1) Why children’s books? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
It chose me! I was writing for adults at the time, but entered a writing for children competition with an idea I had, just to see whether it was worth pursuing. I only wrote 500 words and a brief synopsis for the competition, but the judging publisher encouraged me to write the book. It got me an agent and a contract with Macmillan. I can honestly say it’s the best thing that happened to me – I absolutely love writing for children!
2) Is there a children’s author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
As a children’s writer, I now have an excuse to read as many children’s books as I like, which is wonderful, because there are so many fabulous authors out there and some amazing writing. If you think children’s books are just for children, think again – there is some great stuff on the children’s shelves. So, to answer your question, I would say that I’ve been influenced by many brilliant children’s writers.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
I’m Dougal Trump and it’s NOT my Fault! has been described as Bart Simpson meets Just William. It’s the first of a series in which football-loving Dougal Trump finds himself at risk from the mysterious creature living in the garden shed. Nobody believes him but as a precaution, he sets upon writing his will – rewarding those who help him, disinheriting those who get on his bad side, while fielding constant pleas from friends and associates [Cool will, Dougie! Can I have your playstation? – George]. Meanwhile, as limbs and windows alike are broken by rogue footballs and unhinged canines, Dougal finds himself in all sorts of trouble.
Writing it was huge fun and I’m pleased to say that the second book is already written and in the hands of my editor.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
Getting published in the children’s market is just as difficult as the adult market, but it can be done. My submission was taken off the slushpile by my agent, which is proof that the slushpile really does work. It’s a tough old road to publication but the main thing is to keep writing. Especially when you’re waiting to hear, writing is a lifeline. And when you get that deal, you forget all about the angst you had before.
For some advice about how to get published, visit the Writerly Bit of my website.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
I think that at the moment, it is more relevant to adult books. Many children’s books are illustrated and most children don’t have e-readers. But there is a growing e-book market for YA books – The Hunger Games for example.
As for the indie route, I wouldn’t go there myself, mainly because of the huge job of marketing your book and getting it into bookshops. It’s a lot easier if you have the backing of a traditional publisher.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
Social media has been a life-line for me. A way to instantly be in touch with other writers, when writing can be a lonely business. I think you need to be disciplined, so you don’t spend too much time on it, but it can also do a lot for self-promotion. I’m all for it. In fact, you can find me on both Facebook and Twitter! (@JMarchantAuthor).
Info about the author:
Jackie started writing after her son asked a question about writing a will. This led her to collaborate with Dougal Trump on his series of books for boys, the first of which will be published by Macmillan in July 2012.
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To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: