Timothy Whuffenpuffen-Whippersnapper (Post 72)
Timothy Whuffenpuffen-Whippersnapper (1995), is a book where I let my taste for creating bizarre names riot through the pages. Every year, Marcus Whippersnappe receives a peculiar gift from his great uncle, Hinkley. This year, Uncle Hinkley has outdone himself by sending Marcus a squirming parcel containing a magical dragon that has served the Whippersnapper family for generations. Timothy Whuffenpuffen-Whippersnapper has the marvellous attribute of changing size, so, from being able to fit into a parcel in the post, he can easily expand to full size.
Along with a cast of characters named Amanda Barton-Boote, Petronella Patella, Zack Meaney, Fergus McDaftie, Antony Andrew Winterbottom and more, Marcus and Timothy embark on an adventure to find out what has happened to Uncle Hinkley.
Initially, I set this story in Nowhere Else, but the publisher assumed it was set in the UK. I pointed out that Nowhere Else is in Tasmania, but as usual I had to accept the inevitable. The expanding dragon is based on an idea I had when I was young. I used to love riding, but busy traffic made the roads unpleasant and tightly-wired gates made the far difficult to traverse. (I could undo the gates but couldn't do them up again so I had to carry a roll of twine in my pocket.) It occurred to me that it would be handy if my pony could be shrunk down to pocket size so I could negotiate gates, walls and traffic and then ride again when conditions were favourable. I used this idea again later in A Pocket Unicorn (2000). In latter years I've been amused by the expandable towels one can buy.
I had a lovely time writing about Timothy. Why Timothy? It's a fine old name, but to me it sounds polite and unassertive. Not sure why; maybe because a childhood friend used to refer to her brother Tim as "Mothy". Or maybe it was the association with the feathery timothy grass. Timothy Whuffenpuffen is a supremely courteous dragon, who refers to family and friends as Miss or Master like the old retainer he is.
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.