Jane Mitchell is an award-winning author of books for children and young people. Her novel Chalkline was endorsed by Amnesty International Ireland for contributing to a better understanding of human rights. She lives in Ireland.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
‘Need a poo, Todd.’”
—The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
The wonder of reading and books were central to my childhood. I consumed every book I could get my hands on. Between their pages, I discovered whole new worlds bursting with incredible people doing incredible things. I wanted to be part of creating these amazing worlds. I know from experience the power story has to profoundly change, expand, enrich and uplift the lives of readers.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
I believe one of the hardest things for any future writer or illustrator is to finish a complete manuscript. This might sound obvious, but I hear from so many future writers who have wonderful ideas for new stories, or from illustrators who are sketching out their new works—but really the tough thing to do is to finish that amazing story; to actually get to the end of a book. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do and is such a fantastic achievement.
Dramatic openings are easy.
Doodling the picture book dummy is exciting and fun.
The hard graft comes when you are 12 or 15 chapters into your book, or when you are redrawing your main character for the 8th or 10th time to their the expression just right. That’s when the tough work starts. That’s when the long hours of commitment start. That’s when the real writers and illustrators rise to the top.