Contact Jo

If you’d like to get in touch, leave me a message by commenting below and I’ll get back to you!

Updated 17th March 2017: Hello, students at Wyvern College! *waves madly* It’s so cool to hear from so many of you, but I’ve been a bit swamped by your messages and questions and I really need to write my next book! I’m so sorry I don’t have time to answer every single one of you right now – I will try to get round to you when I can πŸ™‚ x

71 comments

  1. Hi Jo,

    My name is Katy. I want to comment on your amazing presentation/talk that you did today at Didcot Girls School. I would like to say that:

    1) I think that the way you acted out whilst talking was extremely entertaining and would’ve relieved anyone from boredom.

    2) I think that your hilarious ( in a good way )

    3) I would really like to read your books ( fingers crossed I’ll find them soon ) and I love the story setup.

    4) I think it was really nice that you read the start of the book and set the atmosphere

    I’ve also got a question, where did you get the idea of Electrigirl from?

    Yours Sincerely
    Katy

    • Dear Katy

      What a lovely message! Thank you for writing to me, and I’m really glad you enjoyed my presentation today (and weren’t bored! Phew) – I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your school and I’ve got new plans about what I can do as your patron of reading…

      Electrigirl came from two ideas: firstly that the world really needs more female superheroes, and the best thing to do would be to write one; and secondly that I wanted to include lots of artwork in a book. I loved comics when I was growing up, and thought it would be brilliant fun to write comic strips. And it is! So that’s how Electrigirl was born…

      Hope to see you all again before long!
      Jo x

  2. Hi Jo,

    I want to say thank you for responding to my comment, it really touched me when I saw it this morning.
    Also I love comics to! Me and my younger brother are both really into the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon. We love them so much that they’ve inspired us to do our own stories about us Tom Gates style. However when you showed us some of the pictures in Electrigirl I was intrested. I think it’s really nice to have a clear image of the person and not just some scruffy drawings

    Once again thanks for responding
    Your Sincerely
    Katy x

  3. Hello Jo,

    I found Library of Lemons very moving and well done. It brought back memories of my own childhood – my father died suddenly before I was born, I was an only child and basically became my mother’s carer. I can really relate to that longing for a normal family life, the fear, the isolation and the temptation to retreat into books. I think you’re very wise and eloquent on the joys of reading, fantasy, colour and creativity – but also their limitations.

    I’m left wondering what some of the children I work with in school are dealing with at home. No easy solutions but the ending felt right – people define their own normality, but we can’t do it alone.

    • What a lovely message, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ sometimes, when I’m writing a book, I have no idea quite how it’ll end up or whether it’ll say quite what I want it to. Lemons was one of those books, so it’s lovely for me to hear from readers who have had a personal reaction to it. Jo x

  4. Hello!
    My name’s Tabitha and I came to see you for the announcement of the Berkshire Book Awards shortlist. I really enjoyed your talk and your story( and your oh no and happy faces.) I love books and I like writing a bit as well. I bought and started reading Electrigirl while I was there and I really like it already. At the talk, you said you were thinking of fruity titles. I have some suggestions that might not work but here they are:
    A tornado of tangerines
    An academy of apples
    A pile of plums
    A world of watermelons
    A class of clementines
    A mind of mandarins
    A bag of berries
    Pomegranate peace
    Perfect peach
    Date dreams
    Clementine chat
    Berry bureau

    Here are my sister’s:
    Austrian oranges
    Tomato talk

    Love Tabitha:)

    • Hi Tabitha! I remember signing your book because you have one of my favourite names πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you enjoyed yesterday; I did too! And I LOVE your list of suggestions! An Academy of Apples is particularly brilliant. I’ll let you know what I eventually decide! Jo x

    • Hi Jo! I was also at the short list announcement at SGA ascot. Good job for getting in! I have a idea for a title of a book ( sticking with the fruit thing ) Kingdom of Kiwis
      Thanks,
      Claudia K-R

  5. Hi again!

    Your book Looking at the Stars is AMAZING one of the best book she I’ve ever read! really sad but a great page turner.

