Children’s author Jacqueline Wilson just opened up on Emma Gannon’s Ctrl, Alt, Delete podcast, and it’s a must-listen for fans of her books.
It’s likely that most people reading this will have dived into at least one of Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s books. The author has just published her 111th book, Love Frankie, which joins her canon of young adult fiction novels that so many of us grew up with.
The Story of Tracey Beaker, The Illustrated Mum, The Suitcase Kid and Double Act are just some of the stories that come to mind when talking about one of the nation’s most beloved writers. Even grime artist Stormzy sampled the Tracey Beaker TV adaptation theme tune on one of his records.
She is, quite simply, iconic. And that’s why you’ll want to catch up with her lovely interview on Emma Gannon’s Ctrl, Alt, Delete podcast.
Discussing her latest novel, Wilson also reflects on the series that fans love the most, where she finds inspiration for her stories and how she got into writing in the first place. Let’s take a look at just five reasons fans will love plugging into this special episode.
Nobody encouraged Wilson to become a writer
Talking about how she got first got into writing, Wilson explains: “Neither of my parents had gone onto further education and saw absolutely no reason why I should, and so I didn’t have a chance to go to university, which now is one of my few regrets.
“Even more than carrying on and maybe getting to read English, I just had this burning ambition to write. At school, I had a nice English teacher who was certainly very inspirational when she told me what to read […] but even she didn’t encourage me with writing or say she could make a career out of it…
“But all the time I wanted to write and I was lucky enough to get a junior job at 17 [magazine] which was possible in those days and I can say I’ve been earning my living my writing ever since.”
Wilson uses “crafty” tricks to avoid using social media in her stories
Acknowledging that teenagers are now hooked to their phones, Wilson reveals that in her newer books, her characters “lose” their phone or it gets “confiscated”, explaining: “It spoils almost every plot… if you can get in touch with someone so quickly and find out what they’re thinking, or if you are being teased or bullied at school, there’ll probably be nasty things on your mobile phone, but [it’s] not really the most exciting literary things… so I tend to ignore all that”.
Wilson nails the reality of teenage love and crushes
Referring to her Girls In Love series being so beloved by fans, Wilson describes exactly why teenage love is such a universal topic, saying: “I think, even now, falling in love is the main concern of teenagers. Either they have fallen in love or are falling in love or, inevitably, the person that you suddenly have all these intense feelings for probably doesn’t reciprocate.
“And even though on the outside people manage to stay so cool and seem so popular with everybody, inside I’m sure so many people are feeling so anxious and worried but excited too.”
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Fans challenged Wilson over writing an LGBTQ+ story
Talking about the inspiration behind her gay character Frankie in the new book, Wilson says: “I thought of lots of emails I had over the years from girls, and some boys too, about, ‘Why don’t you write about a gay character, show what it’s really like for them’.
“I’d generally written back saying, ‘Yes I take your point but I generally write about people with problems and issues and I don’t really think there should be any problem: if you’re gay you’re gay, if you’re straight you’re straight. I was slightly fudging things because it can be difficult […]
“And so I thought, ‘OK let’s give it a go and show that no matter what sexuality you are, or if you are horrified at the very idea of identifying yourself as a particular sexual type of person, this is just what it’s like to fall in love.”
Wilson publically announced she is gay because of her new book
Wilson explained why she publically announced she is gay earlier this year, saying: “I knew that if I wrote a book about a girl falling in love with another girl, and particularly because I write in the first person, a lot of people would think, “Is Jacqueline gay herself?’
“And a lot of people in the book world knew because I’d been with Trish, my partner, for 18 years and she was in the book world too and we’d go to parties and conferences and things together. And all my friends and family knew…
“But I hadn’t actually ever literally stood up and made a statement because I didn’t really think that was necessary, particularly at my age. I thought, ‘Yeah there is going to be a lot of interest in this and people are going to feel it’s autobiographical, which it isn’t.
“But I thought I will [be] reiterating the fact that I’m not appropriating anyone else’s lifestyle or experiences…
“I think I’ve always been quite open0minded and basically for me it’s more a question of who I fall in love with. I’ve never had a particular ‘type’ of person and it doesn’t matter to me what someone looks like or what sex they are.”
Images: Getty, Amazon
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…