I’m Jeannie Waudby and I write books for teenagers. ONE OF US is my first novel, published by Chicken House in February 2015.

I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was 14 on a small and beautiful island, which was a treatment centre for people with leprosy.  It was a magical place to live, with hidden beaches and warm sea and lots of interesting animals and plants – red and black spiders as big as a hand, pineapples and custard apples in the garden. Because it was such a small community, there was no need to lock or even close doors on summer nights.

I always loved writing stories, so notebooks made great presents for me. These are ones I got for my ninth and eleventh birthdays.

It was hard to leave Hong Kong, even though it was for a good reason – people with leprosy were no longer separated by being sent to an island but instead just got treated in hospital like anyone else, so my dad’s job there was over.

On the day we arrived in London, I couldn’t believe how narrow the roads were and how strange it was to see so many houses made of bricks. My parents called the UK ‘home’, but to me it was a huge and exotic place with exciting things like milk bottles on the doorstep, apples on trees, robins and snowdrops.

In Hong Kong we went to international schools – at my high school there were 52 languages spoken by students as well as English. When we moved to London, although it was very different from Hong Kong, it was also very diverse and I think that is the thing that made me feel at home in London.

I’m half English and half Scottish so we also spent a lot of time in the highlands, and I still go there very often to see family. I live in London now and taught ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) in colleges for many years. For me the best thing about this work was the interesting people I met.

I like trying to learn languages so I speak some German and Chinese. I learnt a bit of Welsh when I was an Art student in Aberystwyth, a gorgeous seaside town with a long prom. When I finished my degree I didn’t want to leave so I worked for a year in a very old-fashioned printing works as a typesetter. We still used lead type – each letter a little piece of metal. It was a different way of writing; you could hold the words in your hand. Sometimes I also wrote huge fluorescent signs for funfairs. I met my husband in Aberystwyth.

I always wanted to go to China, because as a child we could see Chinese islands from our house, but then it was impossible to visit. So I took a course to teach English and spent a year teaching in a university in China. I enjoyed teaching English so much that I carried on doing it when I came back.

The language I’m currently learning is BSL (British Sign Language). It’s very interesting for me to be the student again.

I like walking my dog and running my story ideas past him in the park.