    -Claudia

  6. Hi Jo!!

    I’m such a BIG fan of your books!! I have read ‘Looking at the stars’ and ‘A library of lemons’ Plus i have just finished you other book ‘ElectriGirl’ they were all so amazing and when i heard you were coming to my school i was very excited, i was a bit sad that i didn’t get in for he writing workshop , but seeing you in assembly was good enough for me.

    You are such an inspiration and an amazing person!!

    Thanks, Isabella

    • Hi Isabella! Ah, that’s great to hear, thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books – bad luck about the writing workshop; it’s hard that some people miss out because I can’t fit everyone in! I am blushing about the inspirational part though – I am writing this reply to you sitting in my dressing gown…! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚ Jo x

      • Hahaha, I’m in my night wear too!!

        It is true though you are a very inspirational person as your books made me quite emotional and i couldn’t put the books down, for any of them, but when i did i kept stopping to think about what would happen next!!

        Have an awesome weekend!!
        Isabella ❀

  7. Hi Jo,
    Thank you so much for coming into my school. I was disappointed that I didn’t get into the writing workshop but not everyone could!
    I didn’t manage to catch you after your assembly to ask you some of my questions as so many people wanted to ask questions but these are my questions- you don’t have to answer them all if you don’t want to!
    My first is: How are you related to your characters/ how are parts of your stories related to your life? My second question was: Is there anything you would change, add or takeaway from you books which you wished you had before it was published? And my last question was- because I am interested in becoming a writer-: What percentage of the sale of the book do you receive? You don’t have to answer that question but am interested in what one might earn if one was a writer!
    Many thanks for taking your time to read this and for coming to my school- I hope you enjoyed it!

    -Sophie

    • Hi Sophie! Great questions!
      1. I don’t consciously use parts of my own life when writing. But I think all my characters are in some small way related to me – I mean, we’re all human, so that’s kind of natural. Calypso in A Library of Lemons has my love of books and writing. Amina in Looking at the Stars has my tendency to ask awkward questions and not like authority very much…;) But I don’t put people I know from real life directly into my books. Somehow that wouldn’t feel right.
      2. I don’t think there’s anything I would change about my books once they’re published. They feel finished, and by then I’m already deep into a new story and trying to get that right! So no, I don’t wish I had the chance to change stuff.
      3. Royalties for writers are much lower than you might think. On average, I get 7.5% of the price the book is sold for (not the recommended retail price). So let’s say A Library of Lemons is sold from an independent book shop at Β£5.99, I’d get about 45p. But if you buy it from Amazon or another place where you get high discounts, you might be able to buy it for much less – let’s say Β£4. Then I’d get 30p. Plus, because the book was sold through a literary agent, I have to give 15% of my 30p to her. And then I have to pay tax as well. So all in all, you have to sell a LOT of books to make any kind of decent money! Hope that helps πŸ™‚

      Jo x

  8. Hi Jo,

    I really enjoyed your recent visit to our school! You are so funny and your enthusiasm is infectious! I couldn’t stop laughing! I loved the Chismas tree story and I’m determined to bring the phrase “Crikey!” back into the language of teenagers!

    It is clear that you are really in love with your writing craft, and you are truly inspirational! I really want to radiate that same joy for English, as it is one of my passions. Mum now knows you as the ‘whacky, crazy English person’, and that’s all she’s heard about! (Don’t worry, it’s a compliment!)

    A burning question which I never got to ask was: Do you base any of your characters on you? I am an avid story-writer, and I try and give my characters qualities I wish I had but truly still struggle with. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and your writing workshop made me see that writing is still a fun thing to do, even though it becomes a serious art. You really connected with me, and you reminded me a lot of myself to be honest because acting and writing are both career paths I am considering for the future, and I like cake and chocolate;)

    Please continue writing and inspiring young people like me to pursue such an awesome career. You are so down to earth which helps people aspire to be someone like you!

    Thank you so much for your visit to Wyvern College! I will not forget it!
    Hannah
    πŸ™‚

    • Hi Hannah banana! Aww, thanks for your kind words; I’m so glad you had fun in the workshop. It’s good to want to do things as well as possible, but sometimes trying to make something perfect can take all the fun away. As for your question, see my reply to Sophie! I’m honoured to be known as the ‘whacky, crazy English person’ πŸ˜€ Keep writing and throwing stuff away and polishing stories and exploring ideas. Oh, and keep eating the cake and the chocolate! (Er, though obviously not too much, because they’re bad for you in large quantities…) Jo x

      • Hi Jo,

        Thanks for your reply! The way you craft your characters is not dissimilar to the way I create mine!:) I’m really grateful for your encouragement!

        Thanks again
        Hannahbanana
        πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Jo,
    I really enjoyed meeting you recently at Wyvern – you’re such a fun, bubbly character! I love your passion and enthusiasm towards books, but I didn’t get a chance to ask you some questions. I was wondering what inspired you to start writing your genre of books? Why did you choose fiction? Thanks!

    -Ruby πŸ™‚

  10. Dear Jo,

    You recently did an assembly and a workshop at my school ,Wyvern. I really enjoyed your assembly and I was lucky enough to be picked for your workshop.

    I really enjoyed your Chismas story as it was a real page turner and your workshop gave me a chance to think imaginatively.
    Thank you for letting me write a story without any guidelines and a picture for inspiration; I rarely get to do this.

    I feel that coloured pencils and blank paper were a really good way to write creatively.

    Thank you very much for visiting.

    Yours sincerely,

    Fred F

  11. Dear Jo

    I thought your assembly at wyvern was really good. My favorite part was the chismas tree story. I also thought the idea of eletrigirl was good. I am also curious about why the book was called looking at the stars as it has not mentioned anything to do with stars. I am also interested in where the inspiration came from. finally i would like to know how you became a writer.

    Thanks

    • Hi Max! I’m so glad you enjoyed my visit πŸ™‚
      1. Looking at the Stars was called that because of two reasons. Firstly, it comes directly from a quote by Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” which is the sort of person Amina is, always looking for hope and inspiration. The second reason is because Amina tells stories about the stars in the book, which help the people around her to stay positive.
      2. The inspiration for Looking at the Stars came from watching news reports about refugees. I started to wonder what it would be like to be a person in that situation.
      3. I sort of covered my route to becoming a writer in the talk I gave. But in my twenties, I thought it would be fun to write some stories again, so I took a writing course to get better. And then I started sending in my stories to publishers and eventually got an acceptance!
      Jo x

  12. Dear Jo,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your assembly you presented for us here at Wyvern. I found it extremely exciting and funny but mostly it was inspirational. I have not yet read any of your books but now I’m definitely going toes they look very interesting. Also i would like to ask you how long you have been writing books for.

    Thank you for reading this, Ben

    • Hi Ben!

      I’m so glad you found my talk inspirational! How lovely. I’ve been published since 2004 but I started writing books when I was about 23, I think – so 18 years ago now.

      Jo x

  13. Thank you for coming into my school last Thursday. I enjoyed your talk in assembly and your writing workshop i attended. I enjoyed that you really made us use our imagination by giving us pictures to inspire us. Thank you for reading this.

  14. Dear Jo,

    Thank you for visiting us us at Wyvern College! Sadly I didn’t get in on any of your writing workshops as I would have liked to, however, I appreciate that there were lots of other people! I really loved your ‘Chismas Tree’ story- a real page-turner! I found your talk really inspirational and interesting, however, I still have some questions to ask:

    What has been the hardest challenge in your writing career so far?

    What is your favourite book? (Mine is ‘Gone’ by Michael Grant)

    Do any of your book characters reflect your personality?

    I am yet to read any of your books, however, I am really keen to. Which one would you recommend most though? My friend has just finished reading a Library of Lemons and thoroughly enjoyed it, however, I think Electrigirl would be more my thing.

