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Thursday, June 06, 2002

In an e-mail from SFX's Nich Setchfield, he finished...

There's been some interesting stuff on your website about preserving old
> books - but how do you preserve old authors? Jayne on the magazine has
> just tracked down a copy of The House Called Hadlows by Victoria Walker, her
> favourite fantasy novel from her childhood. It's taken her 20 years.
> There's a photo of Victoria Walker inside, looking like a magic hippy
> chick, preserved forever in 1971. But where is she now? Why did she only
> write two books (the other one's The Winter of Enchantment)? How does
> Jayne find her to thank her for writing the best book of her childhood?
> If you have any leads, let us know!
>
> Best,
>Nick


And then I got that strange tingly feeling you get when someone mentions a book you'd loved once and half-forgotten almost for forever -- in this case The Winter of Enchantment, which was on the shelves in my local library when I was about eleven, and which I remember as being utterly magical, although the actual what-happened is a confused sort of jumble of magic mirrors and cats and the four seasons and victoriana. I did a web search and learned nothing except that Garth Nix has really good taste in kids' books.

So in my copious spare time (doomed and hollow cough there) I think I'll take this on as a project. Who was Victoria Walker? Is she still alive? Why just those two books? Why have they both been out of print for thirty years? The first thing I thought of as a resource was this journal. This website is getting (according to a stats email this morning) a little over 110,000 hits a day, and most people come and check out the journal, which is an awful lot of eyes and minds. So if anyone out there knows anything about Victoria Walker -- who she was or is, or any other information about the books, send in your information on the FAQ line. And feel free to mention it on other boards, journals and places.

Other leads I suggested to Nick would be checking with the Society of Authors, and with her publishers (Andre Deutsch in the UK). But somehow I have more faith in the massed eyes of the blogger readers, and in a handful of friends who, between them, know everything.
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