An Interview with Threshold Author Patricia J. Anderson
Patricia J. Anderson
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Date of Publication: March 27, 2018
ISBN Digital: 978-1-988761-17-6
ISBN Print: 978-1-988761-16-9
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 66,000
Cover Artist: Carl Weins
Fantastic Mr. Fox meets The Tao of Physics
The population of Ooolandia (a world much like our own but with an extra "O") is hypnotized by the culture of MORE. Citizens of all kinds and colors go about their lives unaware that hidden in the fog of everydayness a great calamity is approaching.
Banshooo, an amazingly mindful monkey, works for the Ooolandian Department of Nature with his colleague a mathlete mouse. Together they have amassed data proving, beyond any doubt, that the natural world is losing the stability necessary to sustain life. Unfortunately, their warnings are ignored by the authorities who are planning to phase out nature altogether.
Freaky winds, icy earthquakes, and mutant anemones plague the landscape. After a wildly devastating storm, Banshooo has a vision revealing the connection between Ooolandia and the Unseen World -- a connection that lies deep within and far beyond all that is seen. This connection is vital to Ooolandia's survival, and it is fraying. He realizes he must take radical action. Along with his quirky sidekick (a one-off of unique appearance whose primary interest is snacking), he sets out on a journey beyond the surface of the Seen to bring back proof of the true nature of nature.
An Interview with Patricia J. Anderson
Welcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
Tell us about your newest book.
Threshold takes place in a world ruled by the philosophy of More! More! always More! Citizens of all kinds and colors go about their lives unaware that hidden in the fog of everydayness a great calamity is approaching. An especially clever monkey has collected data proving that the environment has become so unstable it will soon be unable to sustain life. Ignored by the authorities, he sets out to find proof no one can deny. As disaster edges closer and closer, he joins with a band of outliers in a race against time to save the beating heart of all nature. Threshold is an environmental fantasy proposing a new future in a land that mirrors our own.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
I wanted to understand the actual environmental dangers we are now facing. It required a lot of research and, to tell the truth, was pretty depressing. The challenge was to find ways to envision and describe a positive and possible future for the world of Threshold and for our own world as well.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I’ve always been a writer of one kind or another, often for hire. I’ve written commercials, incidental dialogue for films, radio programming, exhibition, kiosk and website copy, a resource book and a nonfiction book about belief and traditions. [see bio on website]
Truthfully? I’d say ... run away from this and find a nice steady job somewhere. I’m one of those people who believe you should only be a writer if you can’t help it. I guess I can’t help it.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
There’s a character in Threshold named Ambrose. He’s an owl with extraordinary vision. He can look into your eyes and see what you’ve seen. He keeps this gift a secret because he loves to play poker and knows he’d never again be invited to a game of Seven-card stud if this ability were widely known. There’s a point in the story when his miraculous vision becomes crucial to the effort to save the natural world and in that effort a terrible thing happens to Ambrose’ eyes. I knew it had to happen but I was sorry. I tried a lot of different ways to keep him intact but finally I realized what happened needed to be. Sometimes there’s a thru-line that you can’t avoid, even if you’d rather write it differently.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
Not so much.
What are you working on now?
I’m always working on several different things. I’ll let you know as soon as new stuff is ready.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
I have two favorites from Threshold. One is the transgressive raccoon, Raoul, because he’s kind of a criminal and the other is Sid, the enlightened being based on Mel Brooks’ 2000 year old man. I mean, who doesn’t love a master of crazy wisdom?
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
When I was very young I was a sucker for the classics, Cinderella, Snow White, Raoul Dahl, Maurice Sendak. I read all the time but I don’t remember having a favorite, although “The Once and Future King” by T.H.White comes to mind. Merlin, the wizard, turns the young king-to-be, Arthur, into different animals so he can actually experience different kinds of thinking and ways of seeing the world. I’ve always believed that animals are highly intelligent in their own ways, ways we can hardly imagine. Maybe that book reinforced that belief when I was young.
I do remember reading with a flashlight under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
Only that I hope you like Threshold. It was a pleasure to write and, if others were to enjoy these characters and their adventures, that would be wonderful.
Good luck with your newest release, and thank you for being with us today.
Thank you so much.
Patricia J Anderson’s essays and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals including The Sun, Tricycle, Chronogram, Ars Medica, Glamour Magazine and Rewire Me.com. Her books include All of Us, a critically acclaimed investigation of cultural attitudes and beliefs, and Affairs In Order, named best reference book of the year by Library Journal. She is the recipient of The Communicator Award for online excellence and has produced exhibition, kiosk and website copy for such institutions as the American Museum of Natural History and the Capital Museum. She is the editor of Craig Barber’s Vietnam journal, Ghosts in the Landscape. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.
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