I have always loved reading and I studied English at university just so that I could read a bit more. Next I found my way into secondary teaching and discovered that I loved it too: I got to read more books, show off and hang out with very funny teenagers. What a great job!
Teaching English also encouraged me to write. Soon I had planned and started lots of different stories, but they were all abandoned and shoved to the back of a drawer. Then, one day, the plot for Flirty Dancing came together; Bea’s story was so alive it was like a film running in my head and I knew it was a story I would finish.
Over the next few years, various exciting events distracted me from Flirty Dancing: I got married, travelled the world, was chased by an angry elephant (and a pack of dogs) and I had two babies. While I was sitting on trains, swimming in the Outback and raising two crazy girls, I kept thinking about Bea, and her friends, Betty, Kat and Pearl, until I realised I had planned three more books.
In 2013, after attending the Winchester Writers’ Festival, I plucked up the courage to send Flirty Dancing to Julia Churchill, a brilliant children’s fiction agent at A.M. Heath. With dazzling speed I was then signed by Bloomsbury to write the four books in the series.
Dear Jenny Our son Niek is having a book review at school ahead of time. He also has a book that you wrote, Back to Roar. In addition, he would like to tell something about the author, that is you. However, there is not much to be found about you on the internet. Would you like to tell something about it so that he can include this in the book discussion. Thinking of your age, place of residence and of you have children. He would be happy if you respond to this message. Kind regards Raimond Smulders
Hi – Thank you for getting in touch, Raimond, and I’m so pleased to hear that Niek is writing a book review about Roar. I’m 45 (although I don’t feel that grown up) and I live in a seaside town on the South coast of England. I have two daughters who right now are watching The Hobbit (I’m writing up in my bedroom – nothing is quite as exciting as making up your own story!) If Niek would like some facts for his book review please pass on to him that I never thought I would become a writer when I was at school because I found writing difficult – I was a slow writer and wasn’t much good at spelling. When I grew up I realised that having a big imagination was more important than these things so I’m glad I spent so many hours drawing, day dreaming and playing. Here are some more unusual fasts about me: I’ve held a baby penguin, been chased by an elephant and I once won a year’s supply of chocolate! I’m guessing from your names that you might live in the Netherlands? A brilliant thing once happened to me in Nijmegen – I was visiting my uncle and we went for a walk on a very rainy day. My mum said that my brother and I could get as muddy as we liked so we pulled our knitted hats over our eyes and fell over again and again (accidentally on purpose) until we were covered in mud. It was absolutely brilliant and even though it happened nearly 40 years ago I can remember it like it was yesterday. I hope this all helps – good luck with your book report, Niek! xx Jenny
Thanks for the response to our post. Niek was very happy with it.
And nice to read that you still have so much fun and adventures.
We do indeed live in the Netherlands in the city of Breda. There are also plenty of adventures to experience here ;0).
Thanks again for the response and we wish you a nice 2022.
Greetings Raimond and Niek
I’m so pleased. Happy adventures, Niek! I’ve just had a look at Breda and decided it’s time I paid another visit to the Netherlands. What a beautiful city! x Jenny
Hey jenny ik am 11 years old my little brother is doing a presentation about lan of roar it’s his favorite book! xx Eva ❤️
Hi Eva – that’s so great to hear. Thank you for letting me know! Please say hello to your little brother from me. It always makes my day when I hear that Roar has made someone happy. xx Jenny
Thank you for replying jenny my brother is so happy now!
Hi Ms. Mclachlan,
I’m Emil Ostrovski, a 5th grade teacher in San Diego, California. I read my students The Land of Roar as a read-aloud during the first part of the school year, and they really loved the story, so much so that we got them copies of Return to Roar as a holiday present. I was wondering if you might be interested in visiting the class via Zoom; they would be very excited to hear from you.
Hi Emil I sent you an email, but haven’t heard back from you. That’s no problem, but I just wanted to check that you did get the email. Best wishes, Jenny
Hi, I love reading your books as reading logs! My teacher even thinks that it’s amazing how they were written. I’m supper exited to read book three and learn more and see if crowsky is back! Xx Milo
Hi Milo, it’s great to hear from you and I’m so happy to know that you like the Roar books. Enjoy your last trip to Roar and I’m going to give you a clue… He’s back!! xx Jenny
Hi Jenny. My name is Zoe and I love reading all of the Roar books. My favourite character is Arthur because he went after Grandad when he was taken. I also love the pants jokes. The funniest characters are Grandad and Win.
