Growing up, I can still remember how I wanted to be a writer. I was the one, who would spend hours in the school library, dreaming of how I would one day leave a book behind on those shelves. This is why I am so exicted to introduce this new interview. I was very humbled to speak to Jacqueline Wilson, my idol when growing up.
Hello Jacqueline, thank you for agreeing to this interview. As one of the more popular children’s authors, you have a new book, Clover Moon. Why did you decide to write historical fiction?
Yes, I’m currently writing a book about evacuees in World War II which will be published next Spring. I find it extraordinary that children of all ages – some very little – were sent away to complete strangers in the hope that they would be safe in the country. Some children thoroughly enjoyed their time as evacuees but I know others had a very tough time indeed.
Once you have an idea for a book, how do you begin to write the manuscript?
I jump straight in. I start by typing the heading “Chapter 1” on my computer and then start the first paragraph without too much deliberation and then hope for the best!
“I’ve always been interested in the Victorian era and now I’ve discovered I so enjoy writing books set in this period.”
Could you take us through your daily writing routine?
After letting my dog out in the garden and feeding my cat, I write in bed first thing in the morning, generally not getting up until 10.00 or 11.00 am. Then I might have to go to a meeting or go out to the shops. I often write again in the afternoon and deal with any journalism, emails and letters in the evening.
Previously, you’ve remarked how you like to have music playing whilst writing, particularly Queen or Freddie Mercury. Why do you do this?
I’ve actually changed my writing habits now and prefer to write in silence. I blot out ordinary household noises and immerse myself in the world that I am writing. I only leap into action when my cat mews plaintively or my dog starts barking.
What are you working on next? -see above answer
I have written a couple of plays long ago but for one reason or another they were never staged. I have been very lucky though in that several of my books have been adapted for the stage by other people. Vicky Ireland who used to run the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon has put on many of my books as plays and I have enjoyed every one of them. Most recently, Hetty Feather has been adapted as a play and had a West End Run as well as a UK tour – it even went to America.
Will you come to write for teens again? (And if not, why?)
I might write about Victorian teenagers but I find the current obsession with social media a bit limiting so I haven’t written about contemporary teens for a while. If I write about Victorian teenagers I don’t need to worry about keeping up with the latest trend in social media, or having my characters worry about things on Instagram or Snapchat. It’s a very alien world to me!
“After letting my dog out in the garden and feeding my cat, I write in bed first thing in the morning, generally not getting up until 10.00 or 11.00 am.”
What is your best advice for people who wish to follow in your footsteps?
I always suggest people read a great deal, and write a little bit every day. Even if it’s just a paragraph, it will get you into the habit of writing regularly.
Random: Who is your hero and why?
David Hockney because he is still passionate about his art and is forever looking forward, not backwards.
Thank you very much to Jacqueline for answering my questions, and to her brilliant publicist, a Naomi Cooper, who helped make this happen. To purchase the book, click here. Or to read my review, click here.