Welcome to the shadowy and not-so-shadowy space behind Sally's books. That's Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)
The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. This preamble will be pasted to the top of each post, so feel free to skip it in future.
The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist.
Welcome to the Weirdie Club (1989) had its roots in a collection of short stories I wrote about the MacCrystal family; Mum, Dad and Alice. They were a hippie family who always had their own ways of doing things. These stories were never published, but I liked the family so I included them in a book.
The point of view character was Julia, Alice's cousin, who was a practical, and somewhat proper and conventional child. Julia is appalled when she has to stay with Alice's family for a while, especially when she realises Alice is keeping a ghost called Martin in a binocular case.
Alice is blonde, fey, trusting and friendly and has almost no reservations or inhibitions. She doesn't quite "get" why anyone should object to campervanning with a goat or keeping a ghost in a binocular case. Julia and Alice don't exactly become best friends, but they learn respect and tolerance for one another when they have to team up to sort out Martin's problems.
I initially named the book "The MacCrystals and Martin" but the editor retitled it as Welcome to the Weirdie Club. Title changing happens quite frequently in the book world.
As for Alice; her personality was all her own, but in appearance she was very like my daughter. The binocular case was modelled after one I had as a child, and the general eccentricity of the family reflects one of my odd relatives. As for the surname "MacCrystal"... I heard it one day--I think it was on a news item--liked it, and used it. Writers do that kind of thing a lot.