Interview with Yasmin Giannini, age 8
With over 35 million copies sold in the UK alone, the Jacqueline Wilson Hetty Feather trilogy is one of the most successful children collections ever written. As the youngest person ever to interview Ms. Wilson, Yasmin at The Positive caught up with her for a chat at The Foundling Museum this week, where she was celebrating the launch of the paperback version of Emerald Star, the third book in the trilogy.
The Positive: Firstly, where did the idea to write Hetty Feather come from? It’s so different to anything you’ve ever done before.
Jacqueline Wilson: “I was doing some charity work for the Coram Society, who are attached to the Foundling Museum and they suggested that I write a book about a Victorian foundling. Almost immediately Hetty Feather sprang to mind. I had to do a lot of research to bring her to life though because I needed to get the detail right about life in the Victorian times. So Hetty is probably the most researched character that I’ve ever created.”
The Positive: Did you plan to write a trilogy when you started writing Hetty Feather or just a one-off book?
Jacqueline Wilson:“I didn’t have a clue that Hetty Feather would run into more books. I thought I was taking a big chance by writing a historical book because all of my other books had been about modern-day children. But after I’d finished writing Hetty Feather so many children wrote in asking ‘what happens next?’ I was so thrilled that I thought, ‘hmm, what does happen?’ So I wrote another book, and another and another.”
The Positive: At the end of Emerald Star, Hetty joins the circus, can you give us any clues as to what happens next?
Jacqueline Wilson:“There’s going to be another book called Diamond which comes out in the Autumn. Diamond is Hetty’s friend at the circus and you’ll find out more about Hetty then. I’m then going to take a break from Hetty for a little while whilst I write a book about cats and dogs and also another historical book about an Edwardian girl who works in a sweet factory, which I think will be quite fun. Then, I think there might well be another Hetty story after that.”
The Positive: In Jacky Daydream you say, “I wish to be a real writer and have a book published one day.” You’ve certainly done that. What do you wish for now when you blow out your birthday candles?”
Jacqueline Wilson:“I just wish that all my special loved ones are happy and that my two cats stay happy. I’ve been so lucky and had so many nice things happen to me, I just want things to carry on like that.”
The Positive: If you could give one positive message to children of today, what would it be?
Jacqueline Wilson: “The best thing of all is try to be kind to everybody, but also be kind to yourself. You don’t have to try to be like anybody else at all, just be happy being yourself. That’s the best thing you can do.”
If you haven’t read the Hetty Feather books – get reading!
For more info on Jacqueline Wilson, visit: http://www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk