About the Wobbly Wallaby

The Wobbly Wallaby started life as bedtime stories for my daughter. Having read Green Eggs and Ham to her for the thousandth time (still one of my favourite books), I started to branch out and make up stories on the spur of the moment. Out of those stories came a number of characters, one of whom was the Wobbly Wallaby. He became a bit of a requested feature, probably because there was always something exciting going on his life. One night, as the adventures of the wallaby continued, my daughter asked me how I knew the story. At first she was shocked to discover that the stories were being concocted every night through the haze of my own tiredness. Then the razor sharp mind of a child went to work. I could no longer get away with sloppy plot, unlikely characters or weak dialogue no matter how weary I was after a day at work. My first editor! And she wanted to see a hard copy!

So I began to write the stories down, at least the ones that met with the editor's approval. And there began a journey of epic proportion, not only for the wallaby, but also for myself. Originally, every single one of the bedtime stories ended with Wally going to sleep, after all that was the real purpose of the nightly tale. That made for a very boring book! Then when the stories were woven together, huge holes and inconsistencies appeared in the plot. What I could get away with on a night to night basis did not translate well at all in book format. Great swathes of writing had to be replaced or thrown out.

I battled with the plot, verified (most of) the elements in the book, struggled with the writing. Finally the story started to appear. Then the magic started. Small ideas started to grow and the plot became richer. It was almost as though the framework of the plot was supporting its own growth. A collection of loosely tied stories had finally grown into something I hope you'll find enjoyable.

Then something else happened. I began to see myself reflected in the page. Not so much in the characters, but in the writing. Repeated phrases, dialogue, attitudes. Not only has the book been a triumph in completion for me but I also learned a great deal about myself through the writing of it. For anybody contemplating writing a novel, I would thoroughly encourage you to start. Start and continue, no matter how disappointing the first draft may be and let the story grow. The Wobbly Wallaby had seventeen major revisions (and countless chapter revisions), from the first page to the last. The final story is almost unrecognisable from the first draft.

During the research for the book, I also found myself engrossed in the plight of the wallaby, something I found startling. As an Australian, I was unaware that so many species of wallabies are in a threatened state, or have become extinct. Additionally, of those threatened, quite a few species can only be found on islands off Australia where there is no threat from introduced predators like the fox or wild dogs. I've included some of the results of my research on this website, as well as a list of some of the organisations who continue to work towards the preservation of the endangered species.

The Wobbly Wallaby has taken me on an unexpected but marvellous journey, I hope he takes you too.