When you’ve got a superstar writing duo, just how does it work? We thought we’d get Angelica Banks to explain.
Angelica Banks’s week starts on a Tuesday. Tuesday McGillycuddy, that is: heroine of Banks’s children’s trilogy: Finding Serendipity, A Week Without Tuesday, and the forthcoming Blueberry Pankcakes Forever.
It’s on Tuesdays that the two halves of Angelica Banks – friends and fellow Tasmanian writers Heather Rose and Danielle Wood – most often get together to share new chapters of their works-in-progress, either at Heather’s house by the beach south of Hobart, at Danielle’s house by the river north of Hobart, or on the couches of a certain café in central Hobart.
Although Danielle and Heather have been friends for years, Danielle will have no idea how Heather will want her tea. Sometimes she’ll have it black, sometimes white. Sometimes with condensed milk and other times with maple syrup. It might be Irish breakfast or Rooibos, or something else entirely. Heather will feed Danielle a large plate of delicious food and remind Danielle that three meals of toast and Vegemite daily does not constitute a balanced diet.
They read their new chapters aloud to each other. They laugh, they cry if necessary, and then they plan what’s coming next…
A good day for Heather, at her beachside home, begins with a swim in the bracing waters of the Derwent. She hangs her wetsuit, eats breakfast, waves goodbye to her musician husband and the two teenage children she still has living at home (her eldest has flown the nest). There’s a fat cat on the couch, and the Tasmanian morning is working watercolour magic with cloud and sea and sky.
Heather sits down at her computer and begins. She’ll spend part of the day at least with Tuesday McGillycuddy, her famous writer mother Serendipity Smith, and her faithful winged dog, Baxterr. But then she’ll switch gears and work on putting the finishing touches to her novel for adults, The Atrium, inspired by the life and work of performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Upriver, Danielle’s been up early, scribbling away inside her bespoke gypsy caravan. The caravan is equipped with a desk (for writing), a pinboard (for inspiration), a kettle (for cups of tea) a dog bed (for faithful hounds to snooze upon) and a human bed (for naps).
Perhaps she’s been working on the newest chapter of Blueberry Pancakes Forever, or perhaps she’s been in the Tasmanian bush with the Baba Yaga-esque heroine of her forthcoming novel for adults, The House on Legs.
But soon the sun’s up and writing time’s over. After scrambling her children – an older girl and younger boy-girl twins – into the car with all their various accoutrements, Danielle sets off for the University of Tasmania, where she teaches creative writing.
It’s Danielle’s day off from University, so she’s home in the caravan, but Heather’s got a busy day of board meetings lined up. At lunchtime, she’ll check her phone to find a text from Danielle that might say something like: ‘Are all Winged Dogs the same colour brown as Baxterr?’
And Heather will think about the dogs she so often sees running about on the beach in front of her home and she’ll text back: ‘Some of them are brown like Baxterr, but others are dark brown, or white with patches. Some are even black.’
On either side of the Derwent River, north and south, it’s the weekend, which means that Heather’s home is awash with her son’s camera gear, a theatrical costume or two, her husband and daughter’s musical instruments, hockey equipment and teenagers.
At Danielle’s house, there’s a maelstrom of gymnastics leotards, ballet slippers, football socks and pet rats. Chances are, it’s also show day for Danielle’s children’s guinea pigs, so the finishing touches will be being made to Miss Muffet’s fancy dress outfit, and somebody will be hunting in the pantry for a suitable approximation of curds and whey.
Both halves of Angelica Banks agree that writing for adults is rewarding, but that writing for children offers unique opportunities. Such as classroom visits, which are a chance to wear their matching Serendipity Smith red wigs and blue velvet coats.
The children will ask how two people write a novel together, and how long it takes to write a book, and whether the two halves of Angelica Banks fight about what should happen in their books. And Angelica will answer, but also ask questions of her own, like ‘how many of you want to be writers when you grow up?’ About half the children will put their hands in the air, and both halves of Angelica Banks are happy, knowing that the magic of books is alive and well.
And then, it’s Tuesday, again…
WIN $300 of Children’s Books
To inspire young readers, and writers, and to celebrate the release of A Week Without Tuesday, we’re giving away $300 worth of our best children’s books including copies of A Week Without Tuesday and the first novel in the series, Finding Serendipity.
For your chance to win, just tell us in the form below, which children’s book character you would most like to spend a week in the life of and why?
And if you have any questions for Angelica Banks, leave them in the comments!