17 September 2018

Someone once asked me why all the children in my books were odd ones out.  This surprised me – but when I had a quick think about it I realized they were spot on!  I imagined all my fictional girls and boys clustered all around me (quite a crowd, as I’ve written 108 books so far).

Shirley from Jacqueline Wilson's Wave Me Goodbye

Shirley from Wave Me Goodbye

I mentally looked them up and down and they grinned at me, or waved, or hung their heads shyly, or pushed their way forwards – and they were all different, naughty, weird, fierce, bashful, odd.  I think the oddest of all was the young girl in Jacky Daydream – my autobiography!

I knew I wanted to be a writer from when I was six years old.  I was a passionate reader, borrowing books from the library every week, and reading my own few Puffins again and again until I could practically chant them by heart.  I used to pretend the children in my favourite books were my own imaginary friends.  I was particularly fond of a book called Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield and pretended I was one of these sisters who went to stage school.  When I came to write my own book Wave Me Goodbye about evacuees in the Second World War I had my heroine Shirley equally obsessed with Ballet Shoes, playing her own imaginary games.

quotation

I knew I wanted to be a writer from when I was six years old. I was a passionate reader, borrowing books from the library every week…

I think using your imagination is a brilliant way of entertaining yourself, and comforting yourself when things go wrong.  Nearly all my characters do it.  When Mandy White in Bad Girls is being badly bullied at school she pretends to be a really cool and incredibly popular girl called Miranda Rainbow.  My Victorian foundling girl Hetty Feather calls imagining ‘picturing’ and it helps her cope when she’s locked up in the attic by horrible Matron Bottomly.  Sad little Dolphin in The Illustrated Mum pretends she has witchly powers and imagines hilarious spells to get the better of her enemies.

quotation

I think using your imagination is a brilliant way of entertaining yourself, and comforting yourself when things go wrong.

My Mum Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

Tracy Beaker and Jess

I think my most popular character Tracy Beaker has the most bizarre and quirky imagination of all.  I’ve now written a brand new book My Mum Tracy Beaker about Tracy grown up, with a daughter of her own called Jess.  Wait till you see what she’s like now she’s an adult – and find out whether her childhood dreams come true! 

When I was a little girl and said I wanted to be a writer when I grew up my mum and dad laughed at me.  We lived on a council estate and they said no-one could ever get a book published from our sort of background.  Even my teachers thought I was silly. 

I’m so happy that I proved you can achieve, no matter what kind of background you come from.  I try and make all my characters ambitious too, and do my best to wave my magic fictional wand for them!

 

My Mum Tracy Beaker is published on 4th October 2018. 

Related articles