She’s written tons of wonderful books – but she’s here to tell us the story behind REAL TRUE FRIENDS, her new book for Barrington Stoke.
Barrington Stoke specialise in enticing, exciting books for everyone – but especially struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers.
So, Jean: where did you get the idea for the book?
Writers are always being asked this question about their books. Sometimes we know the answer: sometimes we don’t. In the case of REAL TRUE FRIENDS I can say exactly where the idea came from. It is something I once did, and which I still feel ashamed of.
When I was eleven I started at my new secondary school without knowing a single person, so I was really pleased when at breaktime on my very first day another new girl came up to me, linked her arm through mine, and said, “Let’s be a you-two!”
We stayed as a you-two for a day or so and were then taken up by a couple of other girls to form a gang. The other two girls were both pretty and popular, so I felt flattered to be associated with them. Unfortunately, after a while, they began to grow impatient with my original friend.
“She’s weird!” they said.
She wasn’t weird, she was just a bit different. She lived with her grandmother and had never been to a “proper” school before. Just a tiny one with about twenty pupils. But before very long the other two had decided we didn’t want this weirdo in our gang any more; and to my lasting shame I went along with the decision.
We were too cowardly to deliver our message face to face. Instead, we passed a note in class. I can still vividly remember the stricken look on our victim’s face as she read it. It is something which has haunted me all my life. That is why, in REAL TRUE FRIENDS I make Hannah do what I should have done. When the cool set call her friend Zoe “Freaky Frost”, Hannah stands up for her. I only wish I could have been as brave!
Thanks for sharing your story, Jean. I wonder if any of our readers have had a similar experience…
Love the sound of this book? Get yourself to the Competitions page, for your chance to win one of FOUR copies of REAL TRUE FRIENDS! Then check out Jean’s website to find out more about her other books, and some brilliant tips for young writers.