Thank you from Zoe.
Hi Zoe, thank you so much for getting in touch. I’m so happy to hear that you love Roar – me too! I’m a big fan of Grandad and Win and they were both brilliant characters to write about. I think that Grandad is Win grown up! Do you like writing or making up stories? When I was your age I used to love playing games where I made up stories, and drawing pictures too, but I wasn’t so keen on the writing side! xx Jenny
Hi, we have themed our world book day around the ‘Land of Roar’ because we are really loving it as our class book. It is fantastic, interesting and we think it is ‘imaginary’! We like the living scarecrow. We had to crawl into the classroom though a mattress tunnel and shout ‘HEAR ME ROAR!!!’, We tried to draw the characters from our imagination. We’ve had a go at creating our own imaginary lands. Can you tell us more about what the furries look like?
From Class 11
Hi Class 11, thank you for your lovely message and I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying reading The Land of Roar – this makes me very happy! Also, how exciting that you got to crawl through a mattress tunnel – I haven’t done this for about 35 years, but I can still clearly remember what it felt like. Have you enjoyed making your imaginary lands? Would you like to visit them? I imagined that the furries looked a bit like tiny hamsters with long legs and arms and sort of human faces. Now I’ve written that down I’m starting to realise why I didn’t describe them in more detail in the books – how bizarre!! Is that how you imagined them? xx Jenny
I am a TA at a school and our year 4 classes are reading Land of Roar and studying you! They have had to write biographies on you.
Would it at all be possible for you to send them a short email?
They are loving the book. I have messaged you on Instagram but never done that before so not sure if I’ve done it right x
Is there going to be a Land of Roar movie or tv series because I want to play the part of Win! How old is Win because l am 9? I’m currently half way through The Battle For Roar – is there going to be a 4th Land of roar book?
Hi Sonny, I would LOVE there to be a Roar film, TV, cartoon, play or pretty much anything because it would be so much fun seeing the world come to life. At the moment there are no plans, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m sure you would make an awesome Win! I imagine him being 10/11/12 ish I think. I’m not currently writing a 4th Roar book, but you never know! x Jenny
Thank you for your quick reply Jenny – Sonny will be thrilled, and thank you for the Roar series too! My youngest son Luka has never shown any interest in books, but a couple of months ago, whilst he was rolling around aimlessly on the floor, I picked up Sonny’s copy of Land Of Roar and started reading it to him and we haven’t stopped – you’ve completely ignited his love for books (and his love for No Problama t-shirts).
We’re a few chapters away from finishing the third book, and none of us want to leave Roar! It’s been a great experience for the three of us.
Thank you, Jon – what more could I ask for? That’s absolutely fantastic to hear. I’m so happy that Luka has found Roar to be a special place for him (and you!) and I love the idea of you reading it together. There aren’t many things better than sharing and enjoying a book together. Luka and Sonny might like to try my new book – Dead Good Detectives – which has a lot of similarities with Roar – comedy, high stakes drama, danger, a Win-esque character called Zen. It hasn’t got dragons, I’m afraid, but it does have some pretty cool ghosts! Thanks for sharing Roar with Luka, Jenny
I am in my second year of teaching and have a Year 4 class in a school with a high level of deprivation. We finished reading Land of Roar together last week and it gave everybody so much joy. I think story time has been without question everybody’s favourite moment in the day, mine included. The groans when they realised it was the end of the chapter and that was it for the day were brilliant. They have become fantastic at walking quietly through school as a group by imagining the scarecrows are watching them.
We didn’t have Battle for Roar in the school library so I bought a copy to lend out. The first child to borrow it (2 days ago) is already halfway through and his excitement is immense. In his parent consultation meeting tonight his Mum told me she has been woken up by a light on at 4am two nights in a row to find him reading! She said he has never shown much interest in reading before and now he reads everywhere, walking down the stairs, over dinner, on his way to school, he has even forgone his time playing Switch.
