SHE is the international bestselling author who penned the global phenomenon, Me Before You.

Jojo Moyes' books have sold millions worldwide and been translated into countless languages.

And she chose Bolton Library as one of just a handful of venues in the UK to launch her new book ­—which she describes as a ‘love letter to libraries’ ­— reflecting the growing role that Bolton libraries play in the community, while nationally such resources are being axed. Saiqa Chaudhari catches up with the writer.

The Bolton News:

Fans are more likely to see Jojo Moyes at literary festivals and leading high street bookshops ­— and not a local library.

But one of the most popular writers of today chose Bolton Library to introduce her new novel The Giver of Stars ­— and officially launch “We Love Bolton Libraries”, celebrating National Libraries Week.

The Central Library is the only library on her UK book tour, with Jojo’s visit adding to a growing list of acclaimed authors to have given talks in the beautiful landmark building.

The Bolton News:

“This is really appropriate because this book is a love letter to libraries,” said Jojo, who is currently on a national tour speaking about her novel The Giver of Stars.

The Bolton News:

Her books have sold over 38 million copies worldwide and been translated into 40 languages. So it was hardly surprising 150 free tickets to see Jojo in conversation sold out in record time.

Jojo said: “What better place to launch a love letter to libraries than in a library, and such a beloved one as this as well.”

The Giver of Stars is based on the Pack Horse Library Project, in which horseback librarians in the Appalachian Mountains delivered books to families, and is already already a bestseller.

The Bolton News:

It was through her love of reading of anything and everything, which she developed in her local library and at home as child, Jojo happened on pictures of the 1930s librarians on the internet.

“I came across an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, which is a

magazine I had never looked at before and it had amazing pictures of these horse back librarians, young women with a bag of books, set against a really rugged landscape, a very unfriendly mountainous landscape.

“I just thought these pictures were extraordinary, I had this thing that sometimes you get as a writer you think this is mine, I have to write this story, I was really panicked that somebody would write it before me.”

The Bolton News:

So she booked a flight to Kentucky to find out more about the fascinating women who in the 1930s would ride 140 miles a week to ensure people were “feeding their minds”. The story is based around fictitious characters, one of which she also counts among her favourite Margery ­— who she says she would like to have been like, and “not care less what people thought of me”.

And as with many of Jojo’s books, readers should be prepared for some real tear-jerking moments.

“If something can make you laugh or cry, they have got me for life,” said Jojo,”The best part of my job is hearing when people cry, I don’t mean that in a sadistic way, but I cry when I write a scene, because if I don’t cry, I have no hope of making you cry ­— a lot of my job is making myself cry, which is quite odd.

“When I wrote the last letter in Me Before You, I sobbed so hard and I cried at a scene in this book."

The Bolton News:

Universal Pictures have obtained the rights to the novel.

“I love being involved with film, it’s been completely unexpected element of my life ­— there is nothing better than watching an actor being the person you have invented in your head.”

Jojo told of her love of libraries.

She said: “I personally believe libraries are so important in terms of being a free resource that both informs and educates and provides a safe space for all kinds of people. And it is one of the few of that kind of resources we have left."

She praised Bolton Central Library for the activities it puts on for all ages.

“That’s what keeps a library relevant in an age of cuts where it is harder and harder for libraries to et people through the doors, especially when you find there is a queue of 50 people ahead of you for every new book because the resources are so low.

“Having authors come and give talks and other related activities is just great, and I know a lot libraries now do mother and toddlers groups to get kids interested.”

Jojo said cuts to libraries were “massively short sighted”.

“It is one of those hidden costs, we have terrible rates of literacy in this country which is shameful given that we are a very wealthy country. But if you take away people’s ability to get on the first rung of the ladder by reading and enjoying books and getting knowledge from you stop somebody from moving onwards,” said Jojo “And libraries are such an economical and easy way of helping people to progress and it’s an easy cut because it is less emotive than hospitals, it is an easy cut but it the wrong cut to make.”

She urged people to use their local library, like she used to, and which played a large part in her career as a writer.

Jojo said: “Use them and accept the fact because of the cuts you might not be able to get the book that you want straight away, but go in there and find other things you might want to read, it might not be the latest book just be part of the footfall. "Libraries are not just about books now either, you might find all sort of other things that might occupy you and you may find that you are little bit more linked into your community again, that’s another really important thing in an age of loneliness and isolation and it’s just another good thing.”

And the novelist top tip to budding writers is to read.

She said: “If I speak to someone who says they want to be a writer and they tell me don’t read I just immediately think well how do you know what is good and what is not good. I don’t care what you read but just keep reading because the more you read the more you will absorb your own lessons in what works and what doesn’t work. And don’t tell me you have not got time to read if you want to write it is a key part of it.”