jackie finalWhat gave you the idea for this story?

Does everyone believe that his/her childhood was wonderful? Probably not.  I did. When I had my own two children and watched them growing up through those first ten years, I couldn’t help but compare their young lives with my own many years earlier. There was a difference. I don’t mean that their early years were not wonderful, but they were not the same. I asked myself in what way were they different and why. So I began to jot  down memories of that period in my life.

Is there a message of any kind that you are trying to give your readers?

I suppose there is. To the adults, parents and those who choose to be parents, give your child a chance to simply play. I have to emphasize that, unfettered, undirected free play especially outdoors. Recently, media columnists have focussed attention on a greater need for children to create their own games and activities without constant adult supervision.

To the young readers, if you’re the youngest in the family or at school where older children are giving you a tough time verbally, turn away. It’s not the end of the world. Cry, if you need to but distance your self from him or her. If this person is physically hurting you or the verbal abuse is continual, seek the help of an adult.

How long did it take you to turn your ideas into a book, and what did it entail?

I have on my desk a pile of notes written about thirty years ago on three different kinds of paper. The bottom layer has already turned slightly yellow. Altogether there are over one hundred pages. I seriously began putting something together three years ago, but there was no order to it so I had to frame the various parts into a chronological sequence. Next, I hired a freelance editor to read over my manuscript, which she did. Then, the difficult work really started as I carried out her suggestions. The final eighteen months were spent searching for an agent or publisher with the last twelve months working alongside my publisher, Acorn Independent Press Ltd., London , England, to whom I am eternally grateful for their professionalism, patience  and consideration towards a novice author.

What advice would you give to anyone who is seriously considering writing? 

 You need to have an idea, something that continually pops up over time until you have to do something about it, because it won’t go away. If this notion calls for action then it would be helpful to brainstorm. Take sheets of paper and write anything and everything that hits your head whether you think it is pertinent or not. Then arrange everything into some logical order, a beginning, a middle and an end. My book is different from a novel in that it consists of separate stories that together make up a whole. The best part is the initial writing; the worst is the re-writing, re-reading, changing, adding. All of this applies whether you are an adult or a young person wanting to write. The final satisfaction comes in seeing and feeling the actual book in your hand!

Who was your favourite author and/or what was your favourite book when you were a child?

When I made my first trip, on my own, at the age of seven to the public library, I was drawn to a book about an Eskimo boy. Over the next few weeks, I read the entire series about children in other parts of the world because I was no longer satisfied reading tales of fantasy. The real world beckoned. Robinson Crusoe and then Coral Island by Ballantyne, followed by Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Exciting times in exotic places in the world! So, it was a combination of adventure and seeing in my mind’s eye these strange but wonderful sights. Later, when I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the attraction was not only the suspense but also the atmosphere created by the author’s description, for example, of the wind blowing across the barren moors. I was hooked!

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