I think your book may have sparked something quite wonderful so thank you 🙂
Hi Alice, what a wonderful message to receive – thank you! I’m so happy to hear that you and your class are loving Roar – this is why I wrote the books so it makes me very happy to know the books have made you all happy. Also, amazing reading from the student who borrowed Battle for Roar… he sounds a bit like Win! I’d love to send your class a video message – I’ll email you. xx Jenny
Jenny, I love your books, but I’m Polish, and I feel terrible because there are no 3 parts of the roaring land in Polish yet ☹
Dear Jenny, I loved reading The Dead Good Detectives – it was so good! When is the next book coming out? I can’t wait to read it.
Sonny (aged 9)
Hi Sonny – thank you so much! As it happens I’m working on it right now (actually, I’m not, I’m messaging you – but I’ll be getting back to Fathom in a minute!) The next book is coming out in September (I think!). I must check up on that… Have you read my Land of Roar books, Sonny? If you haven’t, you might like them. x Jen
I am a primary school teacher in Melbourne, Australia.
As an end of year project, our students each have the opportunity to write a letter to the author of one of the books they have studied with their ‘novel studies’ reading group. The texts read a self-selected by students from a range of options that suit their reading needs – and ‘Land of Roar’ has been keenly selected by some of our students this year.
I was wondering if you might have a mailing address that a couple of our Grade 4 students could send letters to? They are very keen to send their work out into the world via ‘snail mail’, something many of them have never done before! I understand you must be very busy, so we by no means expect that you will have the opportunity to reply. However they really would love to send them anyway.
Thanks for all of your wonderful writing. Many of our students have been enjoying this series throughout the year outside of our novel studies program also and it has been a real hit!
Hi Rebecca, it’s fantastic to hear that students in Melbourne have been enjoying Roar. They might like to know that quite a few Roar places and scenes are inspired by my travels in Australia – Boulders and Waterfalls in Return to Roar and the islands beyond the End in Battle for Roar especially. I’ll send you an email because I’d love to hear from your students by snail mail! xx Jenny
I am Megan-Jane and I am ten years old from Shrewsbury . I really enjoyed your book Dead Good Detectives I liked how you wrote the character of Sid because she was very adventurous .I mostly cant find books at school that the main character is a girl so I very much appreciated that .
from Megan .
Have a nice day.
Thank you for your lovely message about Dead Good Detectives. I’m so pleased you like Sid – me too! In fact, I’d say that one of the main reasons I started writing books was because I wanted to create really adventurous girl characters. I love how brave Sid is, even though she is quite shy. xx
May I ask when and where you were born? [sorry weird question]. My name is Dash and i’m working on a project for my favourite author. I can’t seem to find much information about this. Your books are Fantastic and I really enjoy reading them! I have published a book and a poem and have recently met Ross Welford, and he told me to keep writing. Do you think I should? Anyways, I love your books and you should write more!
kind regards, Kincaid Dash Hasebe
Hello, I was born in Germany (because my dad was teaching there). Thank you for writing your project about me! Here are a few obsucre facts for it: I’ve held a baby penguin, given an elephant a scrub down in a river and (accidentally) swum with a very small freshwater crocodile. I’m so pleased that you like my books, and I totally agree with Ross Welford that you should keep writing. I’d add that you should keep playing, reading and day dreaming too. It was definitely the hours I spent playing imaginative games that helped me to become a writer. Good luck with your project and your future writing career, Kincaid! xx Jenny
Dear Ms. McLachlan
We are a grade 2/3 class from Vancouver, BC, Canada.
My class wanted to say that the Land of Roar books are great! We can’t wait to finish the third one.
You have an amazing imagination, and everyone wanted to know what was in the box.
Can you please make a fourth one?
Also, my class wanted you to know that you are awesome, amazing, and the coolest cat around!
Thanks so much
Mr. Thiessen’s 2/3 class.
Hi Kelly, I’m sorry this reply is so late coming. A massive thank you from me to your grade 2/3 class. How magical to find out that you love the Land of Roar books! And you might like to let them know that I definitely have had thoughts about a 4th book… Please tell your class that they are pretty cool too, in fact, they are IMAGINARY xx Jen PS would they like a video message from me?
i’m sorry to be emailing again, but I cannot find anything abut your birthday, age, where you currently live, family, where you went to university, If you’ve won any prizes, [which i’m sure you have]. I love you books, and I just turned 11 Feb 2nd. I spend hours up in my room reading you books and I can’t wait for you to publish another one. Thanks for the extra facts!
