I’m hosting an interview today with Tanya Karen Gough, the author of YA fantasy novel “Root Bound”.
1) Please tell us about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Tanya Karen Gough (Gough is pronounced “Goff,” like “cough”). I was born in Montreal, Quebec, but I grew up in the United States, near Boston. I taught English overseas for several years, and then I owned a Shakespeare-specialty catalogue (along with a CD and video store) in Stratford, Ontario, I have pretty eclectic tastes when it comes to movies and books, but I have a soft spot for fairy tale adaptations, as you’ll see in my book, ROOT BOUND.
2) Please tell us about your book in five sentences or less.
Plot-wise, ROOT BOUND is about Emma, who lives with her father, an itinerant musician. They’ve just moved into town, and something isn’t right. There’s a frightening woman down the hall and basement brownies in the vents. Emma follows the brownies into Under, where she follows clues to find her mother, rescue a mysterious prince and stop an evil witch. Thematically, ROOT BOUND is about finding one’s place in the world.
3) Where did you get the inspiration from for Root Bound?
ROOT BOUND came from a number of places. About 10 years ago, I started playing around with a story idea based on fairy tale characters in the modern day. The hook was that they still had the characteristics of their fairy tale counterparts, but they didn’t know they were different. And no, it wasn’t anything at all like Once Upon a Time. While I was fiddling around with the story, I sat down and wrote an isolated scene. I didn’t know what the larger story was, but it had a small girl hiding under a piano. The room was part of a 1950’s, New York-style cold water flat, with peeling walls and worn out floors. There was light coming in from the street, leaving strange light shapes on the floor. The girl was crying, and someone was watching her from within the walls. I never did anything with the story – I just filed it away and forgot about it. When I sat down to write ROOT BOUND 10 years later, the first thing I did was try my hand at a single scene, to give myself a starting point. A couple of hours later, I looked over what I had written, and to my surprise, it was almost exactly the same scene that I had written previously. By that point, I’d figured out that this little girl was important to me for some reason. ROOT BOUND came very quickly to me after that.
4) If you could have coffee with three authors (dead or alive), which authors would you choose?
I’m going to cheat and give you two lists. The three living authors I’d choose are: Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon and Jasper Fforde. I just adore their work, right across the board. The three less-living authors I’d pick would be: William Shakespeare (of course), Laurence Stern (author of Tristram Shandy, an absurdly funny book written in the mid-1700s), and Thomas Hardy (don’t tell anyone, but I’m a hardcore romantic, and Hardy’s writing is so incredibly gorgeous and tragic that it makes me weep).
5) Tell us about your current work in progress.
At the moment, I’m working on Book Two in the Emma & the Elementals series. It’s called Water Works.
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 change over time, especially in a world that operates with a different set of logic rules. And because this book is about changing realities, she won’t be travelling in the classic Greek and Roman mythological world. She’s going some place less familiar. I’d like the reader to discover new worlds, too.
Thanks for answering my questions, Tanya! Good luck on the second book. 🙂
About Root Bound
Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Tanya Karen Gough owned and published The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue from 1997-2007, earning a strong international customer base of world class academics and high school educators. Tanya was also a contributing editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria (BC), audio advisor for the Sourcebooks Shakespeare textbook series, and theatre reviewer for Playshakespeare.com. Tanya grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.