A few weeks ago my best friend sent me a message to say that she had found out that the children’s author Jacqueline Wilson was coming to Norwich. As both Roo and my best friend’s daughter love the Jacqueline Wilson books and magazine we didn’t hesitate in booking tickets to attend the event organised by Waterstones.
As I’d just found out that Roo had been Star of the Week at school I thought that this would make the perfect special treat for her. Not wanting to listen to the constant countdown or pestering from Roo about the event I opted to tell her just as we were getting into the car (yes I’m that mean mum).
Bribing Tigger to be a good boy during the event I bought him two new trains (yes I bribe my children) we met up with my best friend and her daughter outside the Assembly House, Norwich. Heading inside we waited in line to collect a signed copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s 101st book, The Butterfly Club.
After sitting down it was clear just how excited Roo was about seeing Jacqueline Wilson as she was practically bouncing in her seat. My friend’s daughter said that she looked like a Meerkat as she was sitting bolt upright peering around the room.
An audience with Jacqueline Wilson
The room fell silent as Jacqueline Wilson made her way up to the front and took a seat in a brown leather chair. She spoke about her childhood and how if she had been very good her mum would treat her to a new notebook and maybe a pen. In that new notebook, she would start to write stories, some would only be a paragraph or so whilst others would be a few pages. Reading them back she would be disappointed in herself that she was unable to extend the plot further to make the story longer.
When she left school her mum wanted her to gain a profession and sent her off to secretarial school where she learned how to type and complete office based tasks. She fondly explained that in those days if your boss asked you to pop to the shops to buy his wife a birthday card then that is what you did.
She moved on to how she got her first work published and moved from Kingston in London to Scotland to work for DC Thompson (who she still has links with as they publish the Jacqueline Wilson Magazine). She took a writing job building up a portfolio of stories and article for a girls magazine that was going to be released, they even named it after her… Jackie!
During her writing career, she has written a diverse selection of articles and stories. One assignment was a mother and baby column but at the time she had no children so she would stop mum’s in the street and talk to them about their worries and then consult a Dr. Spock book to help answer their worries in the column.
She fondly recalled how someone asked her when she would stop writing books, at the time she was on around 85 books – she’d replied oh when I get to 100. Luckily for all her fans, she decided that she wasn’t quite ready to stop writing her stories when she reached book 100, Opal Plumstead. In fact, she told us all that she has completed book 102 which will hopefully be published in July and is currently finishing book 103!
After a question and answer session it was time for Jacqueline Wilson to leave, however, I hope that this special audience with her will be remembered by Roo for years to come.