John Arthur Nichol

Sascha Martin’s Pitchy Witch Rises Again

Mary-Alice Cooper approaches the villa in Sascha Martin's Pitchy Witch, by John Arthur Nichol.

Sascha Martin’s Pitchy Witch was, until recently, the longest of all the Sascha Martin stories, and it’s one I’m especially proud of.

It’s a stand-alone holiday adventure that begins with Sascha and his best friend Luca, but is quickly hijacked by their not-friend Mary-Alice Cooper. She steals the limelight (of course) and one of Sascha’s unfinished inventions, and where it takes her is … well, that’s quite a tale, isn’t it?

Originally I wanted to call this adventure Sascha Martin’s Christmas Witch, but due to objections by my wonderful and feisty illustrator Manuela Pentangelo, I was unable to do so. She told me in no uncertain terms that the tradition I was reimagining (that is one way of looking at it) is absolutely, positively, manifestly nothing to do with Christmas at all.

Rather, it’s about someone who came late to the party. And she has her own special day.

The story’s been finished for ages and we had planned, because it was so long, to release it in episodes. We were still thinking in picture book terms then, and Manuela was well-advanced in her concept drawings for Episode 1. Some were mere sketches, and others were nearly finished masterpieces.

Mind you, Manuela’s mere sketches are often masterpieces in themselves, quick little scribbles that capture a mood or a moment to hilarious perfection.

The episodic Pitchy Witch project stalled. Actually, it foundered on the financial rocks of Dire Strait.

But Sascha Martin’s Pitchy Witch has risen again, and though I say it myself it’s a very funny tale that will reward the attention of any discerning child or grown-up (grown-ups being kids largely … big kids, if you will).

So far, the published book exists as an Uncovered, Unillustrated edition on Leanpub. I’ve written about Leanpub in this blog post, and the book itself can be found on Leanpub here - note the Community Edition, which is a free preview of the book that anyone can download.

Sascha Martin Books are changing their format, and their branding. They're now Adventures in Verse, for the Discerning Child, and they’ll be in normal paperback novel size - maybe not as thick as a paperback novel, but with far more text than a picture book can accommodate, and in a size that big kids like to read. You can find more on the new format in my blog post about Sascha Martin’s Zombie Dust.

Reaching the finished version of Sascha Martin’s Pitchy Witch will take time. An illustrator can only handle so many books at once, after all. But you can read the story now if you buy it on Leanpub, and relax in the knowledge that you’ll receive every update as soon as it happens, all the way through to the final, polished edition.

And you can giggle while you wait. Or laugh out loud. Poor Mary-Alice.