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Jenny Valentine - Author

About the Author

Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite. Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children. 'Finding Violet Park' is her first novel.

Q+A
Cool name!

I owe the showbiz name to my husband!

This is your first book, have you always wanted to be a writer girl and how did you make it happen?
My mum bought me a notebook when I was about nine that looked like a novel on the outside. I had to put the title and the author on the front and then fill it with a story. I knew then. I’m not sure exactly how I made it happen - I put the work in I guess.

What was your favourite book as a teen girl?
Such a hard question! I read a lot and I always wish I’d made lists of all the books I loved. One that stands out would be The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

For people who haven’t read your book yet - Finding Violet Park, what’s it all about?
It’s about a boy who finds an old lady’s ashes in a mini cab office and decides to find out who she was. He learns a lot of other things while he’s doing it.

Lucas is a great narrator, what made you write from a boy’s perspective?
No idea! He just jumped out, fully formed, in about the second sentence. I’m not sure I had that much choice in the matter.

Secrets are a big part of the book,what’s your biggest secret?
Good try!

If the book had a soundtrack, what would be on it?
Well, Lucas listens to all his Dad’s old records so there’d be some early David Bowie, some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, maybe Rolling Stones. Then there’d have to be some piano pieces for Violet to play, Rachmaninov gets played at Lucas’s granny’s.Then Lucas’s own choices might be Sufjan Stevens, Will Oldham, and a song from my husband Alex Valentine’s record TARDIS HEART. It’s called SORROW and as soon as I heard it I said I’d want it in a soundtrack if I was ever lucky enough to get one.

Apart from your own, what’s your favourite book for teens?
Holes by Louis Sachar. I love that book. I think it’s perfect.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Finding the exact word you’ve been searching for.

Do you have a writing routine, Jenny? Tell us about it…
Well it’s very un-HELLO! I drink coffee, I have a walk by the river with our dog, I sit down and I re-read some of what I did the day before. Then I get going. Sometimes I look up and three hours have gone by, sometimes it’s like getting blood out of a stone. I think it helps to have no routine at all, just to go with it, see how it’s working.

What’s next in the world of JV?
I’m working on my next book. It should be out next year. I can’t tell you what it’s called yet because I don’t know. I’m very indecisive.

The colour pink. Discuss.
Let’s see… bubblegum, fake fur, rose petals, cold noses, underwear, marshmallows, candy floss, lip gloss…. how am I doing?!

Featured books by Jenny Valentine

Other books by Jenny Valentine

Fire Colour One

Fire Colour One

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: eBook Release Date: 06/08/2015

A bold and brilliant novel about love, lies and redemption, from award-winning author, Jenny Valentine - one of the greatest YA voices of her generation.Iris's father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn't even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames.Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest's priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he's gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light.

Iggy and Me and the New Baby

Iggy and Me and the New Baby

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2012

More adventures of the irrepressible Iggy as told by her sister Flo, by Jenny Valentine, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for her debut novel, Finding Violet Park. At home, all Iggy could think and talk about was babies. Pleeease have one more, she said. Just one. Iggy is OBSESSED with babies and wants more than anything in the world to have a new baby brother or baby sister to play with. But mum is far too tired to have another baby - she says just thinking about having another one makes her tired, so when Iggy's Auntie Kate comes to visit all the way from America with some very special news, Iggy can't believe her luck. This is the third outing for Jenny Valentine's endearing siblings. Each chapter is a complete and satisfying story in its own right, perfect for newly-confident readers to enjoy alone, or for reading aloud at bedtime. Illustrated throughout in with black & white line drawings by Joe Berger, who was nominated for the Booktrust Early Years Award for his picture book, Bridget Fidget.

Iggy And Me

Iggy And Me

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: eBook Release Date: 06/01/2011

The first of a new series of young fiction by Jenny Valentine, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for her debut novel, Finding Violet Park.IGGY AND ME is a series of family stories featuring the mishaps and shenanigans of the irrepressible 5-year-old Iggy as seen through the eyes of her big sister Flo.Funny and endearing, each chapter is a complete and satisfying story in its own right, perfect for newly-confident readers to enjoy alone, or for reading aloud at bedtime.Illutrated throughout in with black & white line drawings by Joe Berger, who was nominated for the Booktrust Early Years Award for his picture book, Bridget Fidget.

The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight

The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2010

Two boys. One identity. He can change his life if he says yes... An explosive new mystery from the award-winning author Jenny Valentine, The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight is the story of a boy who assumes the identity of a missing teenager and in-so-doing unearths a series of shattering family secrets - and the truth about who he really is. With all the classic hallmarks of a Jenny novel - a fantastically strong, sensitive and memorable first person narration; themes of loss and betrayal, family secrets and personal identity; truly quality writing that is 'literary' but never inaccessbile or pretentious, this is the thrilling new novel from the author of Finding Violet Park.

Iggy and Me on Holiday

Iggy and Me on Holiday

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2010

More adventures of the irrepressible Iggy as told by her sister Flo, by Jenny Valentine, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for her debut novel, Finding Violet Park. This is the third outing for Jenny Valentine's endearing siblings, and this time they're full of plans for the school holidays. Will they go camping, or to the seaside? Or have Mum and Dad got something entirely different up their sleeves? Whatever they do, readers can be sure of plenty of laughter. Each chapter is a complete and satisfying story in its own right, perfect for newly-confident readers to enjoy alone, or for reading aloud at bedtime. Illustrated throughout in with black & white line drawings by Joe Berger, who was nominated for the Booktrust Early Years Award for his picture book, Bridget Fidget.

Iggy and Me and The Happy Birthday

Iggy and Me and The Happy Birthday

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/02/2010

The second of a new series of young fiction by Jenny Valentine, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for her debut novel, Finding Violet Park. More funny and endearing family stories featuring the the irrepressible 5-year-old IGGY as seen through the eyes of her big sister Flo, the ME of the title. Whether learning to swim, or playing at home, going on a day trip or baking birthday cakes, Iggy and Flo add sparkle to everyday activities. Each chapter is a complete and satisfying story in its own right, perfect for newly-confident readers to enjoy alone, or for reading aloud at bedtime. Illustrated throughout in with black & white line drawings by Joe Berger, who was nominated for the Booktrust Early Years Award for his picture book, Bridget Fidget.

Finding Violet Park

Finding Violet Park

Author: Jenny Valentine Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/09/2007

Narrated by the most compelling voice since Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, this is a quirky and original voyage of self-discovery triggered by a lost urn of ashes. The mini cab office was up a cobbled mews with little flat houses either side. That's where I first met Violet Park, what was left of her. There was a healing centre next door, a pretty smart name for a place with a battered brown door and no proper door handle and stuck-on wooden numbers in the shape of clowns. The 3 of number 13 was a w stuck on sideways and I thought it was kind of sad and I liked it at the same time. Sixteen-year-old Lucas Swain becomes intrigued by the urn of ashes left in a cab office. Convinced that its occupant -- Violet Park -- is communicating with him, he contrives to gain possession of the urn, little realising that his quest will take him on a voyage of self-discovery and identity, forcing him to finally confront what happened to his absent (and possibly dead) father!

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