I owe Jayne Fisher a lot. I really do.
Funny enough, we had a Twitter chat with other authors about this very same lady a few months back, and I started bashing the keys in passion as soon as I saw her name come up. Jayne Fisher. The Jayne Fisher? The girl that had led me to write? The author of the Garden Gang? Did I remember her? Of course I did!! She sent me green with envy throughout my childhood.
Jayne Fisher – a young, pretty and happy face at the back of her bright, colourful books. A clever YOUNG author. I remember reading her biog in envy. I could beat her, I thought, as I chewed on my coco pops. I could be an author younger than her. I would be the next Jayne Fisher.
I was two years younger than her. I would beat her and become the next big ‘young author’.
I knew I couldn’t draw, so my books had to be good. I sat for ages scrawling my ideas down on the reams of printing paper that my mum smuggled home from work. Then finally, my older brother came home with a typewriter. He said he got it from a mate down the pub. To be honest, I think he found it down the tip. It had major problems – two being that the E and the A didn’t work very well. I had to thump the keys so hard it made a dreadful ‘clank’ noise. One time, no lie, this caused the dog to bark and my Dad to spill his tea all over his favourite Times cross word. From then on I was consigned to type in kitchen – alone and festering and with extremely bruised fingers.
Finally, I produced my first masterpiece. My first novel. Muddles the Mouse. I sent it to Penguin. Although I was rejected, the publishing house sent me a lovely personal letter and some books encouraging me to continue.
And I did.
So in some warped way I thank Jayne Fisher and her quirky garden character books. Whatever became of her, because even though it took me another 20 odd years to get published, at least she lit the spark for me.
Even sweeter, as I write this, my 7 year old daughter is upstairs scribbling her own masterpieces. She has already told me she will be an author and her own personal mission is to write more books than Jacqueline Wilson. She's already made a good start!
You go girl.
Am I alone here? Are there any other authors that were inspired to start writing by another?