Jean Ure spent her teenage years writing. She published her debut novel, Dance for Two, when she was sixteen years old and dropped out of school to continue with her writing. She subsequently worked as a cleaner, a waiter and a nurse. She also worked at the BBC and as a translator for UNESCO in Paris. Her books include A Proper Little Nooryeff, Sugar and Spice, Boys Beware, and Over the Moon.
Jean spoke about her latest novel and concerns as a writer.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I had my first book published while I was still at school and immediately went rushing into the world declaring that I was an AUTHOR! Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the proceeds from one book were not enough to live on, and that while I might indeed be AN AUTHOR I needed to earn money just like all those other people who weren’t authors.
Over the next couple of years I hopped like a flea from job to job, rarely staying anywhere longer than a month as they were all so boring. At the same time as hopping like a flea, I was trying to write and sell more books, only nobody seemed to want them, which was rather depressing. In the end I decided that I would go to drama school. I thought it would be fun – which it was. I spent three very happy years there, wrote another book (and had it published) and met my future husband. He became an actor, I become a writer. I have been writing ever since.
We now live in a 300-year old house in South London with our family of seven dogs and four cats.
I knew as young as eight years old that I was going to be a writer.
Who would you say has influenced you the most?
My father probably influenced me the most. He was always enthusiastic and supportive.
What are your main concerns as a writer?
My main concern as a writer is, without doubt, to entertain. I see no point in indulging and amusing myself if no children are going to read what I write. I do want to indulge and amuse myself, but I also want readers to identify with my books, to recognize the concerns of the characters as their concerns, to take heart, gain solace, to laugh, to cry and maybe, along the way, to learn a bit about life.
How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?
My personal experiences have directly influenced my writing inasmuch as I frequently draw on them for inspiration.