Jacqueline Wilson was one of my favourite authors as a child. I still have a big collection of her books, with loads of hardbacks; I was always super keen to get new releases. My first Jacqueline Wilson book was a "double decker" of Double Act and Bad Girls. I remember standing reading it in the Waterstones on George Street in Edinburgh, while on a family shopping trip, and reading the whole first chapter, trying to send a strong hint to my parents that I wanted this book. Up until this point I had struggled with reading and was in the bottom reading group at school (this must've been in about 1998, when I was 8, I didn't find out I was dyslexic (with specifically slow reading skills) until I was 16). My hinting must've worked because they bought the book and I still have it. I couldn't stop reading this book, and soon my Jacqueline Wilson collection grew. I used to act out scenes from Double Act with my friend Clare in the play ground, where as the twins Garnet and Ruby we would become pop stars and play at Wembley, I think we even performed our work at Brownies.
Her stories were so real and wonderful, covering mundane and terrible and brilliant lives all with the same care. Her own story is really interesting too. I haven't yet read her stories based on her life, but I really should soon. I loved the Girls Out Late/In Love etc. books and The Illustrated Mum too. Also, Nick Sharratt's illustrations became synonymous with the whole Jacqueline Wilson experience. I think I had one of books with a different illustrator and it just felt so wrong. He is so great at capturing her characters. She inspired me to love reading and I think my mum thanked her for this when we went to see her at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Thank you Jacqueline Wilson, I owe you!