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.
A Basket of Onions (Post 28)
A Basket of Onions (2000) is one of a handful of books I wrote under the pseudonym Nicholas Flynn. As with Edward E.B. Cracker (see Post 14 - Selka) I had a good idea of what Nick was like. He was quite a lot younger than me; maybe in his late twenties, and he liked odd or unusual settings. He had dark hair, cut short, and blue eyes. His surname was a nod to my maiden name and our joint Irish ancestry. His first name was to echo the vowel sound in his surname. My original name had an"A" echo. Nick's had a "I/Y" echo.
The story is set in Holland and the narrator, Oom Jan, recalls his boyhood during Tulipmania, a period when Dutch tulip bulbs brought enormous prices and were so prized they attracted crime and hardship. Jan and his sister Sibella had an adventure which led to them transporting valuable bulbs disguised in a basket of onions. This is the story Jan tells his great-niece Lina.
I enjoyed writing A Basket of Onions on several levels. I'm fond of tulips and in fact the very first story I ever remember writing was about a tulip. I grow them, and I was lucky enough to see them massed at the tulip farm some years ago. I'd read something about Tulipmania, possibly in one of those Readers Digest Strange Stories collections. I also have a slight family connection with Holland, as Mum's cousin married a Dutchman, making me quite familiar with the Dutch accent. The adventure genre is based on books by Geoffrey Trease; an author who specialised in historical adventure stories with young teenaged protagonists. I don't think he ever wrote one set in this time and place, but I have always thought it a good way to present a historical period to younger readers.
Like Selka, A Basket of Onions is a bonsai novel; a novel in miniature. It's long out of print, but there are probably some copies kicking about in libraries.
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.