Whenever I send off the last draft of a book, it feels like the first time my daughter left for camp. As she boarded the bus, my girl didn’t cry. If she’d looked back, she might have seen tears in the corners of my eyes. But she never turned around.
Like beloved children, book characters also mature. You create them complete with problems and pimples. As a writer, you give them enough challenges to grow strong. And even though it hurts you let them fail once in a while, because you know it’s character building. Then one day, they’re ready to go out into the world, stronger and wiser. And you let them go because that’s part of the unwritten contract you have with your ‘book kids’ (not to mention the written one you sign with your publisher).
At the end of The Secret Destiny Pixie Piper, I left left my braver-than-brave fifth grader excited about going off to meet her magical family at Chuckling Goose Farm. She was thinking about learning to use her rhyming power and the secrets to baking cakes that granted wishes. But I also knew that the Goose Ladies’ archenemies, the Sinister Sisters, weren’t finished making trouble. Would Pixie be ready for them?
Letting go is hard! That’s why writing this sequel was such a joy. Pixie Piper and the Matter of the Batter gave me the opportunity to follow Pixie to Chuckling Goose, where she meets her Goose Lady Aunts and her apprentice cousins. I felt I was right there with her as she discovered the secrets of the farmhouse—the hidden staircase, the rhyming room, the kitchen where batters come to life, and the place where the lucky recipients of wishing cakes are chosen.
The story seemed to take over as I watched Pixie learn that wherever there’s magic, there’s trouble--beginning the very first night when Pixie searches the farmyard for whomever or whatever had thrown Destiny into a flap. What Pixie discovers will give young readers thrills and chills. (I got them too!) But I was also reassured that Pixie, braver than brave, and truer than true, would become the heroine I’d hoped for.
This year I’ve been speaking with kids in schools and libraries who loved Pixie’s first adventure and wanted to know what happened after Pixie and Gray made their secret get- away to Chuckling Goose Farm. I hope the story surprises and delights them as much as it did me!