All About Jaclyn
I grew up in Sydney with 4 sisters, 1 brother, 2 dogs, and 12 chickens, and most of us liked to tell stories. (The children, I mean. Not the chickens.) Our dad used to commission us to write them: you got a dollar fifty if you filled an exercise book with words.
My First Novel
I wrote my first novel when I was seven. It was an Enid Blyron rip-off about talking toys. In the end, the toys got into a fist fight and everything went to hell. “You know, this is really quite good!” said my Auntie Elizabeth. But I could tell by the way she glimmered at my mother, over the top of my head, that she did not think so at all.
Despite this setback, I continued to write.
I wanted to be an author but I knew you had to get a real job. My best friend Kelly and I hoped to be flight attendants but worried constantly that we wouldn’t grow up to be tall enough. We were always measuring each other. It was a relief when we switched to astronomy. In high school, I thought I might end up in advertising, but then my sister got a job in the ad industry so that career was taken. I switched to journalism. I asked a neighbour which journalism course I should take and she answered at once: “You must do English and Law at the University of Sydney.”
So, I did.
My English thesis was on Roald Dahl. One chapter of my thesis was a postmodern deconstructive anaylsis of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Once I started studying Law I couldn’t stop. I did a Masters in Law at Yale. Then I did a PhD in Law at Cambridge.
While I was doing the PhD at Cambridge, I wrote a novel for young adults called Feeling Sorry for Celia. I chose young adults because I love reading young adult books, and I like young adults themselves. They seem to be very passionate, funny and smart. I suppose not all of them are, but I keep meeting young people like that.
Also, my PhD was on the law relating to young people and the media – especially the privacy rights of young people—so they were on my mind.
I tried to get Feeling Sorry for Celia published but all the agents in London sent it back to me.
"I have never been so happy as when I’m in my study and the writing’s going well"
There was nothing for it: I had to get a job as a lawyer.
Back home in Sydney, I worked as a media, entertainment and copyright lawyer. I sent Feeling Sorry for Celia to a Sydney agency, and world-famous author, Garth Nix happened to be working there at the time. He opened the envelope with Celia in it, and, within weeks, he had found me publishers.
That was extremely lovely of him.
I worked at a great law firm. The people were bright and creative. And they had cake for me when Feeling Sorry for Celia was first published.
Also, they let me work part-time for a while so I could write my next book: Finding Cassie Crazy, which became The Year of Secret Assignments in the US and Canada.
Then I became a full-time writer. I moved to Montreal for a few years – I love Canada, especially the snow and ice.
But now I live in Sydney with my little boy, Charlie.
My sister, Liane Moriarty, is also an author, and another sister, Nicola, just finished writing her first novel.
I write while Charlie is sleeping, or while he is with his babysitter. I love being a writer. I think I have never been so happy as when I’m in my study and the writing’s going well and I can hear Charlie giggling downstairs.