Posted: 7 October, 2015

Putney’s other Writer in Residence


Miss Rebecca Wait, member of Putney’s English Department and author of two acclaimed novels, discusses writing, teaching and life, as it is.

As far as she remembers, Miss Wait always loved telling stories. She started to write them as soon as she could, around the age of 6 years old. The recurrent hot topic of these stories? Aliens! Since that time, her writing has dramatically evolved….

She grew as a novelist during her teenage years as she took a closer look at people around her and became more interested in developing characters; who are they? What are they thinking? What motivates them? These questions were “a way to make sense of the world around me.”

Miss Wait wrote her first novel after graduating from Oxford University and while working as a teaching assistant in Dartford. She wrote in the evenings, driven and committed, and eventually put a final full stop to The View on The Way Down (which was published in 2013 by Picador). “The feeling I experienced when I put the final full stop didn’t really live up to my expectations. I was satisfied, but it is only when I sent the hard copy in that I really realised I just had written my first book!”


It was then she decided to train to become an English teacher. Miss Wait loves teaching as much as she loves writing, and would like to pass on to her students her enthusiasm and passion for English, reading and writing.

Miss Wait’s second novel, The Followers, was published in May 2015.


In her PIE talk, Rebecca discussed the path of publication, the pitfalls and joys of being a writer (including how she once embarrassed herself in front of an audience by addressing it barefoot, after her heels got stuck into the wooden floor of the stage!). She gave inspiring writer top tips, like developing a thick skin and being persistent, and discussed what it really takes to become a writer. Questions included:

What is your favourite book?

Currently, it is The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. That is the answer I give when I am being asked this question at the moment, but it changes from time to time.

What are your favourite authors?

and French writer Flaubert, as I studied French at A Level. I am inspired by clear and restrained prose styles.

How do you come up with a story?

It is usually something small that will spark an interest and will give me the need and envy to write about it.

When you start writing a novel, do you know the ending?

Yes, I do have an idea of what is going to happen towards the end but I wish I could plan better!t do too much planning before I write; I know the key event that are going to happen, but I work out how they are going to happen as I am writing. The first draft is made for trials and errors, and there is a lot of redrafting before coming to the final result. The plot is a big challenge for me but I have more faith in what I write now, as my two previous books gave me confidence.

How long does it take you to write a book and do you get bored sometimes?

Yes, I do get bored! Especially when other people are going out, and I am staying by myself in my room to write! The time I take to write varies from one book to another; for example for The Followers, it took me about a year to plan but then a few months to write.


For more information about Miss Rebecca Wait and the books she has published, you can visit her blog:

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