Friday, 17 February 2017

Five Easy Lessons

Welcome to the shadowy and not-so-shadowy space behind Sally's books. If you're not familiar with this blog, scroll down to see what it's all about.

Five Easy Lessons (Post 48)
Five Easy Lessons (1989) is chronologically the second of the Bandinangi books series, following Three Missing Days aka Ex-Spelled, which was Post 13.
 It has had three covers, but the cover shots I have are either poor (see below) or missing, so I've put the cover of Ex-Spelled up because it is the same colour and same general design. The third cover is the UK edition.

Bandinangi is the town where just about anything can happen, and this book introduces the Archer/Case family, who appear in most of the Bandinangi books and their cousins. The family consists of Justin Archer, his sister Rachel and brother Jeremy, their parents C. George and Mellie, and his grandparents Juliana and John Case (Granny and Grandpa) and John and Blossom Archer (Nana and Pop). Also mostly resident are Uncle Harrington Case and his fiancee Lori. The entire family, even Grandpa John, who specialises in advanced dodderiness,  has a dramatic and entrepreneurial streak, but this book focuses on Justin and his mother Mellie, both of whom secretly take correspondence courses of five easy lessons which promise to teach them how to deal with their impossible family. Told in the first person in alternate chapters by Justin and Mellie, the story covers their efforts, which run at cross-purposes.

 Part of the inspiration for this book came from my son, who specialised in passive resistance, lateral thinking and literal interpretation. He was about the same age as Justin (although he's not Justin) and I was the same age as Mellie when I wrote the book. Justin does look like my son, although the description could have covered a wide range of freckled, brown-haired, grey-eyed both.

Mellie's cat Mocha and Granny's dog Peanut Brain, also come into the story. The main characters from Ex-Spelled aka Three Missing Days, Stephen and Matthew, live nearby.

Writing Five Easy Lessons was a lot of fun, so I eventually wrote dive more books in the series. Only three of the five were published, and another one never got beyond the title and idea. Had the series been completed, the titles would have been, in order;
1. Three Missing Days
2. Five Easy Lessons
3. Three Loony Months
4. One Weird Week
5. Kayak
6. Two of a Kind
7. Six Steps Left (never written)
8. Five for Bandinangi (short stories)

About the Blog

Sally is 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.

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