JACQUELINE WILSON started as a teenager working for Jackie magazine.
She’s now written more than 100 children’s books and is the fourth best-selling author of the past decade.
She received the title of Dame for services to literature. Jacqueline’s most famous character is back as a single mother in My Mum Tracy Beaker, published now by Random House.
So the young Tracy is all grown up?
Yes. I could never forget her as people always want to talk about Tracy. Adults in their 20s tell me they grew up with her, so I thought they’d like to see what happened next. I did, too.
Will the new book be made into a TV series?
Yes. CBBC, who made the other Tracy Beaker TV stories and spin-off shows, will do it.
Do you get involved in the auditions?
J.K. Rowling was canny in controlling the first Potter movie, but I don’t get invited to castings. I’ve said: “Please just tuck me in a corner at auditions,” but so far, no luck. I do work with people I trust though.
What do young readers say to you?
So many want to be writers but when I ask them why, they say it’s to become rich and famous. That’s disappointing.
But authors do make money, don’t they?
A few make a fortune, then there are those who are comfortable, and I count myself as one of those. But most make just a few thousand pounds if they’re lucky.
Do children read enough?
On trains I’m usually the only one reading a book. Adults are on their smartphones while young people play games on devices. But the rise of podcasts and audiobooks gives me hope that people see the point of stories.
Do you take criticism well?
A few years ago I had a book rejected, which was awful. Editors are picky and can ask for changes, so sometimes I dig my heels in. It’s the part I hate.
Do you like being a public figure?
I’m in two minds. People saying something nice always lifts me on a bad day, but my biggest fear is falling asleep on the train while someone films me drooling with my mouth open (laughs.)
Do you “use” your title of Dame?
I used it in a theatre one time when trying to get tickets, but the man just said: “Come off it, what’s your real name?” And my daughter made me do it once to get a restaurant table. I blushed.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
I live in the country so I’d go for a long walk with my partner, then I’d try paragliding for the first time. I’d be hopeless at pulling the right strings, but that wouldn’t matter. I’d go out on a high. Literally.