Name: Jacqueline Buksh
Writing: Non-fiction book writer
Kim: What types of books have you written?
Jacqueline: I’ve lived in both China and the UK and have had books published in both countries.
In China I had a series of 12 bilingual educational books published. I wrote them in English and worked with the head teacher of a school who translated them into Chinese. I also had a book of bilingual nursery rhymes published.
Since coming back to the UK, I’ve had 5 books published:
‘14 years in China’, a travel book; ‘Rainbow revolution’ an educational book, useful for those who are going to teach in China; ‘Longevity’, a book on Chinese herbal medicine; ‘Children of China’ an educational story book; and ‘Chinese arts and crafts’.
Kim: Who publishes your books?
Jacqueline: In China they were published by Beijing Publishing and Beijing University.
In the UK my books are published by Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers.
Kim: How did you make the decision to be a writer?
Jacqueline: I’ve always written, particularly throughout my degree in teaching. I write because I enjoy it.
In China I was asked to write books, initially the nursery rhymes for school pupils, and then the series of educational books. They also wanted me to write a children’s song book … and illustrate it!
When I came back to the UK I missed China so much that I took the diary I’d written when I was there and wrote it up as a book.
One day I went into Waterstones and saw a book about renting in Spain in the winter and thought “I can have a go at that” so I wrote to a publisher with my idea for ‘14 years in China’ and they were interested.
On the back of this I became a member of the Society of Authors and after a while received a phone call from Oxford University who had seen the book and asked me to write a herbal book for long distance students, which is how ‘Longevity’ came about. And things carried on from there.
Kim: What writing skills are important?
Jacqueline: You must have the knowledge of your subject, and if possible qualifications in the subject. If, for example, you are writing an educational or medical book, publishers want to know that you are qualified.
Accuracy is also important. I found that for my travel book I had to make sure that details of maps, distances and so on were accurate.
Kim: What are the benefits?
Jacqueline: Knowing that you are passing on knowledge, and that people enjoy your books.
It’s also nice to be paid – even if it’s not a fortune! I receive royalties twice a year.
In addition, I’m asked to do book signings and give talks. Last year I gave about 30 talks.
Kim: What are the challenges?
Jacqueline: For me it’s finishing off, getting things in the right order and not leaving anything out. I tend to finish too quickly and realise later that I’ve left things out.
It’s also important to get everything right, especially with educational books.
Kim: What advice would you give to others?
Jacqueline: Have a real passion for your subject. Know your subject well. Research what you don’t know.