Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hey Jack - the risk taker.

I realise I have neglected Jack a little on this blog, forgetting to mention when a new book appears on the shelves like this one on the left, which has been out in bookstores since the start of February. Perhaps this is because Jack is a harder character for me to write.

Jack was originally designed as Billie's side-kick, and he is quiet and calm to balance out her impulsive, fiery nature. But a quiet, introspective character is much harder to write than someone who constantly creates conflict, as most stories require conflict to create momentum.

As a child I was much more like Billie, so finding the right emotions to flesh out her character comes easily to me, whereas Jack comes from my more rational and wary side, which isn't always as fun to write. However, the more I write Jack, especially now that I have taken a break from writing Billie, the more I am becoming interested in his complexity.

I am finding that while Jack can be wary he can also be brave. While he is sometimes shy and often dominated by Billie, he also has a quiet confidence that appears when he needs it most. I have enjoyed finding moments where Jack can stand up for himself, or discover something new about himself, and this happened while writing this story, The Circus Lesson.

I remember as a child how exciting, but also frightening it could be when adults didn't act the way I thought they should. Yet, it was these adults, the ones who lived differently, took risks and didn't feel the need to conform that ended up being the ones who inspired me the most and who, just by being themselves, encouraged me to to do the same. Without them, I am pretty certain I never would have been brave enough to follow my dreams.


  1. Dear Sally,
    You always feel a little scared when you are about to meet a new friend because you don't always know if they'll be fun or boring. But Jack has a lot of fun when he meets Sue. But he is not used to having such fun things. In the end he thinks it is the best night ever.

    I thought The Circus Lesson was a great book. It was quite exciting. Thank you for the book Sally. I also liked the Billy B Browns. I haven't read The Lost Reindeer yet but I will soon.

    love NAT

    1. Hi Nat,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you so much for your lovely review. I'm glad to hear you liked The Circus Lesson and look forward to hearing what you think about The Lost Reindeer.
      See you soon - over the fence - just like Billie and Jack!
      Sally x

  2. My 6yo son recently chose Jack as his favourite book character for his show and tell. Among his reasons were "he is like me" and "I understand how he feels". So your efforts to create Jack's character are appreciated! I'm glad you're still writing more Jacks; in the meantime my son has been working through Billy B Brown and collecting boxes to make his Robot Blues costume for book week. Thanks!

    1. Hi, that's great to hear! Thanks so much for letting me know. Good luck with the robot costume!