'A word with…’ is The Ringing World’s series of quick interviews. And we need your help! We want to find out the stories and personalities hidden behind ringing. And that doesn’t just mean the ‘famous’ ringers (whatever that means!). There are interesting people all around. Give it a go!

Some tips

Find someone to interview. Perhaps your teacher, student, steeplekeeper, district secretary, or the person who never says very much during practice. Maybe ask the nice person you met at that monthly practice last year. Or try your luck with that posh conductor? (They’ll probably be flattered!)

Ask them nicely, and decide the interview format. It might be over the phone or Skype, or they might prefer to do it in writing. If it’s spoken, find a way of recording it. Informal writing works fine for this. If they’re nervous, perhaps send them the questions beforehand.

Plan your questions. Aim for about ten main questions. We’ve got some ideas below. You don’t have to use them – make up your own. But if you’re stuck, pick a few and work through them.

  • It’s best to have a rough plan before you start, to keep it moving. But don’t be stuck to the plan. If your subject starts to talk about something interesting, ask another question about that.
  • Try and make most of the questions general and open-ended. You need a few details – think about what a reader will need to know if they’ve never heard of the person – but generally the chat should be mostly fun, not factual.
  • Make some of the questions general (“How did you get into ringing?”) and some of them specific to the person (“What’s the story behind your unusual middle name?”).

Write it up. Try to do this straight away so you don’t forget! Don’t worry about including every word, or even every question or answer. But if you think you’ve misrepresented the conversation, just ask your subject if they’re happy with it. Aim for around 1,000 words maximum. But an interesting interview might be shorter or longer than that.

Don’t worry ... if you’re not sure about details, like what file format it should be in, or punctuation or spelling or font size. That’s the Editor’s job to sort! Just send it in somehow – in an email is fine.

By the end, we need to know who they are (don’t expect the readers to know already!), a good story, something about their ringing, and something about their life outside of ringing.

And make sure you include a picture!

Sample questions

  • How did you start ringing?
  • What do you do outside of ringing?
  • What do you enjoy about ringing?
  • What are three great ringing memories?
  • And what about a story of when it all went wrong?
  • Who was an influential ringer for you?
  • Do you have any goals or ambitions?
  • What do you want to say to ringers?
  • How do you remember your experience of learning to ring?
  • What unexpected things has ringing taught you?
  • Tell me more about…
BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers