Candy Jar Books have released details of their next (almost annual) crossover novel, this time bringing together the 'worlds' of Travers & Wells and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, written by John Peel:
Travers & Wells: The Invisible Women
Written by John Peel
Cover by Richard Young
Wells had come to a post with a sign on it. He gestured to a poster that had been hastily slapped over the Rules and Regulations. It was at a bit of an angle, but very clear: PARK CLOSED, BEWARE OF THE FAIRIES.
Armed with new knowledge about their journey across parallel Earths, Edward Travers and HG Wells find themselves in 1919, London, on an Earth not too dissimilar from their own.
They are soon embroiled in a mystery surrounding fairies in St James’ Park. They are joined in their investigation by Leonora Goodwin, a woman with a secret… but at least they can see her! For on their heels are a group of invisible women, all intent on stealing Travers’ time ring for their own nefarious purposes. Someone is pulling the strings, orchestrating events, drawing Travers and Wells ever closer to an enemy from the past!
Luckily, they have a two secret allies. A bald-headed boy, and his friend… A brown girl with big hair and the most peculiar hat! Travers and Wells are not the only time travellers this time!
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
First it was The Laughing Gnome, and then Bloodlines… and now… When it came time to discuss what our next crossover would be, Shaun suggested Lucy meeting up with Edward Travers and HG Wells. It was a great idea, and made a nice change from her bumping into her grandad. First we had Lucy without Hobo, then we tried to shake things up with the last crossover by not actually having Lucy in it at all (sort of), so this time we knew we definitely wanted Lucy and Hobo. Then came the old ‘who to write it’, which almost always results in Shaun suggesting John Peel. I was on board with that, and knew John would be up for the challenge…
John Peel said:
When I was just starting my writing career, Terry Nation offered me a lot of advice. One piece was this: ‘If an editor ever asks, “Can you write me this?” always say yes. Then panic. And then go away and work out how you'll do it.’ (He never took very much seriously.) But it was good advice, and made me accept some writing assignments I would otherwise have passed up. It was very applicable in this case, where I was asked to write two interlinked novels simultaneously and for different age groups – certainly nothing I would have attempted without being asked!
John has written plenty for us so far, but he hadn’t done a Travers & Wells, and as I knew it was time to start thinking ahead, and working just how many books I actually wanted the series to be, it seemed John was the perfect choice to just go away and get on with the writing while I worried about the future.
The characters were interesting – Professor Travers, explorer and scientist, matched with a young and somewhat naive Herbert George Wells – possessing great imagination, but very little actual experience. They're still learning to act as a team, and being thrown into bizarre and dangerous situations. And the challenge of writing something that would have the vague flavour of Wells' stories without actually copying him was intriguing. Writing the story was… interesting also. The two books had to have separate plots that interlinked, and yet still made sense if read alone – which obviously took a bit of planning! And the last couple of chapters (the wrap-up) had to be the same, obviously, but told from two different perspectives. The only way I could imagine doing this was to write both books together as a single manuscript, so that I could be sure that the pacing worked out and the overlaps occurred at the same time in each tale, and then leave the two respective editors to disassemble the manuscript into two books. Hey, I wasn't going to do all of the work! I was expecting the process to be challenging, but because the editors and I had worked it out beforehand, it actually proved to be a lot smoother and easier than I had feared. And also a great deal more fun.
Shaun Russell, Range Editor of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries said:
Being presented with two books, one not a Lucy Wilson, was interesting. It took a bit of wrangling to work out how to edit them. Andy edited both first, with his main focus on the Travers & Wells story, and then I primarily focused on the Lucy Wilson story, making sure everything still linked. We tweaked things in places, playing around with the respective perspectives. I think we’ve all pulled it off, and as this crossover sets up a big shift in the Lucy Wilson books, I’m looking forward to seeing what people make of it.
The Invisible Women can be ordered from the Candy Jar website.
The series continues next year with A Modern Shangri-La by Sarah Groenewegen, and The First Moon by Andy Frankham-Allen.