My love of writing by Gail Jones


As I child, I loved to write but couldn't think of new themes. I wrote several other adventures for Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree series and came up with the 'Adventures of the Moon Path' which allowed me to have my own characters but basically did the same travel to other lands scenario. My only original story was 'The Sad Donkey' about a seaside donkey who was badly treated and just wanted to be free. I don't know where that came from as I really don't like sad stories! My best writing was an assignment I did for English at school. We’d been studying 'The Price of Coal' and had to write something about the elderly generation. I wrote about my gran and her accidents. She had some amazingly funny accidents and it was so easy to write them down. The teacher loved it and thought I'd been really inventive, even though I entitled it 'A True Story'. Whenever there’s an old lady in my books they are always based in some way on my gran.
After finishing school I continued to read but didn’t give writing any more thought until I worked with children at my local church. They came regularly and soon got to know every bible story. Stuck for something to tell them I made up stories about a young squirrel who was always in trouble. The children loved them and always begged for more. A colleague of mine who was a teacher said they were good enough for publication, but I said ‘no’. The seed was planted, however, and sometime later I sent them off. They were rejected. I decided to find out why and set off on my investigation of the publishing world. I took two writing for children courses, one with the London School of Journalism and the other with The Academy of Children’s Writers. On each course there was one assignment for teen fiction. I panicked. I had only ever written for six to eight-year-olds. I thought about my teen years and the constant wondering – ‘what would I do if I found out I was adopted?’ Why I thought that, I don’t know as I’m so like my mum I even confused a childhood photo of her for myself! But adoption became my theme and ‘Family Secrets’ was born. The reviews for my outline and first chapter were fantastic. I sent it off to a couple of publishers and was rejected but was accepted by They are a British Arts Council sponsored website who encourage new writers (The Legacy by Katherine Webb began on there). 'Family Secrets' came out in December 2008. 'Family Fear' followed in December 2010. 'Family Missing' is the final part of the trilogy and is now being edited (when I get a spare minute!) and should be out in 2012.
When ‘Family Secrets’ came out I was terrified no one would buy it or even like it! I was able to order copies myself from the publisher and I only ordered eight, thinking that only my friends and family would want it! The book was available from any book selling website, including and Amazon and I was amazed that following articles in the local paper it started selling. Northern Maps ordered 50 copies for distribution to WHSmith and other local stores. I visited WHSmith and took photos of my books on their shelves! (I've since visited Waterstones and done the same thing). I tried to hold up my mobile as though reading a text so that no one would see what I was doing! I couldn't believe it when people started crossing the road to speak to me and tell me how much they'd enjoyed it and hadn't been able to put it down.
I was a guest author for Rotherham's Children's literature festival last year and met with fifteen young people aged 11 to 13 who had been asked to read my book before meeting me. I gave them comment cards at the end and said they could fill them in anonymously. I just wanted them to tell me honestly what they thought about the book and if there was anything I needed to improve. I admit to being pretty nervous when it came to reading those cards! But as I read my little heart sped up, skipping happily as every comment was positive. Every one of them had enjoyed it, even the boys!
I love reading and enjoy young adult books and well as adult ones. My criteria is that they have to be interesting, fast paced and exciting, I love the 'Blood Ties' series by Sophie MacKenzie, the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore and 'The Hunger Games' trilogy. They are excellent and so inventive.
Whenever I go shopping I have to visit the book store and invariably come home with one or two, not to mention the ones I buy off Amazon. I have three boxes of books waiting to be read and some that won’t even fit in the boxes! When I finish a book, I love to go and look at my stock and chose my next book. I get so excited and can’t wait to begin reading. I hope my books give readers that same pleasure.
For more information about Gail and her books, visit

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