Janice Clark- Fantasy and Science Fiction, Poetry, Inspirational, Humor
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The Secret Door author interview

An interview with the author of The Secret Door, Janice Clark
 
Sammy is really upset about moving.  Some people move frequently, especially those in the military.  Their kids seem to manage okay. So what’s the big deal?

 Maybe it gets easier with practice, but it’s still hard for kids and grown-ups alike to be uprooted, to leave everything familiar, and have to start over again.  Change is hard.  Transitions are disorienting. It’s even worse if most of your familiar possessions have to stay behind.  Sammy may be more vocal about her concerns than those kids who “seem to manage okay.” Children don’t always verbalize their fears, and even when they do, overwhelmed parents can miss the message. I wanted my readers who have been through it to connect, to see their emotions put into words and acknowledged as having value.

After her initial panic, Kerri appears to be okay with all the strangeness, and even volunteers to help rescue BB.  How could she change so quickly?

Kerri’s an adaptor, a survivor, a pragmatist.  She’s had more practice than Sammy at having to adjust rapidly to new situations.  She also obviously reads mythology or fantasy books, and is fascinated with the notion of elves who can turn into unicorns. And as Peaches so wisely noted, Kerri’s “very intelligent for a human, and a lot braver than she realizes.” I liked the way she stepped forward to challenge the unicorns and kizzees about their ancient feud, while Sammy was still dithering about what to do or say. (No, I didn’t plan that—that was a case of a character taking over the story.)

What made you decide to include shape-shifting elves and koala-like nomadic hunters?

I was working on the book when I went to help out at my daughter’s home while she was having a baby.  The baby’s six-year-old big sister was interested in the writing process, and asked me to include unicorns and “wild, dangerous teddy bears.”  She also wanted space aliens, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Having elves who could double as unicorns opened all sorts of possibilities. As for the kizzees, I wanted something a little different, both in appearance and behavior, from the many variations on teddy bears that other writers have done.  I gave them a bit of “attitude” to balance the more serious elves. They were really fun to write. I like them even better than the zany pixies from The Mirror Door.

The other books mention the war that Selena’s father is fighting against The Dark, but it pretty much stays in the background.  This is the closest Sammy’s come to getting directly involved.  Will we be seeing armies and battle scenes in future books?

I had some misgivings about sending the girls into a war zone, even with the elves to protect them, but it worked out okay.  Alf and Ralf, the kizzee dragon hunters, turned out to be a great asset to the group.  They also provided an element of humor to play down the seriousness of the situation. But no, I have no intention of writing actual battle scenes.  This is probably as close as Sammy’s going to get to the fighting.

By the end of the book, Sammy’s comforting her mother instead of the other way around.  That’s a pretty mature action for a child.

Yes, Sammy grows up quite a bit in this book.  Having already been jolted out of her personal comfort zone, she begins to observe and empathize with the feelings of others.  I think that’s not uncommon for the child of a single parent.  Many of them have to develop a more adult outlook early in life. 

Now that Sammy’s moving away from the home where she connects with the moonbeam path, how will she get back to Selena’s world again?  Are the adventures over?

More adventures are coming.  I’m not through playing with this world yet.

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