Sometimes talent runs in the family. Case in point: Australian author Carole Wilkinson and her daughter, author Lili Wilkinson.
Carole is best known for her series of Dragonkeeper children’s novels, which have won a plethora of awards over the years. She has also written a wide range of other books, including the YA novel Sugar Sugar and an award-winning non-fiction book about Ned Kelly, Black Snake.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Lili is the author of five YA novels, including Angel Fish, Pink and her latest, A Pocketful of Eyes. She has also written a non-fiction book, Joan of Arc: the story of Jehanne Darc, as well as having edited Short, an anthology of children’s fiction.
As you would expect, Carole and Lili communicate regularly and often find themselves chatting online. Today on Literary Clutter we get to eavesdrop on one of their chats…
Lili: Mum! Aid my procrastination! What are you doing?
Lili: Did you win something?
Carole: I HAVE FINISHED MY ZERO DRAFT!!!
Lili: Is this the first draft for the NEW DRAGONKEEPER BOOK?
Carole: Yep. Dragonkeeper 4.
Carole: It’s been hard work.
Lili: Is it more about Ping and Kai?
Carole: It’s 400 years after Dragon Moon. Ping is sadly long gone, but Kai is still around.
[Interruption from George: Set in ancient China, the first three Dragonkeeper books — Dragonkeeper, Garden of the Purple Dragon and Dragon Moon — tell the story of a young girl, Ping, who becomes a dragonkeeper, first looking after an older dragon named Danzi and then a young one named Kai. Carole also wrote a prequel called Dragon Dawn.]
Lili: So does Kai have a new dragonkeeper? Is he All Grown Up?
Carole: I don’t want to give too much away. He’s a sort of teenage dragon, and he’s sick of living at the Dragon Haven.
Carole: That’s all I’m saying.
Lili: Is he painting his bedroom black and listening to My Chemical Romance?
Carole: Something like that.
Carole: Sequels are hard. You haven’t ever done a sequel have you?
Lili: Nope, although I’m vaguely considering it at the moment.
Carole: Really what for? Hannah’s life in Australia? More stage crew hijinks for Ava?
Lili: There is a current possibility of a Pocketful of Eyes sequel. If enough people buy the first one. *hint hint*
[Interruption from George: Hannah is an English girl sent to Australia as a convict in Lili’s debut historical novel, Scatterheart. Ava is the lead character from Pink. And A Pocketful of Eyes is her latest book — a terrific page-turning murder mystery/romcom that everyone should rush out and buy right now.]
Carole: That’s exciting. So you hadn’t considered a sequel when you were writing it?
Lili: Not at all. Which makes it rather difficult.
Carole: Better to do it that way, I think. Otherwise you’re thinking, should I save that for the next one? Better to give the book you’re writing everything you’ve got.
Lili: So what happens now you have your zero draft?
Carole: Now the enjoyable bit starts. I have the story worked out, so now I have to reread it and basically make it better. It’s taken me 6 months but it’s very rough.
Carole: Even you don’t get to see my zero draft.
Lili: I don’t show anyone my zero draft. That’s why it’s called a zero draft instead of a first draft.
Carole: I am going to celebrate for at least 15 minutes. It’s too early for champagne, so I’m having a cup of tea. Orange Pekoe.
Lili: You should have CAKE
Carole: I have no cake.
Lili: A great tragedy indeed.
Carole: So apart from thinking about a possible, hypothetical sequel to PoE, what else are you working on?
Lili: I’m just about to start copyedits for Love Shy, my romcom about a high school wannabe journalist who discovers a boy at her school who is terrified of girls. It’ll be out next year.
Lili: And starting the first draft of the novel I’m writing as part of my PhD.
Carole: I wish I could do three things at once.
Carole: Are you happy with Love Shy?
Lili: Not even slightly, but hopefully by the time the copyedits are done I will be.
Lili: My books always get funnier during copyedits.
Carole: When do I get to read it?
Lili: Whenever you like.
Carole: Good. I need something to read.
Carole: I’m going to go and buy cake.
Lili: Good idea. Email me some.
George’s bit at the end
Thank you to Carole and Lili for letting us look over their shoulders as they chatted online.
For more info about Carole and her books, check out her website.
For more info about Lili and her books, check out her website.
Catch ya later, George
PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll post an online chat I had with myself the other day.