Delighted to have Jane Lawes, author of the Gym Stars series, on the site today taking part in 5-4-3-2-1. I haven’t read these ones yet but am definitely looking forward to starting them – and aren’t Barbara Bongini’s cover illustrations gorgeous?
5 books you’d save from a burning bookcase:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it’s so familiar and comforting.
The Chalet School in Exile by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer because I loved it as a child and still love all the multiculturalism and respect for others that it teaches.
Star Turn by Jean Ure because this was another childhood favourite and Jean Ure influenced my writing style a lot.
Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky because it’s wonderful and makes me strive to be a better writer.
Stories by Firelight by Shirley Hughes because I still find it comforting to read this and look at the beautiful illustrations when the nights draw in and the rain is pouring down outside.
4 pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author
Save up all your daydreams because one day you’ll use them in your writing (so daydreaming isn’t wasting time!)
Don’t worry about what’s trendy right now, just tell yourself the story you want to read.
Don’t obsess over why you haven’t heard anything about your book on submission yet – use the waiting time to write something new.
Try not to worry about sales or reviews or whether you’ll ever see anyone reading your book in public and remember that you’d still be writing even if you weren’t getting published.
3 relationships you love reading about
Sibling relationships, for example in Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild and the Pea series by Susie Day.
Best friends like Daisy and Hazel in Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike mysteries, and Ellie, Nadine and Magda in Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls in Love series.
LGBT+ relationships in YA and teen novels. My favourite for this is probably Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton – it perfectly captures the uncertainty, adrenaline, confusion and joy of first love.
2 TV shows you could watch all day long (when not busy writing)
Parks and Recreation (it makes me want to be a better person)
Orphan Black (because it never stops amazing me how Tatiana Maslany can play so many different characters!)
1 item of swag you’d love to see made (could be for your own book or someone else’s, or a mix)
The Silverdale Gymnastics Club leotard that Tara wears for the competitions in my Gym Stars series. When I was young, I used to spend ages doodling designs for leotards in my homework diary so it was really fun picturing leotard designs in my mind for these books!