We asked Tania Ingram, author of the Jinny and Cooper series, to tell us more about how her books were written and what her journey to publication was like, and she kindly wrote us a guest blog post.
Read on to find out more about Tania and her series.
I wrote the first book in the Jinny and Cooper series after a request from my then seven year old daughter. She was crazy about guinea pigs and had been looking for a story about a magical guinea pig that could talk and fly. My Teacher’s Big Bad Secret
came together quite quickly. I wrote a chapter a day and we’d take turns reading the chapters together before bedtime. I made sure to include hooks at the end of each chapter to maintain the suspense. It worked! My daughter would often cry ‘You can’t stop there!’ and she became really invested in the characters.
I sent the first book off to my agent and was thrilled when I received an offer from Penguin Books. They asked to see a synopsis for a potential second Jinny and Cooper book. Since I don’t tend to plan storylines before writing, I found this quite tricky to do. So instead of sending a synopsis, I wrote the entire second book, Revenge of the Stone Witch
, and sent them that instead. Luckily the editors liked book two as well and they soon asked if I’d be interesting in writing book three and four.
When I’m writing a book I have a rough idea of the storyline but I don’t plan my chapters before I begin. I find this gives me the freedom to take the story in any crazy direction I’d like. I did set some guidelines for the books though. I wanted the stories to be fun and adventurous, and I wanted them to be the kind of books children could read on their own.
I grew up reading a lot of Enid Blyton’s books and when I was about seven years old I read the Magic Faraway Tree in one day. I remember feeling incredibly proud that I had read the book by myself. So when writing the Jinny and Cooper series I was mindful of using simple language and dialogue. It was important to me that children be able to read the books without stumbling over lengthy sentences or wordy language. This way they could simply enjoy the adventures of Jinny, Cooper and Tyrone.
I also wanted Jinny to experience some kind of personal growth with each book. I think the best books are those where the protagonist learns something about themselves, whether it’s in regards to conquering fears, dealing with jealous feelings or discovering empathy. So I made sure there was an underlying theme to each story, which would be highlighted through the hilarious chaos Cooper creates.
I had enormous fun writing these books, especially Cooper’s over-the-top character. Some of his antics would even surprise me! I think Cooper’s impulsive behaviour and quirky personality appeals to children because he can get away with things that most kids would love to do, like eat a whole chocolate cake in one sitting! I based Cooper’s food-obsessed personality on a black Labrador I once owned. He was the sweetest dog but extremely stubborn and he’d do anything for food.
I’m really thrilled that the first two books in the Jinny and Cooper series are finally out in the world and I hope children enjoy reading their adventures as much as I enjoyed writing them.
You can find Jinny & Cooper: My Teacher's Big Bad Secret
and Jinny & Cooper: Revenge of the Stone Witch
in stores and online now. Jinny & Cooper's third and fourth adventures will be published by Penguin Books Australia in September this year.