Kind Regards, Dash Hasebe [Kincaid is my first name but dash is more preferred] : )
Hi Dash, I think I must like being a bit mysterious! But I can tell you that I have been to university at Leicester, Sussex and Brighton (I like studying!) and that I am 46 which I think is a great age to be. x Jen
hello jenny I like your books so much and especially back to Roar I’m going to do my book review about that too bye bye greetings Roosmarijn
Hello – what a lovely message to receive – thank you! I am so happy that you enjoy Roar. x Jenny
My year 3 class read land of roar as our class book last term and I loved it so much that mum ordered the series! My favourite character is Win ! I love his magic – it’s imaginary! ! We’ve just finished reading return to roar and I can’t wait to start reading the battle for roar! Mum says she’s never seen me so keen to read! (And she loves reading them too!!) please can you write a 4th book as I don’t want roar to finish after 3!!!!
Jacob M (Sheffield)
Hi Jacob- what a great message to receive! I’m so happy you like Roar. I ❤️ Win too. He might be my favourite, but don’t tell the other characters! I hope you love Battle for Roar as much as I enjoyed writing it. Look out for the scene towards the end involving a flight over Roar and Win saying ‘boots and cats’ – I think it was my favourite to write. And please say thank you to your mum for buying the books. I’m doing an event at Sheffield Library at some point. I don’t know the date yet, but maybe you could come along? X Jenny
To Jenny Mclachlan
Your books are amazing!They feel so real they are just astonishing and the exquisite language is phenomenal!! I’ve read two of your books stargazing for beginners and the land of ROAR (which is my class topic).
Hi Maggie – what a very lovely message to read, and, guess what? My dog is called Maggie because it’s one of my favourite names ever ❤️🐕🙌 I hope you keep reading my books and thank you very much for taking the time to get in touch xx Jenny
Hi I’m Chloe! I’m a big fan of your series! I have been writing about you for a school project! Can you tell me more things like your favourite colour, what inspired you to write and more! It would be very helpful if you reply! Thank You 😊!
Hi Chloe, thank you for getting in touch! My favourite colour is yellow – I’ve noticed that if you wear yellow people smile at you. I was inspired to start writing by lots of things: my love of books, the children I taught, my memories of being at school, my children. Here are a couple more Jen facts: I used to have a hamster called Mrs Miggins who lost all her hair. It didn’t seem to bother her though! I used to be very shy at school – I hated anyone looking at me – and I sometimes spent the entire day reading, hours and hours at a time. I hope your project goes well! x Jen
I just wanted to come on here and tell you how grateful I am to have your writing. I am a pretty avid reader (I read 2 – 3 books a week) and I promise that there is NO BETTER BOOK than Stargazing for Beginners. It is my absolute favourite book in the whole world. Im in school right now, and high school is definitely not the easiest, but when I feel horrible , or have a bad day, my go to solution is to curl up in bed and re read Stargazing for the 1 billionth time. I first read the book in my year8, and I must say it truly changed my life.
The story is just so warming, the characters and there relationships, I AM IN LOVE WITH.
Anyway, I know it is probably not possible, but it would make me ecstatic if you were to write a sequel to the book (I know there is Annie’s book but that doesn’t count). I would be over the moon, IT WOULD COMPLETE A PART OF MY SOUL.
This is probably unlikely and that is totally fine, but I have to admit, it is my lifes dream to meet you. Someday I will, I have a whole life ahead of me.
anyway I just anted to say that I am a massive fan and that Stargazing for Beginners is my favourite book, forever.
Hi Melisa, well this has made my day (if not my year!) What a lovely message to receive and thank you for taking the time to get in touch. Stargazing for Beginners also has a special place in my heart too. Fun fact, my daughter, who is 15, recently took part in a science competition and the prize was… you guessed it… a trip to NASA!!! Sadly she didn’t win, but she got close, and the whole experience reminded me of the sheer joy I experienced writing Stargazing. I lived every moment of that book with Meg. I will remember what you have said about writing a sequel, and I hope we get to meet up too, then we can have a massive chat about Stargazing and analyse every moment. If you are based in the UK then keep your eyes open for events that I’m doing. I know that I’m going to Waterstones in Crawley soon. Any good?? xx