    Thank you for reading and best wishes,

    xXJac-on the-CobXx

    • Hi Jac-on the-Cob!
      Ha – I wonder if one day I should publish ‘Chismas’? Great questions; here are my answers:
      1. Hardest challenge in any creative career is keeping going. There have been times when I’ve had so many rejections for my work that I’ve wondered whether I should just give up. Lots of jobs have hard bits, but when you generate your own work and your own opportunities, it can be very demoralising if you’re constantly rejected.
      2. My favourite book is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
      3. see my answer to Sophie, who asked the same question!

      Electrigirl and A Library of Lemons are very different books. If you like your stories fast-paced and entertaining, then Electrigirl is for you! But you might surprise yourself with Lemons – you could always read the first few pages and decide if you want to read on or not! Life is too short to read books we don’t enjoy πŸ™‚
      Jo x

  15. Hi! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to take part in the writing workshop in your recent visit to Wyvern. I bought ‘A Library of Lemons’ and I wanted to say what a fantastic book it was. It was very uplifting and I thought it was one of the best books I have ever read (I have read a lot of books!) Anyway, I wanted to ask you these 3 questions:

    1. Who inspired you to get into writing?
    2. Who was your favourite author growing up?
    3. If you had to choose one book of yours to take with you on holiday, which would it be and why?

    Yours Happily,

    ChickenFillet69

    • Ah, thank you ChickenFillet! I’m so glad you enjoyed A Library of Lemons. I’m meant to be writing my book, so obviously I shall reply to you instead…
      1. I don’t think any one person inspired me to get into writing. My parents have always been very encouraging of my creative endeavours, so I think I probably just announced I was going to have a go at writing stories!
      2. Enid Blyton. Also Susan Cooper (The Dark Is Rising).
      3. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Because it’s very funny and very clever, and both those things impress me and keep me reading!

      Jo x

  16. hi jo it was great to listen to your assembly at wyvern the other day and wished i could of had the chance to take part in the writing work shop during the assembly when you where answering questions and handing out badges i was wondering what i could ask you, i finally thought of something an then the assembly was cut of, however i still have some questions. 1)do you relate to any characters you’ve wrote about 2)what does your family think about your writing career 3) What advise would you give to someone who wants to be an author

    • Hi Isobel!
      I’m sorry there was so little time for questions at the end – you were all so quiet I wasn’t sure there would be any!
      1. see my previous answer to Sophie, who asked this question.
      2. My family is very proud of me. I’m very lucky, my parents have always supported my crazy career decisions, and now my kids think it’s brilliant to have an author for a mum! (Luckily they are still young enough to think I am cool and not embarrassing…)
      3. Being an author is hard work. Some of it is lots of fun, but there’s an awful lot of hard work and slogging involved. But if you want to write, you have to be really, really good with words. Read lots, and write lots too – like an instrument, the more you practise, the better you’ll get! Good luck!
      Jo x

  17. Hi Jo,
    Thank you so much for the lovely blog re Wyvern. Would you mind if we used it as part of our community newsletter and reports for BBC school report?

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the day with us. I was determined that the event should be all inclusive and that everyone in Year 8 got a chance to read some of your work and listen to you.

    many thanks,
    L Cross Second In English

  18. Hi Jo,
    Thank you so much for visiting us at Wyvern! I thoroughly enjoyed your talk and was lucky enough to participate in the wonderfully bonkers creative writing workshop! Both where highly inspiring.

    I aspire to one day become an author too, as I am passionate about writing. I have already written a few of my own (not very long or good) stories and I have a few questions about being an author, as you were so bombarded i didn’t get a chance when you were in. i don’t mind if you don’t answer, but I’d love any author tips.
    1. What is the best environment for writing?
    I can’t write in silence, but also can’t in loud places. Then there’s finding the balance between being so comfortable you fall asleep and being so uncomfortable you sit there complaining and not writing.
    2. Planning.
    How do you plan a story? i find it so difficult, because most of my stories start with a scenario that I invent a backstory for, but I find it so hard to write plans without losing any ideas! Do you have any techniques?
    3.Any advice for someone who wants to be an author?
    Any would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you SO much,
    InΓ©s
    (a very inspired Wyvern-er)

