Twice already I’ve had the great fortune to talk to my friend Angela Misri about her detective character Portia Adams, and the books she’s written with her. I’ve also had the pleasure of reading and reviewing both books, and I have to say, Angela knows how to tell a compelling mystery story in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes.
Which is why I’m glad to welcome her back and talk to her about the third Portia Adams book, No Matter How Improbable, which I’m sure will be as excellent as the first two books.
RU: Welcome back, Angela. It’s good to see you here again. Now, in the first book, Jewel of the Thames, Portia comes to London, starts a new life, and realizes her heritage. In the second book, Thrice Burned, Portia makes a big decision about her life and her career, as well as facing new challenges in her life. What can we expect for her in the third book, No Matter How Improbable?
AM: Where the first and second books were very much about discovery and building confidence, book three has a central theme of loss. Loss of friends, loss of family, loss of the comfort of anonymity. This book will force Portia to develop as a person amongst all the other humans around her. She no longer doubts herself as a detective, but she finds herself doubting her relationships, which for a highly intelligent introvert can be debilitating.
RU: I bet. And speaking of Portia, characters often change between books. How has Portia changed between Books 2 and 3?
AM: I would say that she has grown to have more confidence in her abilities, she’s more grounded and she knows what she wants to do with her life. She is also starting to see the value of friendship and relationships, something she never had as a child.
RU: Moving onto the mystery bits of the book, can you give us a hint of what sort of cases Portia will be handling?
AM: Ha! I can indeed! One of the casebooks will involve an Italian Princess (hence the beautifully designed book cover by Emma Dolan), one will harken back to a story from the original Sherlock Holmes canon and the last casebook will cause Portia to lose not one, but two of her close friends. How’s that for a hint?
RU: It seems that Portia’s growing more popular every day. Can you tell us about some memorable fan experiences and the growing fan base around the character?
AM: I have been very lucky in my fans who show up again and again for each book event, and bring their friends, and take my books to their classes and do book reports, and so many other things. It’s hard to pick one interaction, but I recently got an email from a woman in Texas asking for a signed copy of Jewel of the Thames for her daughter’s birthday. She said her daughter read it cover-to-cover and it’s her favourite book. I wrote back suggesting I instead send her a birthday card containing a signed bookplate sticker that she could just put in her daughter’s book (to save them a bit of money). She wrote back to say she needed a new copy of Jewel because her daughter had ‘worn out’ her copy. That is such an incredible compliment to an author.
RU: Will there be a fourth book, and when can we expect it?
AM: There will indeed be a fourth book, but I’m currently negotiating the contract, so I am not sure when it will be out. I can tell you that the first casebook in the fourth book comes back to Portia’s roots – it’s set in 1932 Toronto, Canada.
RU: Ooh, I love those sorts of stories. They tend to dredge up so many memories! So with Portia’s growing popularity, can we expect a Portia Adams TV or movie adaptation? Anything like that coming out anytime soon?
AM: My agent continues to look for those opportunities, but nothing yet – keep your fingers crossed!
RU: What are you working on besides Portia Adams these days?
AM: I have a zombie book and a contemporary detective novel (not YA) too that I am working on. I also have a chapter in an upcoming Sherlockian anthology that I just sent in to the editors.
RU: Are there any subjects or characters you hesitate or refuse to write about in your stories?
AM: I’m not big on sex scenes in books (either that I am reading or writing) and I will never write a rape scene because I think it’s too disturbing. I also will probably never write about the death of a child because as a mother, I can’t imagine putting those words on a page.
RU: What do you do when you’re not writing?
AM: I’m a digital journalist, so I freelance articles, build websites and digital strategies for clients and I teach at various universities in Toronto.
RU: Is it difficult balancing time between being a full-time writer and a full-time human being these days?
AM: No more so than any other kind of balancing – no stage of my life has had just ONE thing in it. From student to mother to writer, I’ve always balanced my main focus with other things I needed to do. I will say that it took me nearly 6 months to establish a routine as a writer that worked for me.
RU: Finally, let’s assume you got the chance to collaborate with any writer of your choosing on a story or a series. Who would you pick? (And if you say me, I will squeal like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.)
AM: You, of course Rami, if I had the ability to write horror like you do, I would pitch you an idea so fast your head would spin. Or if we could collaborate on a story where I write the basic mystery and you write the horror… I don’t know, I think it could be neat.
I’d probably pick the same person you’d pick – Stephen King. Or Mark Gatiss in my case, but I’d probably be way too intimidated to string a sentence together. Thanks for asking!
RU: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *cough* Excuse me. Well, thank you for joining me Angela, and I hope to see you back here soon.
No Matter How Improbable will be available for purchase in Canada on March 22. For all those outside of Canada, please email the author herself for a copy. Also check out my interviews for Jewel of the Thames and Thrice Burned to get links for those books. If you’d like more from Angela, you can visit her website, A Portia Adams Adventure. Trust me, it’s well worth checking out.
And if you’re an author wanting to do an interview, check out my Interviews page and leave a comment. We can discuss it there.
Have a good one, my Followers of Fear!