One of Britain’s bestselling children’s authors visited Seaford library recently.
Jacqueline Wilson, who is best known for creating the cherished characters of Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather, spoke to us about her love of libraries, what inspires her and what she enjoys about being about an author.
The former Children’s Laureate has been writing from a young age, writing her first ‘novel’ when she was just nine years old, and said she always wanted to write.
“Right from the time that I realised that the name on the spine was an author, I thought I want to be that. I want to write my own books.
“Very few people are lucky to achieve their childhood dream so it’s just fantastic.”
“I never thought I’d get published. Even my mother said ‘who’d want to read something you’ve written’!”
Love of libraries
Jacqueline’s lifelong love of libraries began with in the small little room that housed Kingston library’s children’s section. “Still now I can visualise some of the books. Libraries are magical – what a wonderful service libraries offer.”
A ferocious reader as a child, Jacqueline was given special permission to join her library at six years old.
“We didn’t have much money and I was allowed a book at Christmas and on our summer holiday. You weren’t supposed to join the library until you were eight but my mother, who was a formidable woman, took me along to the library and said ‘she’s a really keen reader, why can’t she have a ticket’, and so I got my library ticket and read my way around the children’s library.”
‘I hope I’ve got better’
Despite first writing on teenage magazines at 17, Jacqueline says her way of writing hasn’t changed a great deal over the years.
“I hope I’ve got a little bit better. Before my first book was published, I was a junior journalist and I think I still have the same tone and style.”
And she always wanted to reflect real life in her books, and has written about fostering, adoption and divorce.
“When I started to be published children’s books were beginning to have a slightly different approach from earlier children’s books, where the children were all middle class and the mummies and daddies didn’t have quarrels.”
The award-winning author has written over 100 books and more than 40 million copies of her books have been sold.
Her latest book, The Other Edie Trimmer, was published recently. The story features a girl obsessed with all things Victorian who finds herself in the nineteenth century after she is given a notebook from the era.
“I love writing modern books and I love writing historical books so thought I’d write a timeslip book. I wanted to show Victorian times from a modern child’s point of view.
Moving to the country
After many years living in London, Jacqueline moved to East Sussex a few years ago.
“When I told friends I was moving to the county, most of them thought I was mad as I’m such a townie, but I have never once regretted it.
“In East Sussex seeing the fields, with lambs and the sea glinting in the distance – it’s so beautiful, I couldn’t live anywhere better.”
Visit your library
For many years in the noughties, Jacqueline was the most borrowed author in Britain’s libraries.
Many of her best loved books are available to borrow from our libraries including Tracey Beaker, Hetty Feather, The Primrose Railway Children, The Magic Faraway Tree: A New Adventure, Project Fairy and The Runaway Girls.
Why not visit your local library to find your favourite Jacqueline Wilson book? Find your local library and check opening times.