I went to a party last week. It was held by Penguin in their Camberwell offices. They have these little parties twice a year, and invite all their authors whose books have been published recently. I scored a flag, because of The Life of a Teenage Body-snatcher. I knew most of the people there. I'm not big-noting, I'm just old. Jane Tanner, Sofie Laguna, Marc McBride, Terry Denton, Sherryl Clark, Margaret Clark, Graeme Base, Felice Arena, Gabrielle Wang and Craig Smith were all present and looking dandy. Especially Craig, who had ridden his bike all the way from Brunswick. Penguin editor and writer Jane Godwin gave a brief speech about what good books we'd all written, and I heckled only a little bit and everything was just fine. Except ... they didn't give us any free books this time. They did once. There used to be a lucky dip where you reached into a box of shredded newsprint and took out a mystery book, wrapped in brown paper, that was yours to keep. Since these books were always by other guests at the party, it was sometimes possible to pick out which packages might be more enticing than others. Graeme Base books were big and hard and highly desirable. At one of these lucky dips, writer and illustrator Alison Lester wanted a copy of my book, Siggy and Amber. This was very nice of her. I'd read her book, The Quicksand Pony, and enjoyed it.
The Ghost's Child that someone else had plucked from the lucky dip. She knew that something was amiss. And so, this is what she wrote: