They all reckon I’m a worm. A grub. A monster. ‘You’re a wicked girl,’ hissed Mr Kinloch from the Wool Growers’ Association.
This book has got more supernatural stuff in it than any of my other books, with the exception of Deadly. The reason for that can be summed up in two words – Paul Jennings.
When Penguin Books suggested that Paul and I write a book together, at first I thought it was a pretty nutty idea. Authors generally end up in their job because they like independence and doing things their own way.
But the invitation kept nagging at me because in fact it was a very good idea – an author well known for funny and moving family stories in the probable world (me) working with an author well known for funny and unexpected family stories in the possible world (Paul). Chances were that together we could write something quite different to anything we could write on our own.
So we gave it a go. The independence and doing things our own way thing kept cropping up and we took a while to get used to sharing a process that we’d both been doing on our own for a long time.
We decided that sitting side by side and writing wouldn’t work because neither of us would be able to type properly if we had our hands round the other’s neck. So we spent a couple of weeks together working out a rough story, then went to our own offices, mine in Melbourne, Paul’s in Warrnambool, and started taking it in turns to write chapters and email them to each other. I wrote the girl character and Paul wrote the boy character and that worked just fine.
Though really the whole process shouldn’t have worked at all, given the independence and doing things our own way thing. And the fact that the story was published in six parts in six short volumes, and the first ones came out before we’d even written the last couple, and we all know how snappy people can get under pressure. By people, I mean me. But it did work, partly because of our wonderful editor, Julie Watts, one of the most experienced and patient editors on the planet, and partly because of … well, I’m not really sure. I think something supernatural must have been going on.
Wicked! is available in bookshops and libraries in Australia and New Zealand, and online:
Australia Part 1
Australia Part 2
Australia Part 3
Australia Part 4
Australia Part 5
Australia Part 6