We were lucky enough to be able to put our questions to Jacqueline and this also included a question from 3 competition winners. We set a competition in our Easter newsletter asking young writers to submit an original, interesting question for Jacqueline and the best 3 questions went on to be answered by Jacqueline! Well done to Gabrielle MacDonald, Lauren Billett and Ella Waghorn.
You have had an amazing career for over 40 years as a children’s author! Has it been everything you imagined it would be?
I think I've been incredibly lucky to have such a marvellous career writing children's books. I've wanted to be a writer since I was six years old, so it means the world to me to have achieved my ambition. I used to fantasise as a child about being a published author, sometimes even pretending I was being interviewed. It's very strange to have all my dreams come true - better than I'd ever imagined.
What was your inspiration and motivation to write your first ever children’s book ‘Ricky’s Birthday’?
I wrote stories throughout my childhood and by the time I was in my early twenties I'd written at least three full-length novels - though I didn't send them to a publisher because I didn't think they were good enough. Then one day I took my small daughter Emma to the local library and discovered a news series of children's books aimed at beginner readers. They all had urban settings and were very modern and up to date. I loved them and decided to have a go at writing one myself. I counted up the number of pages, worked out roughly how many words I had to write, and thought of an idea which would fit in with the series. That's how I came to write 'Ricky's Birthday.'
Do you have a special place you go to for inspiration on new books your writing or do you have any special requirements when writing?
I don't really go anywhere specific looking for inspiration for my books. I find ideas creep up on me when I least expect it - when I'm walking my puppy, wandering round the shops, coming home tired from a day out … I like to write early in the morning, simply because I don't get disturbed then. Sometimes I write in longhand in notebooks, sometimes I write straight onto the computer.
Out of everything you have achieved in your career what was the stand out moment for you?
I'm not sure what the stand out moment was for me during my career. Perhaps it was the crazy event I did in Bournemouth when I signed for eight whole hours!
You're stranded on a desert island, you’re only allowed three books, which would you choose?
Which three books would I choose for a desert island? I think I'd have 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte and 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens, because they're wonderful classics and very long. Then I'd have a delightful easy-to-read modern novel - maybe 'The Accidental Tourist' by Anne Tyler.
If you could give one writing tip to a young writer what would it be?
I always suggest young writers read a great deal, because it enriches your imagination, increases your vocabulary, and shows you how other people tell their stories.
Why did you choose to write books for children instead of books for adults? (Question from Gabrielle MacDonald, age 9)
Hi Gabrielle - I wrote five or six novels for adults long ago, but I always wanted to write for children. I just find children more interesting to write about. I've written 100 books now - and hope to carry on writing many more!
If you could combine two books you have written to make one story, which two would it be and why? (Question from Lauren Billett)
That's an interesting question, Lauren. Perhaps it would be fun to combine 'The Illustrated Mum' with 'Lily Alone'. Dolphin and Lily might end up in care together. I think they'd become great friends.
I LOVE your book Diamond I am a big fan of all your books!! Are you going to do a sequel? (Question from Ella Waghorn)
I'm so glad you like 'Diamond', Ella. I think there will definitely be another story about Diamond and Hetty - but perhaps Hetty herself will write it. I haven't started it yet, but I've got lots of ideas!
A huge thank you to Jacqueline Wilson for answering our questions! If you'd like to find out more about Jacqueline and her work, then check out her funtastic website: www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk.