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Chasing the Valley
I wrote six more outlines, and six more and six more, until I finished with Sweet Valley High books," she says. Each of the Sweet Valley High books, stuffed with cliffhangers and drama, was written by a ghostwriter, with Pascal credited as creator. She decided, she says, to do it this way to give the books a more universal appeal. The books I had written before … were for a more sophisticated, educated audience.
But I wanted Sweet Valley to be for everyone. Humour is one of the things I gave up. It is a very sophisticated tool and it didn't work in these books," she says.
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A quarter of the letters I got would start, 'I used to hate to read Pascal "created every character" in the books, she says, and "wrote every single story of every single book of the Sweet Valley High stories", and then "with the help of others got the books done". She would "work very closely with the writers. People who weren't able to stay within the lines weren't right for it.
Sweet Valley Confidential, published last year and imagining the Wakefields 10 years after graduation, was the first Sweet Valley novel Pascal wrote entirely herself. She was moved to write it, she says, because she still gets letters from fans who grew up with Elizabeth and Jessica asking what happened next. Initially, however, she struggled with enthusiasm.
I said 'what the hell, I can do what I want'. So the novel sees Elizabeth living alone in New York, estranged from her sister Jessica who has — plus ca change! Elizabeth, by the way, is Pascal's favourite twin; "My only problem with Elizabeth is that she isn't boring. I have to watch her. Good is sometimes a little dull. Pascal isn't one to worry about negative press, anyway. Once Confidential was over and done with, Pascal "said never, I won't do it again. Then my agent and publisher, we had dinner, and they came up with the idea of an e-serial.
That was all they had to say — I was off and running. I couldn't stop myself. So I put together the stories for the six books, sat down and wrote the first one.