Best known for creating characters such as Tracey Beaker and Hetty Feather, Dame Jacqueline Wilson has spent her life writing novels that present serious topics with childlike innocence. The Barnes Booktop Marquee was full to bursting as she took to the stage to introduce her 104th book, Rent a Bridesmaid. When it came to question time, kids were jumping up and down for the chance to speak to Jacqueline. Here, Juliet Vandensteen brings you the prolific writer’s answers to their burning questions…
How did you know writing was your destiny?
From the age of six I had decided that I wanted to be a writer. I was the child that from the moment I woke up, instead of getting up and gathering my homework or my sports kit, had my head in a book. I wrote all sorts of stories, even a full-length novel when I was 15. I really wanted to be a writer and yet not a single person took me seriously.
How long does it normally take for you to write a story?
It can take me up to six months. That does sound like I take forever, but it takes a long time, and I like to write every single day, but not all day.
Out of all your characters, who do you think is the most similar to you?
I’m a bit like the twins in Double Act. There’s a bit of me that’s like Garnet – quiet and hardworking. And then there’s a bit of me that’s like Ruby – quite noisy at times, a bit of a show off, and loves to be the centre of attention.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I cross my fingers and hope it doesn’t happen. I would always suggest if you get stuck writing a story to go away and do something else for ten minutes and then go back to it.
Do you have a favourite book?
I have grown very fond of Hetty Feather. I’ve also become very attached to The Illustrated Mum and my newest book, Rent a Bridesmaid.
Do you have an idea for your next book?
I have written a new book called Clover Moon that will come out in October. It’s another Victorian book but Clover is a brand new character. So that’s been sent off to my publishers and now I’m writing a book about evacuees. I’m on chapter one of that.
For more from the wonderful world of Jacqueline Wilson, visit jacquelinewilson.co.uk.