Some of you may be acquainted with Angela, or have heard me gush over her awesome feedback to my novel Snake. But did you know that Angela’s first novel, Jewel of the Thames, has just been released (I’ve already got it on my Kindle)? When I heard about it, I was so excited for her, and I got the chance to interview her before JotT came out.
Angela was born in London, England, but currently she lives in Toronto, Canada with her family. She has been writing for a number of years, most notably for CBC Radio as a journalist. She also does freelance and digital projects on the side, but currently she’s been devoting her time to the Portia Adams books she’s been writing (last I checked she’s got around eight or nine casebooks in the series). She is a fan of mysteries, Doctor Who, and most stuff Sherlock Holmes (but not Elementary).
RU: Hello Angela, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. Give us an idea about what Jewel of the Thames is about.
AM: Sure Rami: Jewel of the Thames is the first book in a series of stories about aspiring detective Portia Adams. It is also an homage to my favourite detective novels – the Sherlock Holmes books, the Nancy Drews, the Hercule Poirots. All of the books I read from childhood till now, and all the great authors who inspired me to create this character. So far in this series, I have written ten casebooks – cases that Portia has taken on – and the first three make up Jewel of the Thames.
AM: Hmm, what can I tell you without spoiling it? She’s a 19 year old Canadian who at the very beginning of the books loses her mom, leaving her a poor orphan in 1930s Toronto. It is at the reading of her mother’s will that she discovers she has been left a mysterious property in London and that she has a guardian – Mrs. jones from New York.
AM: Hmm… I guess the same things that drew me to her – a young female protagonist who is learning to stand on her own – I find that premise compelling. Her relationships are part of what make her the woman she is, and as those develop I think she will become an unforgettable character, as will the recurring characters around her like Brian, Sergeant Michaels and Mrs. Jones. That’s how I feel about her at least, I find that even when I’m not writing about Portia, I’m thinking about her. I’ve got a bit of a WWPD mentality in my own life, so that when things happen, I often think What Would Portia Do?
AM: Things have indeed changed, but actually before I got my contract for Jewel. Last June, after I finished writing the third book in the series, I decide it was time to concentrate my time on this part of my life. I’ve spent the past 14 years working as journalist for the CBC, I think it’s fair to try ‘something else’ for a while.
AM: (Laughs) Don’t feel bad about that! But to answer that question, I’m going to steal from the bio I wrote for my publishers last week:
AM: It was after reading the Stephen King short story called ‘The Doctor’s Case’ that the idea for Portia came to me. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do, it’s one of my favourites. As the title suggests, its an original Holmes-Watson story with a twist – Watson solves the case before the great detective. I loved that idea, and Portia started to form in my mind as a kind of homage to King and Conan Doyle.
AM: They’re very excited but not really surprised. I guess it’s normal for me to be the most nervous about putting my work out there (since it’s mine) but most of my friends and family told me it was just a matter of time before I would get published. I don’t know if they were just saying that to be supportive, but I was no where near as confident. Now that it is really happening and there is a date when a physical book will be available in stores, their excitement has doubled. Seriously, I have the most supportive network – and that includes this blog and you Rami!
AM: I LOVE this question as you well know, because I’ve spent too much time thinking about it.