It’s the nature of writing that every heroine I have conjured up, from Penny Dreadful to Rachel Riley has a little of me in her. In the case of Rachel, pretty much all of me. So much so, that when I started writing about the freakishly tall and misfortune-prone Buttercup Jones, who desperately wishes her life and looks weren’t quite so, well, weird, I really believed that, like Frankenstein, I had invented a whole new person. Until I began to take stock of my own, Buttercuppish moments:
- When I was fifteen I looked like a man in a permed wig. I am NOT EVEN JOKING. Google Robert Plant and you can see for yourself.
- The following year I tap danced on stage to New York New York in a peach lycra body con dress with 32DD breasts and a very unsupportive bra.
And I’m still doing them, although more in a kind of Lola Jones i.e. Buttercup’s mum) way now:
- The first time I was supposed to meet the Prime Minister, I got banned and had to hide in the toilets because I was wearing combat trousers, a see-through top and a silver puffa jacket (I know, war crime outfit, but it was 1998).
- The first time I did meet the Prime Minister I curtsied. YES, actually factually curtsied. Although at least my top wasn’t see through.
- Last year I did the shopping in a gold lame ballgown under my parka, because I could not be bothered to get changed.
- I am still so short that my daughter asked me if she “will grow up to be a midget too?”
See? Buttercup. But life’s kind of more interesting that way. And I hope it stays like that.
About Joanna Nadin
A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature.
I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name.
I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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