    • Hi, InΓ©s! I’m so glad you enjoyed the talk and the workshop. Yeah, it is kind of bonkers, but then that’s how I work πŸ˜‰
      1. All writers are different. I like music but if I’m writing, I can’t have anything with lyrics to it because I find them too distracting. I like film soundtracks, but I’ve also discovered a wonderful website http://www.ambient-mixer.com/ which has all kinds of background atmospheres. I like writing in the Ravenclaw Common Room! Also, I write with a combination of laidbackness (at the beginning of the day, where I have hours stretching out in front of me) and total panic (nearing end of day, nearing deadline) in which I write extremely fast (around 1000 words per hour).
      2. I am not very good at planning. For example, in the book I have just started, I know one key thing that has to happen in it. I don’t know any other plot points! Sorry, ask someone else πŸ˜‰
      3. Read and write. Lots. They are your music practice equivalent! No one can expect to be really good at something unless they do it lots. Keep going!

      Jo x

  19. Hi Jo,
    Recently you came into my school and i was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of watching your assembly which I found extremely enjoyable, funny and inspiring at the same time. Since then you have motivated me to read more. I personally see you as a creative and talented writer who has a great sense of humor at the same time. Unfortunately i was unable to participate in the writing workshop. I have read the opening chapters of looking at the stars in my school library recently and i am hoping to purchase it soon. I have a few questions for you as well, in which you do not have to answer;
    Who were you inspired by as a child?
    Which one of your books took you the least time to write?
    Do you have any hobbies of which you enjoy?
    Thank you!

    Fred, Wyvern college

  20. Hi Joe

    I met you at Wyvern College a week back or so the reason I’m sending this now is because i had to finish Library of Lemons, it was fantastic!!! I can’t wait for the storm of strawberries.You’re assembly at the beginning of the day was inspiration and entertaining. Unfortunately I wasn’t picked for the writing workshop so I would like to ask you the question i would of asked: What is your favourite book that you didn’t write?

    Many thanks, Harvey.S

  21. dear jo

    your visit to my school was a.m.a.z.i.n.g and has inspired me to be an author/director. the demonstrations were awesome and your chismas story was hilarious!
    however i never got to ask you a question (or two) that was on my mind: how long does it take to write and publish a book and where do you get most of the inspiration for your books also how do you create your characters.

    thank you,
    Euan

  22. dear jo

    I really enjoyed the assembly, I thought it was great I liked watching the demonstration about electrons but unfortunately I wasn’t picked. I wanted to ask how much a writer gets paid?, how many books you have sold? and finally why did you want to become a writer.

  23. Dear jo,
    I enjoyed your assembly at my school, wyvern collage, and I would like to know what inspired you to write a story like Looking At The Stars and if it was based on a true story or true events? Also I wanted to know if you liked writing stories in school? Obviously you are passionate about your job, however I wondered if it ever feels like a chore?.

  24. Hi jo,

    I really enjoyed your book, looking at the stars. It was an extremely inspirational book, as it related to real life problems happening now, I could really relate to the characters and story, as I felt happy when something good happened. I also loved the assembly that you gave us during your visit (especially your chismas story, as I loved that you misspelled various words). I also have some questions for you:

    1.) is the story based on real events? if so, which ones?

    2.) why did you write the story in first person?

    3.) did you base the characters on any friends or family members?

    thank you.

  25. hi jo,its kirsty king from wyvern. i just wanted to say that i loved your visit and you are a amazing author and i am sure have many more great ideas.i must ask a question.

    what was the first book you published and when?

  26. Hi Jo

    I found your presentation very funny. It was entertaining and inspiring at the same time. I don’t often write a lot but I am going to try to write creatively a bit more as I enjoyed it so much.
    Good luck with your new book happy writing.

    From Max

  27. Hi Jo I enjoyed your talk the other day to our year group. I’m not really creative but participating in your workshop helped to show that you can use anything to make a story. Hope you have fun writing your next book.

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