About the Author
Jacqueline Harvey knew she wanted to be an author at a young age. She couldn’t say exactly when, but winning a minor writing competition as a teenager inspired her to think that maybe, sometime in the future, she might be able to write books.
It wasn’t until November 2012, that Jacqueline took the giant step away from a 20 year career in schools as a teacher, Deputy Head of Junior School and most recently, Director of Development, to become a full time writer. She is now one of Australia’s most popular authors.
Jacqueline Harvey’s bestselling Alice-Miranda series began as an idea for a picture book but it soon became apparent that this perpetually positive seven-and-a-quarter-year-old had a lot more to say. The series has been sold to the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil (for Portuguese translation) and Hungary has been shortlisted for numerous children’s book awards in Australia including both industry and children’s choice. She has recorded the first five titles as audio books for Audible and the series has been optioned for television.
The Clementine Rose series for younger readers has followed closely in the footsteps of Alice-Miranda’s success and has been sold to the United Kingdom and Brazil and is now also available in the US. Jacqueline’s first and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards.
Jacqueline lives in Sydney with her husband Ian and is currently working on more Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose adventures. She relishes any opportunity to get back into school and work with the children who inspire her writing. In her spare time she likes to play golf in exotic locations.
Q and A
Where do you live?
I live in Sydney, Australia.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
From the age of nine I wanted to be a primary school teacher. There were times when I changed my mind of course, as kids tend to do. For a while I thought being a brain surgeon was a great idea, until I realised that the thought of cutting someone open with a scalpel made me queasy, then I wanted to read the television news and be a journalist, and there was always the dream of being a writer (I just didn’t have any clue how to make that happen). So I always came back to the idea of teaching. I loved working with children and despite some of my own high school teachers discouraging me from that career path (that’s really sad I know), ultimately school was where I wanted to be. Once I started working as a teacher, I wrote a lot more and began to develop my dramatic skills. I think some days I’m a frustrated actress too!
What made you want to be a writer?
I was always a daydreamer and loved to tell stories. When I became a teacher I often wrote stories and poems and plays for the children in my classes and my desire to write books grew from there.
What are your favourite Books?
Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I also love Ian McEwan’s books and Tim Winton’s too.
What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Don’t talk about it, do it! In my twenties I spent a lot of time saying that I wanted to be a published writer. I didn’t really do anything about it though until I met the man who would become my husband and he said to me, ‘well you don’t want to die wondering’ and that was true. So I worked really hard with the goal of being published. It didn’t happen overnight and there have been lots of ups and downs along the way – but the fact that I now find my books in libraries and bookshops, being read by children in countries all over the world is a dream come true.
What do you love about writing for kids?
Children are so honest. I’ve had the most incredible privilege of being able to read my material to children for many years. I think in my early teaching days, some of the students would tell me what they thought I wanted to hear, but after a while – and much training about the benefits of honest feedback, they started to tell me what they really thought.
Where have you enjoyed travelling?
New York, London, Paris, Rome, Japan, Portugal, and lots of places in Australia.
What five words best sum you up?
Determined, empathic, hardworking, positive and talkative.
Article in the Sydney Morning Herald and syndicated papers
Roald Dahl’s Matilda may have her very own stage show but Australian author Jacqueline Harvey’s Alice-Miranda character has snaffled her first animated international television series
A modern-day Anne of Green Gables going by the multi-barrelled name of Alice–Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones is set to become the heroine of a new animated children’s television series.
Interview in the Daily Telegraph
Bookworms given insight into the mind of the author of the Alice-Miranda series
Jacqueline Harvey is known to let her creativity shine in children’s books, but last week some of her loyal, and some new, readers got a glimpse of her imagination in person.
Interview with Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review USA
What inspired you to create such a determined and winning character?
Over my years as a teacher I have worked at some quite privileged schools with little girls who perhaps aren’t quite on the same economic stratosphere as Alice-Miranda but are very fortunate indeed. I think she’s the best characteristics of lots of children I’ve known.
Ten Terrifying Questions on the Booktopia Blog Australia
Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To write entertaining and high quality books that children around the world genuinely enjoy reading.
Jacqueline is a passionate educator who shares her love of reading and writing with children and adults alike. A prodigious talker, she has always enjoyed telling stories and imagining the ‘what if’s’ of life. She is passionate about closing the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous achievement in terms of educational disadvantage and works closely with several organisations including Yalari, The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and several schools in Central Western NSW. In October 2013 she became an ambassador for Room To Read. In December 2014 Jacqueline was named as a Dymocks Children’s Charities Ambassador.