Janey Louise Jones — Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets — Author Interview

In case you missed it, here is the Book of the Month author interview with Janey Louise Jones. Janey released her book Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets earlier this year.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Janey Louise Jones [JJ]: Yes, I wrote stories as soon as I could write. The harder thing is making it happen as an adult, and sticking with the dream when it is tough to get started.

Q: What inspired you to write the Cloudberry Castle books?
JJ: I love Scottish castles and ballet, plus I wanted to write for my niece who also loves ballet.

Q: Why is the ballet special to you?
JJ: I find ballet looks graceful and elegant, but it is also the product of hard work and determination, so it is a good training ground for life.

Q: Did you ever want to become a ballerina yourself?
JJ: Yes, definitely. I danced for years until academic work got in the way.

Q: In Cloudberry Ballet: Ballet School Secrets Katie and the other ballerinas perform Sleeping Beauty. What’s your favourite ballet?

JJ: I love Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake (the ballet in the first Cloudberry Castle book) too as it is so beautiful on stage, and very emotional. But I also love The Nutcracker, by the same composer, Tchaikovsky.

Q: Cloudberry Castle: Ballet School Secrets introduces a new character, Leo, who is spoiled and difficult. What do you like about writing characters like Leo?
JJ: Well, the baddies are always more fun, as they can be more daring. And the really fascinating bit is finding out why they are unpleasant, and helping them to change throughout the story.

Q: Katie and her friends eat a lot of cake. What is your favourite cake?
JJ: Chocolate cake, though carrot cake with really good icing is a close second.

Q: As well as the Cloudberry Castle books you have also written the Princess Poppy books. What is the best thing about writing novels?
JJ: It is fun to write at greater length and develop a more intricate plot. I recall the pleasure of moving onto reading chapter books as a child and I get the same sort of enjoyment in writing them — you inhabit that world during the writing process.

Q: How do you feel when you finish writing a new book?
JJ: It is bittersweet as you leave the characters behind, but in a practical sense, you are relieved that the job is done.

Q: Do you plan your stories before you start writing?
JJ: Yes, a chapter plan is important for this sort of book as it has to follow a shape, but it is also fun to go off plan occasionally. Sometimes you think of new plot twists as you go along.

Q: Do your characters ever do anything you didn’t expect them to do?
JJ: Not exactly, because as a children’s writer, I feel my characters have to behave ‘in character’ so that the readers can get to know and trust them.

Q: What books, other than the Cloudberry Castle books, would you advice children to read before they grow up?
JJ: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and the classic Dickens novels, such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.

Q: Will you be writing another book about Katie and Cloudberry Castle?
JJ: I hope so; girls are starting to follow Katie’s adventures, so it might lead to more stories.

Thanks Janey!

Posted by: Benedicte at Discover Kelpies