‘Head Hunted’ is John Poulton’s latest novel set in a fictional Lancashire school. September term starts with the head teacher suddenly deciding to retire. The search for a replacement takes place over the ensuing academic year but it’s not as straight forward as you might expect.
Internal candidates competing for the role each believe they are the perfect choice but who, if any, will win? If jousting was fashionable things might have been easier. The wide-ranging mix of personalities is just as you might find in any work situation but the ‘behind the scenes’ view of school life from the vantage point of the staff room is less familiar. The entertaining plot has a good pace with plenty of humour and the occasional shock.
Although the author has 30 years’ experience to draw from he is more than ‘a retired teacher’.
At the age of 16 John left school to become a telephone engineer. With access to cash he spent his late teens living life; going abroad and enjoying a thriving Manchester music scene. As a young adult he became an amateur actor, learned to play guitar, joined a band and volunteered as a youth leader.
“So what prompted the change of career?” I asked.
“The idea was put to me by a monk on a seaside coach trip to Bournemouth. It had never crossed my mind until I had a chat with him. He just suggested it and ‘the lights came on’. I knew I was going to go for it.”
So, in his early twenties, John returned to education. After studying A levels in the evenings, he gained entry to Southampton University and, with a degree in Theology, completed his training at Cambridge University. In 1988 he took a post teaching RE and theatre studies.
“What aspect of teaching did you enjoy the most?” I asked him.
“The interaction with people and the ‘penny drop’ moments of wonder when a kid ‘got it’. I’m naturally gregarious and extraverted (a show off) and being in front of people plays to my strengths. I like to communicate.”
Over the years, John has become an accomplished classical guitarist, singer/songwriter, qualified hypnotherapist and travelled extensively. Inspired by a trip to Africa, he became chair and trustee for the Rwanda Group Trust charity.
He currently spends time helping to care for his elderly father, cycling and walking, while music, theatre, travel and writing remain his life-long hobbies; the latter being expertly combined on his own travel blog website – ‘Should I Go 2’.
He has also written three other books:
- Missing the Bus – a memoir of his early life
- The Luck of the Crane – a novel set against the backdrop of the Rwandan Genocide
- Atheists for Jesus – Jesus for Atheists – a short theological textbook setting out known historical facts about Jesus
“Do you have a favourite?” I asked.
“I like each of them for different reasons. ‘Missing the Bus’ was for my mum, so it’s special.
I’m proud of ‘The Luck of the Crane’ because I feel passionate about Rwanda and what its people went through.
I’ve always wanted to explain the points that are presented in ‘Jesus for Atheists’. Again, I’m passionate about that and it’s closely linked to my teaching vocation. It’s a discussion I’ve had so many times and just thought I’d write it down.
My favourite book is ‘Head Hunted’ right now, though. I suppose I’m looking back with rose coloured spectacles, but we had such a laugh, both in class and in the staffroom. I’m celebrating those memories.
I always wanted to write a humorous book and ‘Head Hunted’ gave me that opportunity.”
‘Head Hunted’ is self-published and available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.
If you’re planning a holiday and need ideas, John’s travel blog ‘www.shouldigo2.com’ is definitely worth a look. Just click the image below.