Can you tell us about your main character? Emma is a young girl who lives with her father, an itinerant musician who makes his living travelling around the country to find gigs in bars and hotels. It’s just the two of them, and life is constantly changing. They have to make do with the things they have, which isn’t much. Everything they own has to fit into their broken-down old car, and sometimes life just isn’t all that pretty. Emma copes by reading a fairy tale book her mother left her, and sometimes the monotony of the road makes it hard for her to see the difference between the real world around her and the fantasy world in her head. Being young, she’s still innocent in many ways, though she’s a lot more independent than other kids her age.
More than anything else, she misses her mother, and Emma’s fantasy world in ROOT BOUND is an attempt to deal with that loss.
Who is your publisher? I self-publish under the imprint Baba Yaga Press. I chose to go with an imprint for two reasons: first, it helps me segregate the business side of writing (me, the publisher) from the creative side (me, the author); and secondly, I find that having an imprint helps make the presentation more professional. There’s still some stigma out there when it comes to self-published work, and I find the imprint helps.
Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, I’m sure I will. There are four books in the Emma & the Elementals series, so that’s a given. After that, I have an adult fiction book planned. That will be historical fiction, based on actual events from my great-grandfather’s life in Boston in the early 1900s. I’m not sure what happens after that, but I’m certain that I’ll always come back to fantasy, either for children or adults, because it’s very close to my heart.
Have you started another book yet? I have! I’m currently working on WATER WORKS, which is Book Two in the Emma & the Elementals series. Where ROOT BOUND is about finding one’s place and one’s home, WATER WORKS is about ways of thinking about the world. Things that were true in Book One may not be true in Book Two, or they may have changed because things do change over time. Emma is now best friends with Reggie (the boy in the apartment down the hall in Book One), and she’ll have to save him again. And the stakes are higher now, because now she’s saving someone she actually cares about. Some of the characters from Book One return, but probably not the ones you’d expect. And because this book is about changing realities, she won’t be travelling in the classic Greek and Roman mythological world this time. She’s going someplace less familiar. I’d like the reader to discover new worlds, too.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I’ve always got a few books on the go. At the moment, I’m taking my time with Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought, which uses linguistics as a springboard to investigate how the human brain is structured for thought and for language. I’m also looking at Hallucinations by Olivier Sacks. I’ve got Philip Pullman’s new Brothers Grimm collection sitting by the sofa, for when I need a fairy tale pick-me-up, and I just started Some Kind of Fairy Tale by the delightful Graham Joyce. My beside book at the moment is George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. I’ve told myself I can’t watch Season 2 of the HBO show until I’ve finished reading the first book. I’m not sure if I can keep that promise.
How far will you go to find your way home?
Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside. School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.
Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world. There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
Genre - Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
Rating – G (ages 10+)
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