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Jone's Room

 

 

 

 

 

Being an author is brilliant! It's the only job in the world where I can wear my PJs to work and sit on the sofa all day with my cat and my laptop!

A Room Full of Chocolate is my debut novel and it was inspired by certain things that happened to me when I was young. I was six when my mum was ill and I was sent to live on a farm in Yorkshire to live with my grandad. He wasn't like the one in A Room Full of Chocolate. This is a picture of the farm I lived on.

farm

Can you spot the tiny row of cottages? This is where I got the idea for Megan’s cottage. On Easter day everyone gave me chocolate eggs and I remember realizing that my mum must be ill as people felt sorry for me.
Many, many, years later I enrolled in a writing for children course at City Lit. We were given an exercise to write a story inspired by our childhood and A Room Full of Chocolate was born.

This is a photograph of me when I was 8 with a bad haircut and with my grandad’s very naughty but lovable Golden Retriever, Justy. This of course is where the inspiration for Lara came from in A Room Full Of Chocolate.  My grandad had cows and sheep and pigs, though not one called Claude. I wish he had though. It would have been brilliant to have a pet pig!


Justy and Me

My birthday is in May so this is me being a May Queen when I was 8.

May Queen

This is me with my pet rabbit, Flopsy. He used to eat everything. He ate washing off the clothes line. He ate the corner of my school bag and my homework! He also used to escape all the time and we would get phone calls from neighbours saying that he was destroying their gardens.

Flopsy and Me

I am actually dyslexic but this was not spotted at school so I was always in trouble for my messy spelling and writing! This made me hate school but I always loved stories. I was once made to stand up and read what I had written in class. I had not written a thing so I made up a story on the spot. In secondary school my stories were described as too sensational by my English teacher but passed under the desk by the pupils who read them in secret during science lessons.

When I left school I became an actress and did a lot of improvisation. One day I entered a writing competition at the Soho Theatre for fun with a short play called Can You See Me. It won a place on the shortlist and part of the prize was a day of workshops. I really enjoyed it and became hooked. Soho Theatre told me I should become a writer. I laughed and said, 'But I can't spell.' Their reply was, 'We don't really care.' So I thought, All right then I'll give it a go. I then wrote a full length play called Leonardo Stole My Crayon which won the Kings Cross Award For New Writing.

I love animals but live in a flat in London so cannot have a dog and a horse as much as I would like! Instead, I adopt cats with disabilities who cannot go out anymore. Griffid my ginger cat had wobbly legs and could not see very well. I thought he would make a lovely character in a children's story which is what first got me interested in writing stories for young people. I love to have animals around me. Larry, my latest cat, has one eye and raggedy ears and likes to stand in front of the computer screen when I am trying to write. Here are Griffid and Larry checking my spelling.

the cats