Last week, I posted reviews of both Jewel of the Thames and Thrice Burned in conjunction with the blog tour set up by Fierce Ink Press. You can follow along with all of the tour stops by clicking here.
In the meantime, check out this short interview with the author Angela Misri as part of my continued participation in the Thrice Burned blog tour, starting…now:
YA Book Shelf: Why was it important to you that Portia is a blend of the best qualities of both Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes? How does she differ from her ancestors?
Angela Misri: I think like all great partnerships, Holmes and Watson balanced each other and brought out the best in each other. But they also frustrated each other to no end! Now imagine putting some of those traits that made them a great detective duo AND got on each other’s nerves in the same person. That is a personality that’s going to take time to develop into something even more powerful than her ancestors. I think what I am loving the most about developing Portia’s personality is that push and pull between wanting to remain logical and emotionally detached and being pulled into caring about people and situations. That extends to her family, especially her mother and later to her friends, all of whom try to draw her out of her detached brilliance and into the real world. She is going to be greater than Holmes and Watson I promise you. Because she will learn to harness the best of both of them.
YABookShelf: What is your favourite case that Portia helps solve? What is it about the case that makes it special to you?
AM: It used to be the train story at the end of Jewel of the Thames where Portia had the 8-hour train ride from London to Edinburgh to find a missing child. It is probably my shortest casebook, but the most fun to write because so much needed to happen over such a short period. But since writing Thrice Burned, I must say that “Truth be Told” has become my favourite. I think it is the first case that actually brings Portia’s detective skills up to the same standard as Holmes and Watson. I also feel like her taking on her sex worker clients pushes her beyond them in some ways, really showing the difference having a woman at Baker street can make. I can’t imagine Holmes taking on Mary as a member of his Baker Street Irregulars, but Portia does! I’m proud of her for that.
YABookShelf: Thrice Burned is somewhat darker than the first book in the series, Jewel of the Thames, because it includes a significant depression that Portia suffers through, threats to her personal safety, and prostitutes condemned to hell by a minister. Plus, there’s a repeated suggestion that there may be something more sinister on the horizon in the third book if a criminal mastermind is, indeed, behind some of the cases. Why did you raise the stakes against Portia in these ways? Can readers expect the next book to get even darker?
AM: I didn’t see Thrice Burned as darker, but I can see why people would. Jewel was about establishing Portia in London at Baker Street. Thrice Burned is about getting her to accept that she is the rightful heir to the shingle at Baker Street. So yes, things get more serious, the mysteries get more complex, and my villains get more backstory, including the mastermind that I’m writing about right now in No Matter How Improbable. I think as Portia becomes more famous and better at her job, things will get more serious. That’s how characters grow.