October 22, 2015

Jewel of the Thames and Thrice Burned by Angela Misri - Spotlight and Interview

Published: March 25, 2015
Number of pages: 256
Portia Adams Adventures #1

There’s a new detective at 221 Baker Street

Set against the background of 1930s England, Jewel of the Thames introduces Portia Adams, a budding detective with an interesting — and somewhat mysterious — heritage.

Nineteen-year-old Portia Adams has always been inquisitive. There’s nothing she likes better than working her way through a mystery. When her mother dies, Portia puzzles over why she was left in the care of the extravagant Mrs. Jones but doesn’t have long to dwell on it before she is promptly whisked from Toronto to London by her new guardian. Once there Portia discovers that she has inherited 221 Baker Street — the former offices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Portia settles into her new home and gets to know her downstairs tenants, including the handsome and charming Brian Dawes. She also finds herself entangled in three cases: the first involving stolen jewelry, the second a sick judge and the final case revolving around a kidnapped child. But the greatest mystery of all is her own. How did she come to inherit this townhouse? And why did her mother keep her heritage from her? Portia has a feeling Mrs. Jones knows more than she is letting on. In fact, she thinks her new guardian may be the biggest clue of all.

Published: March 25, 2015
Number of pages: 269
Portia Adams Adventures #2

If you play with fire, you could get burned

Portia is still reeling from finding out that her guardian, Mrs. Jones, is actually the infamous Irene Adler and her grandmother. As if finding that out wasn’t shocking enough, the revelation that Sherlock Holmes is her grandfather has Portia feeling betrayed by her mother who took the secrets of Portia’s lineage to the grave with her.

As a diversion Portia throws herself into work and continues to consult with Scotland Yard on their hard-to-crack cases including a brazen theft that the perpetrator boasted about before it took place as well as the disappearance of prostitutes. While on the case of an arsonist who’s plaguing London she meets Annie Coleson, a disgraced reporter who has clues that can help Portia solve the mystery. The women strike up a friendship and Annie starts to report on “P.C. Adams”, the consulting detective helping to keep London safe, with the promise to keep Portia’s true identity secret.

Downstairs neighbor and friend Constable Brian Dawes takes a shining to Annie just as Portia starts to question her feelings for the him. At the same time Portia garners the attention of Gavin Douglas Whitaker, a medical student and by all accounts Portia intellectual equal, who may just be the distraction from Brian that she needs.

As the press starts to show an interest in P.C. Adams, an impostor comes forward claiming to be the consulting detective and Portia must choose between remaining anonymous and letting the world know who the real P.C. Adams is.

About the author:
Angela Misri is a Toronto author who writes detective fiction inspired by her birth country, Great Britain. The first book in her YA detective series is called Jewel of the Thames and follows her detective Portia Adamsthrough her first three cases as she immigrates from 1930s Toronto to the bustling streets of London. The second book in the series came out in Canada this March and is called Thrice Burned. Misri has Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and has spent most of her career at the CBC in Toronto making CBC Radio extraterrestrial through podcasts, live streams and websites.

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been a writer since I was a young child, but it was more of a dream than something I thought could become a reality. The moment I truly believed I could become a published writer was at an assembly in junior high. I was sitting in the audience amongst my friends giggling and gossiping when the principal of the school said my name, calling me up to the front of the gym. I had no idea what was going on, I hadn’t been paying attention, but he shook my hand and handed me a bound anthology. It seems my language arts teacher had submitted one of my poems that I had written as an assignment to this publisher and my poem had been picked to be published. That was it. A total surprise but also an incredible moment where a dream turned into a possibility.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
I’m a big believer in jump-starting your creative neurones. The part of your brain that creates the story is also the part that allows you to play music and create art. So when I get stuck on the writing, I create digital art, or draw or create a scene out of plasticine. I find that usually gets me going again on the actual writing.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
Yes, I write in the mornings (8 till noon) and then use the afternoon to ‘pay the bills.’

4. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Everywhere. Life. Friends. The news. Everywhere. Writers are a little creepy because we’re always observing, always cataloguing basic life events that we intend to use in our books.

5. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I am a coder, so I love to learn new programs, and to build websites. I also design websites, I produce videos and podcasts. I also read a LOT. Something that every writer does.

6. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Write new words every single day. Too many people I know write a little and then spend years going over and over those words trying to refine them into the perfect story. Your story will change dramatically between your first draft and the draft that makes it through an editor, publisher etc. Write the whole story and then go back and refine. Get it all down. Write new words every single day.

7. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
Too many. Don’t make me pick one! I can tell you the most read book on my shelf is The Stand by Stephen King, but Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is a close second place. Also I’ve read the original Sherlock Holmes canon too many times to count.

8. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why?

Alive: Stephen King because I think he’s incredible. Dead: Arthur Conan Doyle because I think a lot of his life and inspiration is a mystery.

9. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
I’ve been fortunate to have travelled a lot in my lifetime, but the pyramids of Egypt are still on my bucket list.

10. List five interesting facts about yourself.
a. I was first published at 13 in the anthology above, and my son was first published at 13 in Owl Magazine.
b. I wrote the first two Portia Adams books in moleskine notebooks on my commute to my full-time job at the CBC - 30 minutes in each direction on transit.
c. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for six years and my main character is a rogue.
d. I have a book I wrote when I was 20 called Savitri that I only have one copy of in hardcopy (nothing digital) and I haven’t opened it since printing it for fear it is horribly bad. I <think> it is the best thing I have every written but I’m too scared to find out for sure (because what if it’s NOT?!?)
e. My favourite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice (where Portia and Nerissa get their names).

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