THE EXPLORERS: THE DOOR IN THE ALLEY
1- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I hope that people will feel the entire rainbow of feelings. I hope they feel excited, and that they laugh a lot. I hope they feel a bit nervous too, perhaps, at the thrilling bits (at the zoo, for instance), and some sadness, especially with Evie's lack of friends and family. I hope most of all that they relate to her and Sebastian, feel a sense of camaraderie and empathy.
As for an especially resonant scene, I don't really have one in particular. (It’s a little like asking a parent, “Which of your children is your favorite?”) But I suppose I do hope that I manage to strike a chord with the scenes between Sebastian and Evie where they are getting to know each other and their friendship starts to grow. Friendship to me is very important, and sometimes I feel it isn't given its due, especially compared with, say, romance. I want to elevate the importance of friendship. It's been very important to me in my life.
2-What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
Catherine Lind's short red hair is very distinct, I think. But I do feel that my villains have the most peculiar and arresting looks. One of them has a face that's half-melted and he's missing an ear, the other has his jaw wired shut with bits of metal that poke out through his skin. So that's pretty . . . memorable, I'd say :) .
3-Is there any diversity in THE EXPLORERS?
As a feminist I endeavor to get as many female characters and female voices as I can into my work. In this book, I made sure the president of the Explorers Society was not only a woman, but an older woman. And the first explorer we meet from the Filipendulous Five is also female: Catherine. With her I wanted to create someone tall and imposingly built, to celebrate a different type of female form. It was also important to me that Evie was a problem-solver, both smart and capable, but also someone who does make mistakes. The ideal strong female character to me is a three dimensional one.
As for Sebastian, he has anxiety and suffers from panic attacks. This is something I've been dealing with myself since high school and like to address in my writing wherever possible. I think it’s important to read about characters who have these kinds of challenges to overcome and bravely work to succeed in spite of them.
We don't meet the rest of the Filipendulous Five exploring team in this first book, because each book introduces us to one more. But the team is briefly described in this book and they will become lead characters as they appear in later books. Two of them are African American, one is Chinese American. And one is also LGBTQ.
4-Which character has your favorite Personality Contradiction?
Right now I think that would be Catherine. She is so remarkably empathic with animals that it seems she can practically speak with them. And yet she is completely clueless about how to empathize with and understand humans. I enjoy that.
5-As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
Humour is the first thing I tend to look for. I also enjoy books with complex and somewhat unusual characters.
6-What cause or charity do you most often lend your voice to?
There are several that I donate to, but I'd like to highlight Interval House. It's a local centre here in Ontario for abused women and children. http://www.intervalhouse.ca
7-If you could co-star in a movie with anyone, who would be your pick?
Oh my goodness, that's a nearly impossible question. There are so many actors I respect and revere so much. I think right now if I had to choose, I’d love to meet and work with Meryl Streep and Viola Davis. They are so accomplished, at the top of their game, and it seems, at least from interviews and speeches, that they are good friends with each other, so maybe I could round out the trio and then we could go fight crime together . . . or have tea or something . . .
THE EXPLORERS: THE DOOR IN THE ALLEY