Wilson, one of the most famous children's writers of our time, is
loved by young readers all around the world - especially girls.
known perhaps for her Tracy Beaker stories, Jacqueline always wanted
to be a writer and wrote her first 'novel' when she was nine.
2004 she became the most borrowed author from libraries across the
UK, a position she has retained ever since.
November 2007, Jacqueline took a whistle-stop tour around the country
(driven by Bob in his Mercedes) to talk about Kiss, a book that
explores life as a teenager.
falling in love and getting your first snog, to finding new friends
and discovering that beer tastes rubbish - Kiss features Sylvie
mates forever, Sylvie has always believed that they'd end up married
to each other, but as they become teenagers things are starting
has a new friend, Paul, who is taking all his attention and he seems
much less happy to be called Sylvie's boyfriend. Sylvie can tell
his feelings have changed, but can she guess at the true reasons
behind it all?
Jacqueline's Kiss tour came to Norwich, she took time out ahead
of her signing session to give an exclusive webTV interview to BBC
Wilson webTV interview
Video links on this page require Realplayer
told Martin Barber what she hopes readers will enjoy about Kiss,
owned up to a big secret about her OBE medal, why she just loves
writing and the future for Tracy Beaker.
Why did you decided to write a book that is for a slightly older
Lots of girls who've been reading my books for years have said 'Do
write an older one' and just every now and then I decide to do this.
characters in this book are 13 going on 14, but at the time of life
when you fall in love for the first time.
think that all of us… nothing beats the intensity of falling in
love for the first time and yet generally that sort of love doesn't
have a happy ending and I don't give my poor kids in this book a
happy ending either.
try and have happy and funny moments, but I try to be truthful too.
Why did you decide to write a book about this quite challenging
time in a young person's life?
I think it's because some of my most vivid memories are of myself
at that age. It's so difficult to be young. It's so exciting, yet
it can be so awful too. It's a very interesting time of life to
you're that age you think you're the very first person in the world
to go through all this agony. For any of us, if you love somebody
passionately and they don't love you back the way you want them
to it's awful.
Own up, how much of your own teenage years are woven into Kiss?
Bits and pieces. I'm not exactly like any of the characters. I'd
love to have been Miranda, one of these glamorous naughty girls
who always does dreadful things and doesn't seem to care.
wanted to be like that, but I was an earnest, shy, literary little
girl like Sylvie [who tells the story] I suppose.
Wilson drops in for a webTV chat at The Forum, Norwich
At one point in the book they're playing Snog Spin, so who did you
play that with?
Truthfully, and isn't this boring, I don't think I ever did. I think
Snog Spin is such a horrible word.
suppose my only similar experience is playing things like kiss chase
and the boy that you always wanted to run after you never did, it
was always the one with the runny nose and grubby clothes - such
Was it important to you for the book to reflect on the way we live
I like to try and keep myself up to date. It's quite an effort and
I'm a technophobe. I certainly, even if I was inclined too, couldn't
indulge in internet dating, I wouldn't have a clue how you did it
- but I know people do.
wanted to show children and teenagers reading the book, just because
you think your parents are way past it, they're not.
think Sylvie's mum is quite brave, she's a bit fed up and has had
a raw deal in life but she's doing something about it now which
do see the point of mobile phones, nothing else though.
So whose number have you got in your mobile?
Oh nobody exciting, you'd get my mum. Inevitably when you become
reasonably well-known you do meet other people and it's great fun.
This year I met George and Laura Bush, but they're certainly not
in my phone.
not somebody that knows loads and loads of celebrities. I do know
JK Rowling, not desperately well and she's so nice.
if ever we're together people get so excited and ask are we going
to get on. Journalists ask me 'Don't you wish you could have been
can be quite difficult if somebody in the same genre is more successful
than me - but because her books are so different and I really admire
what she's done - no problems at all. Besides which, I think Jessica
her daughter used to like my books.
I think it's interesting that your readers have really fallen in
love with you, the author.
I think they see the inner child inside me, because although they
can see I'm grey-haired and possibly the same age as their grandmas,
they relate to me like I'm a 10 year old.
Is that why you wrote Totally Jacqueline Wilson - very much a guide
to your life?
Wilson is well-known for her giant rings
It seemed a fun thing to do. Lots and lots of children write in
and want to know everything about me.
very interested in Nick Sharratt, the illustrator, too so we thought
it would be fun to have a glamorous gift book a little bit like
a Christmas annual.
crammed full of articles about me, how to dress like me, is all
about my funny rings.
You have a passion for getting children to read, you got an OBE
for it. So how do you keep young people on the written page when
there's so much other choice from say TV or the internet?
I think children, no matter what, like a little bit of human contact.
adults when children are very young read aloud to them and you build
in time in the family, and then you progress like that I've never
known a child yet who doesn't enjoy being read to. Once they get
the reading habit, I think that turns them into readers for life.
you can still love watching television and playing computer games,
but I think once you've made a child a reader, they'll stay a reader
and that's great.
I mentioned your OBE for services to children's literature. Where
do you keep it?
I'll tell you a secret, which always sounds silly when you say that
publicly, but I've lost it!
moved house and I thought I'll put this in a safe place, and I've
put it in such a safe place I can't find it! I have a certificate
to say that I actually got it, and it was very pretty, but no -
it's not there.
was children's laureate for two years and there you get a big silver
medal and I do have that, and I do wear that. But my OBE, no - I'm
not quite sure where that is!
Dani Harmer in CBBC's production of Tracy Beaker
You're well known, of course, for Tracy Beaker, can we expect to
see more of her?
It's 17 years since I wrote it and I had no idea that now, when
I wander the streets of Kingston where I live, they'd shout 'Tracy
been so lovely about that book, about a child stuck in a children's
home and desperate to be fostered, is that so many children in care
have got in touch with me and said they feel so much better about
children at school say 'You're so lucky to live in a children's
home' and just for their status to be raised a little I think is
think it would be fun to find out about Tracy in her late teens
and what kind of person she'd turn out to be.
then we could actually carry on with Tracy Beaker Young Mum, Tracy
Beaker midlife crisis - you could have great fun with it.
a might, it's something I play with - but I certainly feel there's
a lot of juice left in Tracy still.
Wilson webTV interview
Video links on this page require Realplayer
Wilson appeared at Jarrolds, Norwich in November 2007. Kiss is published
by Doubleday at £12.99.