In the second of our Branching Out series, which explores ways in which SCBWI members have diversified into multiple areas of creativity, Production Editor Tracy Curran, talks to children's author Jenny Moore who also writes for adults.

Hi Jenny, you write for both children and adults. Which came first for you?

I kicked off my writing career with short stories – most of my published pieces were for adults but there were a few YA and children’s stories in the mix too. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of trying different forms and genres so my output is a slightly eclectic mix of everything! When I moved onto writing full-length books I started with children’s books and branched out into adults’ books later.

Jenny Moore writes for both adults and children


Why did you decide to branch out?

One of my children’s books was picked up by an agent and at our first (and only!) meeting she asked if I’d ever thought of writing novels for adults too, which was all the impetus I needed to do just that. I started writing the first of my psychological thrillers, The Woman Before, while my children’s book was out on submission. 

It was nice to be doing something completely different while I waited to hear back from publishers and by the time my agent and I parted company just under a year later, I had a completed manuscript to add to my growing collection of children’s books in search of a good home. Luckily I found the perfect home for my children’s writing with Maverick Books (and also later New Frontier). The offer of a two-book contract with HQ Digital, Harper Collins, for The Woman Before was a welcome catalyst for getting started on my second psychological thriller for adults.


What are the differences, if any, in writing for these different audiences? Does one skill help the other?

While there are obvious differences in terms of length and appropriate language, I don’t find the day-to-day writing process differs much between the two. Plot, pacing, characterisation and the rhythm of each sentence are just as important in each.

I like to think some of the humour from my children’s book sneaks its way into my adult books even though they’re not funny books per se, while the skills required to hold younger audiences’ interest from one chapter to the next come in very handy when you’re trying to add page-turning tension to a psychological thriller!


Jenny writes under slightly different names

What have been the highlights and the challenges of diversifying?

Diversifying has helped me keep up a steady flow of writing work with numerous projects on the go at once. I’ve also got to meet and interact with very different groups of readers and writers which has been good too.

People assume it must be difficult swapping between the different ages and genres but I’ve honestly never found that to be an issue. When I was studying music I was warned that playing the clarinet, oboe and flute together would be problematic in terms of the different embouchures required, but I was able to switch from one to the other quite happily up to grade 8 and beyond. Sometimes you don’t know until you try!

Fitting it all in and juggling different deadlines is more of a challenge – trying to write The Wilderness Retreat from scratch alongside the second Emba Oak book and extensive rewrites of Odelia and the Varmint in the space of six months was a little too intense, but the manuscripts were all delivered on time and I lived to tell the tale!

One of the other big challenges is knowing how best to market yourself. I write as Jenny Moore for children and Jennifer Moore for adults and have two different websites, (it felt important to have a separate one designed just for children), but I’ve drawn the line at running dual social media accounts. I’ve settled for labelling myself 'a writer of two halves, from funny children's books to psychological thrillers', but one of my current projects is a non-funny YA which may require a further rethink when it gets to publication time!


What advice would you have for anyone interested in writing for adults or in trying new things in general?

Go for it! That would be my main advice. You’ll open up so many new avenues, from different submission opportunities to potential new writing groups, and flexing your writing muscles in a different way will only make you stronger. Think of it as literary cross-training!

The path to writing success can be long and tough and trying something new might be just what you need if you’re feeling jaded. It’s the perfect antidote to the dreaded waiting game too!


What is your ultimate goal in terms of branching out? Do you have a big picture of where you would like this journey to take you?

I’d like to keep writing for both children and adults, building up my readership in each camp. The adult side of things has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few months, but I have a new project I’m excited to get stuck into when time allows. It’s a different genre again…


Thanks so much for your time!

My pleasure. Thank you for having me!


*Header image: in-house collaboration between Ell Rose and Tita Berredo


Tracy Curran is Production Editor for Words & Pictures and enjoys writing picture books, young fiction and lower middle grade novels. Known as Little Cornish Writer, you can find her on InstagramTwitter and Facebook

She also enjoys reviewing children's books on her blog The Breadcrumb Forest.


Ell Rose is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures. Contact them at


Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. Contact her at:

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