AlexanderGet to know Jenny…

Writing for children has been my bread-and-butter for nearly twenty years. I’ve written all sorts of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m probably best known for my books on bullying and related subjects. 

However, my secret passion all along has been my adult book about dreams. I teach creative dreaming and writing, and I’ve been working on the book every spare minute since before I was ever published. Today, I’ve finally delivered the MS to my agent. I feel bereft! To learn more, visit my website and blog.

Let the conversation begin! 

Tell us about the book you’re working on.

Having delivered my dream book, I’m working on a follow-up series for my Peony Pinker books. The narrator will be a new girl in Peony’s class, who has been home-educated so has never been to school before. 

Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress? Or do you keep it a secret?

I never show anyone my work-in-progress – for me, that would take all the magic out of it. In fact, I don’t ask anyone to read my work except my agent. I’ve met less experienced authors who have got confused and deflated by premature feedback. 

What’s your favorite quote? 

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten, happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.” –Brenda Ueland 

I love this because most people who come to my writing workshops are looking for instruction, when all they really need is to rediscover the joy playing with stories, characters and ideas.

What would you like your life to look like in ten years?

I’d like to still be writing fun, funny books for children, but also to have published several books for adults based on my creative writing and dreaming workshops. 

What advice would you give to new writers?

Writing and being a published author is not the same thing. I believe that everyone can benefit from creative writing – being able to express yourself and explore your own inner world is wondrous and empowering, and sharing in a group satisfies a really fundamental instinct to tell our stories, but it’s very hard to make a living as a writer. Putting your work into the marketplace requires more than talent – it means you have to deal with rejection, criticism and disappointment to a very high degree. I’ve blogged about it here.