries and dramas as a child and now I am working on Book Three in my Buchanan Mystery Romance Series, which is also full of drama.

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For more about Fay Knowles and her work, see