Authors: Jacqueline Wilson
I heard a clock chime far away. It was striking midnight. I looked out into the night and made my wish.
Violet has got plenty to wish for: she wishes her brother, Will, would be kinder to her. She wishes she could hide the terrible secret that she has discovered about him. She wishes she had a real friend to confide in. And, most of all, she wishes she could meet her favourite author, Casper Dream. Violet can't help thinking that someone who creates such beautiful fairy stories would be able to conjure up a solution to her problems.
I've always been very interested in fairies. I'm not talking about little-girly pink and pretty fairies prancing about on tiptoe â I mean strange, spooky weird creatures whirling though the air on gossamer wings. I love the Victorian fairy illustrations of Richard Dadd and John Anster Fitzgerald. I've got beautiful Edwardian picture books of Arthur Rackham's sepia fairies and W. Heath Robinson's goblins.
Violet in Midnight also love fairies. She's obsessed with the fairy books of Casper Dream. Lots of children have written to me, asking if Casper Dream is a real artist. I'm afraid I made him up, but I wish he was real, too! Violet writes him a letter every day, though she doesn't know where to send them.
She's a strange, dreamy girl, one of my favourites out of my imaginary girls. Casper Dream describes his violet fairy as âA small, shy fairy, purplish-blue, easily trampled upon.' Certainly Violet's older brother Will walks all over her. Will teases and torments his sister, but he can invent magical games and Violet adores him. Will is very much a changeling child, in more ways than one. Casper Dream says âFairies steal away beloved babies and leave a changeling child in their place. These elfin breeds are often evil, with difficult, demanding natures and enormous appetities.'
Both Violet and Will fall in love with Jasmine, an exotic, arty new girl at Violet's school. She is like an enchantress, described by Casper Dream as âA sorceress; a woman versed in magical arts; a woman whose beauty exerts irresistible influence.'
I deliberately mirrored all my main characters with the fairy folk in the Casper Dream books. Nick Sharratt drew wonderful, detailed fairy illustrations to head each chapter. I think they're his finest art work. It would be lovely to have a big format
Mum and Dad are going out tonight to a big dinner and dance. I've never been to a dance unless you count school discos and they were awful. I thought Will might come and talk to me. I knew he wouldn't dance with me, though we used to do all sorts of crazy dance routines at home. But Will acts like he doesn't even know me at school. A lot of the time he acts like we're strangers at home too. It's ever since he found out. It's changed everything.
I wonder if you ever go to dances? I always look in the papers and the party pages of Mum's
magazine just in case I might catch a glimpse of you. I did get hopeful when I read that
won the Book of the Year Award at some glitzy publishing do. I went to
after school for a week, thumbing through everything, hoping there might be a photo of you. I saw a woman with long blonde hair holding a copy of
and a big gold trophy in the shape of a pen nib. Is she your wife? Your girlfriend? She's very pretty. And very lucky.
With love from
ARE YOU SURE
you're going to be all right?' Mum asked.
âThey'll be fine,' said Dad. âCome on, or that mini-cab chap will start creating.'
âYou've got the number of the hotel just in case?' said Mum. âIt's by the phone. Of course, in a
emergency you'd better call the police.'
âThere wouldn't be much point. They'll all be at your dance,' I said.
Dad bared his teeth in a silly smile. He'd swapped his dark tunic and trousers and white working shirt for this equally naff evening uniform of satin-striped suit and frilly shirt. He wore a clip-on bow instead of his clip-on tie. And a clip-on face, pink, jovial, jowly, always Mr Plod the Policeman.
âCome on, Iris, quit flapping.'
âWe should have driven them over to your mum'sâ' She stopped and drew in her breath. We all knew we couldn't go back to Grandma's.
âWe should have got a babysitter,' Mum said lamely.
âWe're not babies, Mum,' I said.
She gave me a quick kiss. She smelled weirdly sultry after spraying herself liberally with last holiday's duty-free Giorgio. Mum is so not a Giorgio girl, though she'd tried hard tonight, wearing a Wonderbra to give herself an impressive cleavage in her black clingy dress. It was a bit too clingy. You could see the outline of her knickers as she went to the living-room door. My mum would die rather than wear a thong.
Still, who am I to talk? I wear little-girly white cotton underwear and Mum would have me wearing little white socks too if she could have her way. She treats me like I'm three, not thirteen.
âWill? Come downstairs, we're going now,' Mum called.
Will is fifteen, nearly sixteen. He's my brother. He's not
my brother. He's always been my best friend too â and my worst enemy.
I gave him my first smile when I was six weeks old. When I was six months I'd hold out my arms to him, straining for him to pick me up. I can't remember, of course. These are Mum's little stories, but she always tells the truth. Well. That's what we thought.
I can remember way back though, when I was still in my buggy. Will would kneel in front of me and give me my own private puppet show. A fairy story. I was
Goldilocks, even though my hair was black, and there were just two bears, not three. Big Growl, Will's bear, and Little Growl, my bear.
Will wasn't even at school yet but he made up plays that lasted for hours. No, not
â and they can't have been real plays. He just made Big and Little Growl dance about in front of me, one of them booming in a glorious great growl, one of them squeaking in a winsome weeny growl. I know that's all it can have been, and yet the carpet around me sprouted forests and Big Growl and Little Growl padded about me on real paws. I reached out and patted their furry bodies and smelled the honey on their breath.
When Will started school Mum tried to play Teddies with me, a trite game of âThis is Big Growl and this is Little Growl'. They stayed shabby toys, their glass eyes glazed, their mouths stitched. But the moment Will was back they would lift their snouts in the air and growl a welcome. It was obvious. Will was magic.
He could work black as well as white magic even when we were both very young.
âYou wait, Vi,' he'd say, if he thought I'd pinched the biggest cake at tea time or had one turn too many on our shared swing.
The waiting was the worst. He always knew how to bide his time. He'd generally wait until we'd both been put to bed. Then he'd creep into my room.
âBig Growl's very angry with you,' he'd whisper in my ear. âHe's going to bite your nose right off.' Will would pinch my nose hard. âHe's going to rip you into
ribbons with his claws.' Will would scratch down my arms, his nails digging right in. âHe's going to smother you with his great big bum.' Will would shove Big Growl onto my face, pressing harder and harder.