Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Hairy George

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.
 Hairy George (Post 31)

 One of my writing habits is networlding, the process by which elements from one book, or series of books, appear in otherwise unrelated stories. I love networlding and indulge in it whenever I can. I've waited for decades for someone to write to me (or even to ask me in a workshop) how this book and that book are related, but as far as I'm aware no one outside my family has ever noticed the links. 

Regular readers of this blog may remember Post 16, Another Good Friend, in which a teenager named Dominic plays a part in a four-hander about high school kids writing a musical play for their school production. Dominic appears in the sequel, All the Sea Between and also in an otherwise unrelated book called The Magician's Box. Amber, another of the teens, plays roles in Down River, Time Off and Winter Spring Garden. They all crop up under other names in Peri. The musical play the kids write has elements in common with Post 8, Anna's Own and the author who helps with the play had a major role in a book named Out of Time aka Operation EVATrans which was never published. That's just one version of networlding; linking books through characters in such a way that most of the titles are not sequels or even in the same series. Only the most vigilant reader (or completist) would spot all the connecting points. 

Hairy George (2001) was one of those cases, and, as in the game Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, this bonsai novel links with Dominic and Amber's reality as well as with Post 13's Three Missing Days and even with another set of books called Blue Gold and Spiral Stairs. Until I wrote this post I had no idea just how tangled the threads were in my networlding.

Hairy George is the story of a sensible boy named Max Drake. Max enjoys indoor habits such as reading and who is mildly addicted to apples. His mother, a free spirit, decides he needs adventure in his life, so she removes him from his comfort zone to take part in a camel trek along with Aunt Jessica. (The inspiration for that came ultimately from my one and only ride on a camel, partaken of at Ulverstone Show.)  Mum and Aunt Jessica get elegant camels named Lasseter (in a nod to Lassiter's Reef) and Stormchild, while our hero Max, a late booking to the camel trek, is mounted on a creature named Hairy George.

George encounters wild camels and makes a run for it. Only quick thinking and a bag of apples gets George and our hero back to civilisation.

The idea of luring George with apples probably originated in stories I was told as a child about my grandmother who used buckets of apples to move reluctant pigs.

So, how does this story networld in with the others I mentioned? Well, the camel trek is run by a company called Case Travel, and the personnel are Juliana Case and her daughter-in-law Lori. They come from the town of Bandinangi. 

Three Missing Days is one of the Bandinangi Books series. 

The Magician's Box is not directly part of that series, but an off-stage character is described as having come from --you guessed it--Bandinangi. 

Dominic from Another Good Friend played a part in The Magician's Box and because he later goes to school with Amber from the Down River series the whole net hooks into place. 

Case Travel, incidentally, features in a story called Serendipity and the narrator of that story plays a part in another other of the Bandinangi Books; One Weird Week. So round we go again.

What's the deal with Bandinangi and why does it keep popping up in different books? Well, after it formed the setting for Three Missing Days with its upside-down page (did I mention that in the relevant blog post? If not, I'll go back and put it in...) it was established in my mind as a place where the slightly-odd might easily happen. I never established why. Maybe it was built over a rift (no... that's Torchwood) , or perhaps there was a bit of odd magic lying about in soil (no... that's Xanth). Maybe it was settled by a lot of slightly-related and magically-talented people. Who knows? However it happened, it remains a useful in-joke for me; if anything weird happens in one of my books, I can always hint that one or more of the characters has connections with Bandinangi. 

Bandinangi is pronounced Band-in-ang-ee, with a hard "G" as in "anger". Yes. Really. And yes, I insist upon that. Why? Because an editor once informed me I was pronouncing one of my character names incorrectly. Considering I made up the name I thought I should know. 

This has been your introduction to the concept of networlding which appears again in a couple of my how-to books which no doubt will form other posts in the coming months.

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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