He attended St. John's private school until the age of 15 when he left school. His book Redwall was written for the children of the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, whom he refers to as his "special friends". He first met them when he delivered milk there as a truck driver. He began to spend time with the children and eventually began to write stories for them. This accounts for the very descriptive style of the novel and the ones to follow.
His work gained acclaim when Alan Durband, a friend (who also taught Paul McCartney and George Harrison), showed it to his (Durband's) own publisher without telling Jacques. Durband told his publishers: "This is the finest children's tale I've ever read and you'd be foolish not to publish it." Soon after, Jacques was summoned to London to meet with the publishers, who gave him a contract to write the next five books in the series. Jacques has said that the characters in his stories are based on people he has encountered. He based Gonff, the self-proclaimed "Prince of Mousethieves," on himself when he was a young boy hanging around the docks of Liverpool. Mariel is based on his granddaughter. Constance the Badgermum is based on his grandmother. Other characters are a combination of many of the people he has met in his travels. His novels have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide and have been published in twenty-eight languages.