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Guest Author - Jeannie Waudby

One Of Us is your debut novel which is out this month! How does it feel to be a published author? Did you ever think it would happen?

It's very nice to see my book in a shop, after all the hours working on it on my computer. It is difficult finding a publisher so there were times when I wondered if it would ever happen. But I really wanted my characters to come alive by people reading their story so I carried on believing that one day it would be published.

 

What was your inspiration to start writing One Of Us?

I had the idea of someone infiltrating a group they didn't belong to in a dream when I was on holiday in Brittany. I think the bombs came into the story because of the London bombs. I had always wondered what would make someone decide to kill strangers.

 

You spent your childhood growing up in Hong Kong, what was that like? Why did you move to the UK?

It was lovely growing up in Hong Kong because we lived on a small island which was a leprosy treatment centre. It was beautiful and full of interesting animals, plants and fruit - in our garden we had melons, pineapples and satsumas - and in the summer we could swim in the sea every day. We also knew everyone on the island so we never locked our doors. We left to come to the UK when I was 14 because all the leprosy patients were going to be treated in an ordinary hospital with everyone else, rather than being isolated on an island.

 

Have you had time to start writing or thinking of your second novel? If so could we have a sneak peek into what it will be about?

I have written a first draft of a story about a girl who tries to save her brothers from being transported, but ends up being accused of a much worse crime herself. I'm also halfway through another story about a fugitive.

Growing up did you have a favourite author which inspired you to go on and write your book?

At 7 I discovered the Narnia books and I loved the magical land of talking animals. I also read everything I could find by E Nesbit - my favourite was probably THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET. When I went to secondary school I found Joan Aiken and I loved her books about Dido Twite, and her take on the industrial revolution: MIDNIGHT IS A PLACE. At 12 I enjoyed THE LORD OF THE RINGS and I also started to read Shakespeare's comedies. There were so many other books that moved me too. I thought it was amazing to escape into the world of a book and that I would love to be able to make stories like that too.

 

You currently teach English to refugees, if you could learn any language what would it be?

I wish I had learnt to read and write Chinese when I was young and it would have been much easier. I'd like to be able to speak the languages I've started to learn more fluently: Chinese and German. I'd love to be able to speak Gaelic because my grandparents spoke it. At the moment I'm learning BSL so I'd like to be able to speak and understand that a lot better too.

 

If you wasn’t an author, what would be your dream job and why?

I've always had an idea that it would be nice to have a tea room or a van selling tea and cakes at the beach.

 

If you could give our young readers one tip on how to be a good writer what would that be?

Read as much as you can. Write as often as you can. Don't give up! I know that's three - maybe the middle one is the most important.

 

Finally, what are your hopes for the future in your career?

I'd like to write more YA books. I'd like to carry on teaching because I enjoy that too and the two things go together quite well.

 

To find out more about Jeannie and check out the new trailer on 'One Of us' please visit www.jeanniewaudby.com