WHEN schoolgirl Faith Ward completed the achievement of reading 50 books in under a year, her teachers contacted her favourite authour.

Jacqueline Wilson was so impressed she send Faith a personal note and allowed the schoolgirl, who attends Northern Education Trust North Shore Academy in Stockton, to ak her ten questions.

The author told Faith: "Congratulations on getting your 50 book certificate! I’m going to send you a card, but our local post has gone a bit haywire because of Covid, so you might have to wait a little while.

"I’m therefore answering the questions by email. I’m seriously impressed by them. They’re much more interesting than the sort of things journalists ask!"

The Northern Echo: Faith WardFaith Ward

Faith’s 10 Questions for Jacqueline Wilson - and her answers:

1. I really loved your book ‘Rose Rivers’. Will there be a sequel? Maybe Paris could become an art teacher at the same boarding school and the main characters are unaware of each other?

ANSWER: I’m so pleased you liked reading Rose Rivers. I got very caught up in the story and rather hoped my publishers might ask for a sequel – but it didn’t seem to occur to them! I’m not sure the cover was right either. I think it might have been more intriguing to show Rose with Paris to indicate that it wasn’t a little-girly book. Your idea about Paris getting a job at Rose’s boarding school is absolutely brilliant!

2. My favourite authors are you and Patrick Ness. Who was your favourite author as a child and what about now?

ANSWER: I like Patrick Ness’s work too. I thought The Knife of Never Letting Go was brilliant, though it was so awful when Manchee died. When I was at primary school my favourite author was Noel Streatfeild (I especially loved Ballet Shoes). By the time I was at secondary school I was passionate about The Diary of Anne Frank and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. I loved Jane Eyre too, particularly the first ten chapters when Jane is a child.

3. Is there an ending to a book you’ve written that you wish you had written something differently?

ANSWER: You asked about an ending I’d like to change in one of my books. I wonder if you’ve read Double Act, about identical twins Ruby and Garnet? It was adapted for the stage, and when I saw it I realised that it had a very sad ending, though I hadn’t meant it to be. I’d probably soften it a lot and have the sisters together again if I were writing it now. My Sister Jodie had a desperately sad ending, but I think that was somehow right for that book.

4. How do you think up the character's names? I remember reading that you thought of the name ‘Tracy Beaker’ whilst you were washing your hair, but what about the side characters in your stories?

ANSWER: I like choosing my characters names, but it can be a little challenging at times. I try to reflect the sort of person they are by their name. Hetty is a very old-fashioned name and is as light as a feather when she’s a baby, Ruby and Garnet both have red jewel names, Dolphin and Star in The Illustrated Mum have names of popular tattoo designs …. My characters don’t become completely real to me until I’ve settled on their name.

5. If you could be anything other than an author what would you aspire to be? I’ve always wanted to be an actress or an author.

ANSWER: I’ve only ever really wanted to be a writer since I was six years old – but I always thought I’d love to have my own bookshop too. I’d have new and second-hand books, and try hard with the children’s section. I wouldn’t necessarily display books in alphabetical or age order – I’d like to arrange them by theme. I’d have a special animal section with Beatrix Potters and Little Grey Rabbit mixed up with The Jungle Book and Black Beauty and Watership Down, and maybe I’d have toy animals or even a real rabbit or guinea pigs. It’s all a fantasy as I’m too old to have the energy to set it up now, but it’s still fun to think about.

6. Out of all the books you have ever written, do you have a favourite?

ANSWER: It’s hard for me to pick a favourite out of all my books – 111 so far! – but I have a soft spot for Hetty Feather. I love writing about Victorian times. I have a new Victorian book coming out next spring called The Runaway Girls. It’s set in 1851, about two very different friends, one very rich, one very poor – and a familiar character crops up right at the end.

7. Have you ever base a full story on one of your own experiences? I write my own books, but I’ve only ever based one on a situation I’ve been in.

ANSWER: I don’t really write about my own experiences, I prefer to make everything up – but I’ve written two autobiographies for young people, Jacky Daydream and My Secret Diary, about my life up to the age of fourteen. I’ve recently wondered about writing a more detailed autobiography for adults but I think I much prefer writing fiction.

8. Which of your books, I know Tracy Beaker has, would you like most to be turned into a series or movie?

ANSWER: There’s going to be a new series about Tracy Beaker – about Tracy grown up, with a child of her own. I think it’s going to be shown early next year. I’ve been lucky with most of the television adaptations. I particularly liked the way they did Katy. Maybe Vicky Angel would make an interesting film?

9. I’m getting the book ‘Love Frankie’ for Christmas. Will you ever do more books with a LGBTQ+ theme?

ANSWER: I hope you enjoy Love Frankie when you read it. I tried hard to make it as real and convincing as I could. I’ve had gay characters in my books before – Kiss for instance – but not the actual narrator of the story. I expect there might be more in future books.

10. I like how the ending of ‘Clean Break’ was left to interpretation. Most people would think that it was just Em’s dad returning, but I’ve always thought it could’ve been Em’s real dad. What was intended to happen, or what do you say happens afterwards in the story?

ANSWER: I think you’ve come up with a fantastic theory for the ending of Clean Break. To be totally truthful I’d forgotten that Em’s dad isn’t her real dad – but this is a whole new interesting idea, perfect for a sequel. No wonder you’re considering being an author. You have better ideas than me.