People & Books #13: Jenny McLachlan



I'm super privileged to be able to interview children's author Jenny McLachlan. I first met Jenny in London in 2016,  when she ran a workshop at the Writing for Children & Young Adults  Conference. After trying her hand at literary fiction, Jenny has discovered her talent for writing funny stories for both YA and younger readers. Her new book Stink: WORST. FAIRY. EVER!  was released this year. Here she talks about how she began writing and what her writing journey has been so far.    

Who/What inspired you to begin writing?

I started writing when my husband and I accidentally booked a mini break in Barcelona that actually lasted ten days. When we had visited all the sights, we bought each other notebooks and started writing mini sagas to entertain each other. Writing stories that were only 100 words long meant I was able to see a real improvement in my writing in just a few days. I think that was the moment when I went from thinking 'I’d love to write a book' to 'I can write a book'. 

Which authors do you admire?

I admire authors who have an almost uncanny understanding of what children love, want and need, and don’t seem too bothered by what the grown-ups think, for example, Jacqueline Wilson, Louise Rennison, Tove Jansson.

Have you been influenced by any particular books you’ve read?

I don’t think so… but perhaps I can’t tell! I certainly love the magic of Moomin Valley – it’s both cosy and a little bit frightening. This might have crept into Roar.

How many books have you written?

12 chapter books and around six early readers.




What inspired you to write your latest book, Stink?

I was inspired to write my most recent book – Stink – possibly by the stories my dad told me when I was little about a camel called Cuthbert and his tempestuous side-kick fairy. Plus, my children have been very inspiring. I think that a lot of the things Stink does are similar to a toddler’s behaviour – wild, messy and funny! 

You were a teacher before you gave up to write full-time. Did this influence your ideas and writing plans? 

I spend hours and hours each day wondering how I can communicate something to children and how I can use humour to do this effectively. I think this is very similar to my teaching days! 







Do you explore other formats e.g. poetry, short stories, graphic novels?

My current book – Stink – is partly a graphic novel. I illustrated it and I absolutely loved the whole experience. I collect graphic novels and have done for years. I love them. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently drawing the illustrations for the second book and working on an exciting secret project!

What are your future writing plans?

I have so many stories in my head. At the moment I’m trying to decide which one I want to develop into a book.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

When I write, I feel like the things I’m describing have actually happened to me. That’s pretty special! 

Do you have any particular writing habits or routines?

I spend a lot of time thinking about an idea before I write a plan – sometimes months or years – and then I write a very detailed plan. Usually, for a 50,000 word novel, my plan will be about 10,000 words. When I actually start writing, I don’t feel like I’m making anything up, more that I’m relaying something real. 



Do you have any tips for new writers?

Keep searching for your voice. I tried to write serious literary fiction for around five years, but it always sounded forced. The moment I started writing in the first-person for my first teen book - about a teenage girl who falls in love with jive dancing - I knew I had found my voice. I’ve been writing first-person comedy books for children ever since. 


For more information about Jenny & her books, go to


Follow Jenny on social media: 

Twitter: @JennyMcLachlan1

Facebook: @JennyMclachlan

Instagram: jennymclachlan_writer

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