Jojo, 47, is the author of 11 novels, including Me Before You, which has sold eight million copies and was turned into a film. She lives in Essex with her husband Charles and their three children
I grew up as an only child in the 1970s with no television set in our
home, which meant I spent my time reading. By the time I was 12, I’d read everything – from The Bible to The Joy of Sex, and even Catch-22. Even so, I never set out to become a writer. To me, writers were slightly hippy. Only later in life, when I became a journalist at The Independent, did I start to believe I had a right to appear in print.
One day my editor asked if I thought we should commission a comedy column, about a young woman
in London. I said yes. The writer turned out to be Helen Fielding – and the result of that column was Bridget Jones’s
Diary. I’d have loved to have written it myself but she did a far better job than I ever could.
It took almost nine years to publish my first novel,
Sheltering Rain, a love story set in the 1950s and 1980s. I was heavily pregnant and at work when I got the call. I burst into tears – it was the first and only time I cried in the office.
Six publishers bid for the
rights to Sheltering Rain. At first I wanted enough money to replace our bathroom but as the auction continued I realised I could give up journalism. However, I didn’t achieve any level of recognition until two years ago, when my later novel
Me Before You [a romantic drama about a young woman who becomes a carer for a quadriplegic young man] was turned into a film.
When the film company asked me to write the
screenplay, I felt so protective of the characters, I said ‘yes’. It ended up being the most fun I’ve had in my professional life. The first scene I saw being filmed knocked me sideways. I was on set with hundreds of extras, rain machines and food trucks when someone shouted ‘action’ and there was Sam [Claflin] as my main character, Will Traynor. I thought, ‘ There he is – not in my head any more, he belongs to these people.’
I can’t stand reading short
stories with no twist. My new book, Paris for One, is a collection of short stories. They’re light and soppy but with a bit of grit… and all of them have a twist.
Paris for One and
Other Stories by Jojo Moyes is out now (Michael Joseph, £12.99)